How to clean a TV screen - according to the experts

Keep your screen streak free with these expert tips

A woman wiping a TV with a cloth and holding a bottle of cleaning product
(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to clean a TV screen isn't as easy as it may sound, but we've got all the tips to make sure you don't impair the picture quality or damage the electricals.

It's one of our most-used household items, so it's important to know how to clean - and just like many wonder how often should you change your sheets, how to clean an air fryer and how to clean white shoes, the same question is being asked of TV screens. Flat-screens, PLASMAs and OLEDs all need a delicate touch, which is why we've sought out the experts to help us put together this ultimate guide to cleaning a TV screen.

Sarah Dempsey, cleaning expert at My Job Quote, tells us: "When cleaning your TV it’s important to use products specially designed for that purpose, and to take extra care when cleaning the screen itself and when handling technical parts, such as delicate, live wiring." Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to clean a TV screen.

How to clean a TV screen - an expert guide

1. Turn off your TV

The first step in cleaning a TV screen should always be turning off - or better still, unplugging - the device from the mains. Sarah says: "Remember, a TV is an electrical device. Cleaning liquids and skin contact do not mix well with live electricity. Cutting off the electrical supply will greatly lower the risk of any accidents and injuries."

Cleaning a black screen will make it easier to see any smudges and marks that you need to tackle too.

A colse up of a hand wiping a flat screen TV with a microfibre cloth

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Before you move on to the next step, make sure your TV has cooled to allow you to clean the appliance more efficiently.

2. Use a microfibre cloth

Laura Marsden, marketing manager at Marigold, tells us: "Your TV screen is delicate, so I would always recommend using a soft, lint free cloth. These cloths remove dirt, grease and dust with ease, and without the need for chemicals."

Alternatively, cleaning influencer Laura Mountford recommends using an electrostatic duster. She says "My favourite is the Flash Dust magnet which traps the dust rather than just moving it around."

Sarah adds: "Some TVs come with a cleaning cloth, but if not you should use an anti-static microfiber cloth like the ones that come alongside prescription glasses, camera lenses and computer monitors. Never use a paper towel or a non-microfiber cloth to clean your TV screen, as harsher materials can leave scratches on the surface."

3. Use a circular motion

Move the dry microfiber cloth in circular motions over the screen to remove any loose dust and debris, making sure to be gentle and use only very light pressure. Sarah explains: "Do not push down with a heavy hand on your TV screen as this can cause significant injury to the LED panel, which will result in pixel damage."

Don’t forget to give the vents and buttons some attention too, as these areas often get forgotten.

4. Remove stubborn stains

If a few stains and marks remain after gently wiping your TV screen, lightly dampen the cloth with either distilled water or a cleaning solution manufactured specifically for TVs or monitor glass to tackle the affected areas.

Sarah warns: "Never spray anything directly onto the screen. An excess of liquids can damage an electrical appliance and cause a fire hazard once switched back on."

5. Leave to dry

Let the screen dry completely before switching your TV back on, in case the cleaning substance reacts badly with a hot screen.

You'll probably want to give the screen a final wipe with a dry microfibre cloth too, to make sure your TV is sparkling clean.

A child sat on the floor looking up a a blank TV screen

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How do I get smears off my TV screen?

Use gentle circular motions to lift any debris and buff out tough grease and smudging from your TV screen. You should never push down on your TV screen to remove smears and marks, as this can permanently damage the panelling underneath, resulting in pixel impairment.

Laura Mountford tells us: "To get smears and sticky finger prints off of your TV use a soft, clean, lint free glass cloth. For stubborn marks, dampen the cloth with a light misting of water and gently wipe using a circular motion."

Sarah offers a last-resort solution for any marks that really won't budge. She tells us: "If all else fails, dampen your microfiber cloth using a solution of one part neutral detergent to 100 parts water and lightly rub." She adds a word of caution, however, saying, "Never use a harsh cleaning substance or a substance that is unsuitable for a TV monitor. Doing so can cause discoloration as the substance may react with the screen’s coating."

What household product can I use to clean my TV screen?

The best way to clean you TV is by simply using a dry microfibre cloth, and avoiding using any household cleaning products.

Laura Marsden says: "Whilst these cloths can be used wet or dry, with your TV, you should always use a dry cloth. Using any type of window cleaner, soap, or cleaners with solvents in is an absolute no-go. Not only could it damage the delicate surface, but any liquid entering the TV may cause a failure, fire, or electric shock."

In some cases, however, you can use a small amount of cleaning products for TV screens that are in need of a deep clean. Sarah Dempsey advises, "Always only use gentle cleaners that are specifically designed to clean a TV screen. Before using any cleaning substance, ensure it does not contain ammonia, alcohol, acetone, or any other harsh chemicals."

She adds: "You will find that most HDTV screen cleaners are 99% water, making them extremely gentle and effective. Harsh cleaners can wear down the TV screen coating or cause a chemical reaction which can alter the screen colouring, impairing your viewing experience."

Remember, never spray cleaning product directly onto a TV screen. Instead, lightly dampen a cloth with the product before wiping the TV.

How often should you clean your TV screen?

You should clean your TV screen roughly once a week to avoid dust building up and keep the picture clear and crisp.

Sarah says: "Lightly cleaning your TV frequently will prevent the need for deep cleans, which can be harmful to your TV health. Cleaning smudges and substances from your TV screen sooner rather than later will prevent them from drying and adhering to the glass, meaning you can apply less pressure to buff them out."

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Ellie Hutchings
Features Editor

Ellie is Goodto’s Feature Editor, having joined the team as a Junior Features Writer in 2022, and covers everything from wellbeing for parents to the latest TV and entertainment. Ellie has covered all the latest trends in the parenting world, including baby names, parenting hacks, and foodie tips for busy families. She has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University, and previously Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies.