The Best Way to Clean Your TV Without Damaging It

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It removes stubborn stains from TV screens without scratching or otherwise damaging them.

Today’s televisions, with their Internet connections and sleek LCD screens, are a far cry from the sturdy boxes that once occupied a great deal of space in the living room. But one thing about those old bricks is that they can be easily cleaned without fear of damaging the entire machine. While plastic cases and glass screens can be easily wiped clean, modern televisions are more delicate and require more work to clean.

You may still have a sturdy old TV lurking in your home. If so, know that it is called a CRTV or vacuum tube TV and its screen can be cleaned with Windex (or other glass cleaner). It’s pretty easy. You may also have a TV with a plasma screen; they haven’t been produced for nearly a decade, but they still exist. If it is a newer TV, it is most likely an LCD (LED) or OLED machine. According to Consumer Reports, the main advice for cleaning these machines is to wipe the screen with a soft, dry cloth, but there is one more thing to keep in mind.

Turn off and unplug the TV before beginning the process. Doing so will allow it to cool down, making it safer for the screen and easier to see dirt, streaks, and dust.

Check your owner’s manual to see if there are cleaning instructions specific to your TV. If you have not saved it, you can usually find the instructions on the manufacturer’s website. Also, your TV may come with the necessary wiping materials, which you should keep if possible, but if not, purchase soft microfiber wipes or use wipes for glasses or cameras. Wipe in a gentle circular motion.

Once most of the dirt has been wiped away with the rag, you may still need to make special efforts on difficult areas. In this case, Consumer Reports recommends using a very mild detergent solution diluted in large amounts of water. Spray a small amount onto a cloth (do not spray directly onto the screen), gently wipe off any remaining dirt, and then wipe off any remaining water with a dry microfiber cloth. (Also, “LCD screens are sensitive to pressure and can be easily scratched, so do not press too hard. Also, never use glass cleaner or other harsh chemicals on these screens.

Finally, aim for the air vents. You can use a regular duster or the soft brush of a vacuum cleaner. Gently turn the vent on the back of the TV over to remove dust. (If the TV is freestanding, stand the TV upright to vacuum.) Finish by blowing compressed air into the port and wiping off any dust that comes out with a dry cloth.