Years ago when TV screens were made of glass, it was easy to clean a TV screen with simple glass cleaner (like Windex) and a couple of paper towels.
However, today’s modern video screens are made differently. As a result, extra care must be taken when cleaning flat screen TVs and computer monitors.
Harsh chemicals such as ammonia or alcohol can do serious damage to LCD screens, plasma TVs, computer monitors, and smartphones. This also includes all laptop computers and portable video games, as well. Virtually any device that produces a picture that is manufactured today will be damaged by harsh cleaning chemicals.
Many owners clean a laptop screen or LCD TV as they would clean any glass monitor or TV – DON’T make this mistake. An LCD (liquid crystal display) consists of a soft film that is very prone to damage from scratches, smudging, and clouding caused by the use of improper cleaning agents and harsh cloths. Plasma HDTVs do have a glass substrate but its surface is also very delicate because of anti-glare coatings. Source
Here’s how to safely clean your flat screen TVs and LCD computer monitors…
Before You Clean Your Screen
Liquid crystal display screens are delicate devices. Here are some tips before you begin:
- Turn off he device and view the screen from the side. This way, you will be able to see the most troublesome spots. All of the smudges and smears on the screen will become very obvious.
- Choose a soft cloth. Microfiber or cotton are best. Some like to use flannel. Those small anti-static cloths that are typically used to clean eyeglasses and cell phones also work well. Avoid things like paper towels, newspaper, bath towels, Kleenex or napkins. Using anything other than a soft cloth will result in tiny little scratches on your screen which will obscure your picture.
- Don’t press down while you clean. Any direct pressure applied to the screen (such as pressing with a finger or pushing a little too hard to rub off a smear) may result in that section of the screen having dead pixels. This will cause loss of picture in part — or all — of your screen.
- Never spray any cleaning agent directly onto the screen itself. Instead, spray the cleaner onto a soft cloth and then wipe the screen with the rag. Remember, this is an electronic device, excessive moisture in the wrong place can put you out of business real quick.
How To Safely Clean TV Screens & Computer Monitors
Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way before cleaning the screens of your electronic products, let’s get to the real question that everyone wants to know… what type of liquid can be used?
One thing is certain: avoid ammonia-based products at all costs! Any cleaner with ammonia as an ingredient will yellow the screen and distort your picture.
So, which liquids are safe for LCD screens and flat panel monitors?
For years, most people recommended cleaning TV and computer screens with a 50% water, 50% isopropyl alcohol mixture.
Over time, the preferred type of water for DIY screen cleaning became distilled water, mixed with isopropyl alcohol. (Isopropyl alcohol is the same as rubbing alcohol or ethyl alcohol.) Slightly less popular for cleaning LCD screens: distilled water, mixed with vinegar.
These days, most are now recommending that you steer clear of alcohol-based products and avoid vinegar-based products, in addition to ammonia-based products. All are considered chemicals that are simply too harsh for fragile electronics screens. Plus, they tend to make your screen yellow, so why take the chance?
Avoid cleaning products that contain ammonia, ethyl alcohol, acetone, toluene, ethyl acid, or methyl chloride. These chemicals can react with the materials that the LCD screen is made of which could yellow the screen or cause other kinds of damage. Source
Whatever you do, don’t use tap water when cleaning flat screen monitors or TV screens. There are
lots of little particles in tap water which could harm the screens of electronics. Plus, tap water will leave white streaks on your screen.
Distilled water is, as the name implies, vaporized and condensed so all you have is water with very minimal minerals or salts left. Deionized water has minerals and salts removed by means other than boiling and vaporizing. There is very little practical difference. Source
You can either buy your own and use it with your own soft cloth. Or, you can buy one of the many pre-packaged wipes that are available for cleaning LCD screens. There are also specialty sprays made specifically for this use. You will find that most of them are deionized water-based as well.
Just remember, the absolute safest way to clean your electronics is to stay away from chemicals altogether!
Canned Air Is Great Too
The quickest and easiest way to remove larger particles of dirt and grime from your computer screen (or TV screen) is to use canned air. It will blow out the debris without even having to touch the screen!
The best part: when used properly, compressed air won’t harm your computer screen or its many parts (internal or external). In fact, canned air may be the most utilized product in IT departments and computer repair shops these days! It can be used in so many ways to clean computers and other electronics — inside and out.
Compressed air works wonders at dislodging food particles, pet hair, and other stuff from between the keys of your keyboard too!