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.
When you improperly clean your screen, be it your computer monitor or your television, it’s only a matter of time before you damage it. Modern TV and computer screens are brighter, sharper, and more responsive than ever before, but they are also more delicate. Source
Here’s what you need to know to clean LCD screens on your TV or computer monitor.
What To Do Before You Clean An LCD Screen
LCD (liquid crystal display) screens are delicate devices.
Here are some tips before you clean an LCD screen:
- Turn off the device and view the screen from the side. That way, you’ll 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 cloths or cotton cloths are the best. Those small anti-static cloths that are typically used to clean eyeglasses and cell phones also work well.
- Don’t press down while you clean. Any direct pressure applied to the screen (such as pressing with your 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.
- Don’t 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 ruin an LCD screen real quick.
TIP: 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.
Products That Safely Clean TV Screens & Computer Monitors
Now that you’ve gotten the basics out of the way before cleaning the screens of your electronic products, let’s get to the real question that you want to know — what type of liquid can be used?
#1 – Homemade Water & Alcohol Based Products
It’s recommended that you steer clear of alcohol-based products and avoid vinegar-based products, in addition to ammonia-based products. They’re considered chemicals that are simply too harsh for fragile electronics screens.
If you want to make your own screen cleaner, you’ll need:
- 8 ounces of 70% isopropryl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
- 8 ounces of distilled water
- Small misting spray bottle
- Masking tape and permanent marker for labeling (optional)
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.
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
#2 – LCD Screen Cleaning Products
Canned air offers the quickest and easiest way to remove larger particles of dirt and grime from your computer screen (or TV screen). 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!
More Tips For Cleaning TV & LCD Screens
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some other resources to help you clean all of your LCD screens and tech gear safely:
- How To Clean A Laptop Keyboard
- What To Do If Your Smartphone Has Water Damage
- How To Clean LCDs
- Consumer Reports: 4 Tips For Cleaning TV Screens
- 10 Best Cleaners For Your Tech Gear