Dust and streak-free TVs make for the best viewing experience
Binging the latest Netflix release? Watching through the newest Marvel experience through Disney+? Whatever your poison, watching TV is a home experience like no other, and to get truly the best viewing experience, we have to ensure our flat-screen televisions are clean and free of streaks.
Every fingerprint, bit of dust, or accidental piece of dirt on a TV screen can mar the experience of the latest television show and that’s something we all want to avoid. But, if we use the wrong cleaning techniques we can negate warranties on our expensive electronic products. That’s why we’ve gathered some of the safest and most effective cleaning methods available for flat-screen TVs into this guide.
Every household can make use of a good dry microfibre cloth, designed to clean glasses, mobile phones, or camera lenses. These are great for use on television screens too.
Always Consult the Owner's Manual
It may seem unimportant, but sometimes a manufacturer will have different cleaning methods for their electronics. A quick once-over of the owner’s manual for your television will let you know if the manufacturer has decreed any particular product or method damaging for their flat-screen TVs. This initial step will prevent you from doing something that voids your warranty inadvertently.
Pro Tip: Don’t press too hard on the screen of any flat-screen TV, as they’re quite fragile and you can damage the components inside the screen.
When it comes to cleaning a modern television, which is somewhat more delicate than previous incarnations of the technology, we have to be careful which methods we use. Traditional wet cleaning methods are dangerous to use as they can damage the delicate screens we have in our homes.
Equipment: Microfibre cloth or electrostatic duster, pre-moistened electronics wipe.
Method: First, dust off the TV with your soft and dry microfibre cloth or electrostatic duster, these should gather the majority of the debris. For those stubborn smudges or marks that the cloth cannot remove, take a wipe designed for electronics and carefully rub away the area that is dirty. Most electronics wipes are designed to not leave streaks. Using your microfibre cloth or duster, wipe down the buttons, sides, and back of the TV to remove debris from air vents.
Pro Tip: Whilst plasma TV screens are made of glass, most have an anti-glare coating that can be damaged by traditional cleaning products. That’s why we recommend the same cleaning method as LED, LCD, and OLED TVs.
As we said earlier, we never want a streaky TV screen to get in the way of our favourite instalments of new TV shows, so here are some of our best strategies for leaving your flat-screen TV clean and devoid of infuriating streaks.
■ Use a clean microfibre cloth or duster. Dirty cloths will deposit the old debris back onto your screen that will cause streaks to appear.
■ Avoid pre-treated dusting cloths. These tend to have an oily finish that works great for wooden furniture but can damage anti-glare coatings on your flat-screen TVs, or at best leave frustrating streaks across your vision.
■ Use a U-shaped motion when dusting, this will make sure you aren’t pushing dust around the screen and you’re picking it off the surface as you lift the cloth.
■ Wipe one direction at a time. Then, when finished with that direction, wipe a second time perpendicular to the first time. So if you started wiping top to bottom, wipe right to left the second time, or vice versa.
■ The correct TV mount for your TV can usually be found in your accompanying instruction manual. These are called your VESA mount measurements and you need to make sure that your chosen TV mount complies with these. If you don’t have your TV manual don’t worry, we’ll teach you how to easily find these measurements later.
■ Always clean with the TV turned off. This will not only help to see streaks and dust as you’re cleaning but will ensure that the TV isn’t warm or hot as you clean. The warmer the TV, the harder it can be to clean, and if you end up pressing too hard, you can damage your TV.
It can be hard to keep a TV screen clean sometimes, especially if there are toddlers or adventurous pets running around the house! One piece of advice is to ensure that your TV screen is placed somewhere that pets and children can’t reach, be this a good-sized TV stand or by wall-mounting.
If you do find yourself needing to remove grubby fingerprints, for example, the best solution is to check once a week if the screen needs a simple clean with a dry, soft microfibre cloth. Regularly maintaining the cleanliness of the flat-screen TV means that you shouldn’t need to go to extreme measures once a month or more. The longer we wait between cleaning, the more that the dirt and dust will embed itself into the surface of the television set.
Never spray anything directly onto your flat-screen TV. Even sprays advertised as electronics safe use a liquid as their base, and too much liquid is a bad thing. Excess spray can get onto your surrounding cabinets or into the inner works of your television, which will cause anything from ugly marks to damage to the electronics internally.
Resist the urge to use a vacuum cleaner on your electronics or flat-screen TVs. Vacuum cleaners may seem like the perfect solution to take up the build-up of dust in our electronics, but the fast-moving air particles create an abundance of static electricity build-up which can damage sensitive electronics that make your television work.
Once again, remember that you should always follow manufacturer guidelines for the products you purchase. There may be something special about your TV, or something different about a material that your flat screen is made of, and a different cleaning method may apply. In general, a soft, dry microfibre cloth on its own will always be safe.
Avoid using paper towels, your shirt, toilet paper, or anything other than a soft microfibre cloth or duster. These might seem like they’re working, but in reality, there’s a chance you’re introducing micro-scratches on the surface of your TV. Over time, these scratches will create a blurry section of the screen that will degrade the picture.
Finally, stay away from products that contain ammonia, ethyl alcohol, ethyl chloride, or acetone. These cleaning chemicals can cause permanent damage to flat-screen TVs. They’re commonly found in commercial window cleaners.
A sometimes forgotten aspect of cleaning your TV is the remote! It’s the part of the TV that gets handled the most, which usually means it doesn’t collect a lot of dust but it does mean that it’s likelier to get grimy and covered in bacteria.
As with your flat-screen TV, it’s important not to let liquids get inside the remote, but generally your remote will be much more durable than your TV screen. This means that if there are dirt stains, food remains, or something like that you’re able to press a little harder to remove them.
If you’re looking to remove more than just visible debris — those awful bacteria we mentioned before — then you’re going to need an anti-bacterial wipe or solution to wipe on the remote. If you are using pre-moistened wipes from a packet, make sure they’re not dripping wet. Again, the liquid inside the remote is a bad idea.
And that’s basically all you need to know for cleaning a flat-screen TV. If you have any doubts, then sticking to a dry, soft cloth-like microfibre is the best way to go. We hope you enjoy your dust and streak-free viewing experience.