Best Ways to Clean Different Types of TV Screens

Published July 27, 2018
Man cleaning the screen of his smart TV

Whether you are doing some basic house cleaning or your television screen got dirty somehow, there are different methods to clean it depending on if you have a flat screen or a CRT (cathode ray tube). Therefore, it is important to differentiate between the two before scrubbing off those smudges.

Cleaning Flat Screen Televisions

All newer televisions on the market are flat screens. According to manufacturer's warnings through brands like LG and Panasonic, you must be careful when cleaning your television because of the screen's anti-glare coating. Using harsh chemicals or alcohol breaks down this coating and hurts the flat screen. This is true for all types of flat screens including LED, LCD, plasma, and other types.

What You Need

Cleaning a flat-screen TV
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Mild dish soap (any will do) or HDTV/flat screen cleaner
  • Water
  • Optional duster


  1. Unplug the television before cleaning the screen, especially if you are using a damp or wet cloth.
  2. To remove the dust from the screen, use the microfiber cloth or a feather duster. If your screen isn't excessively dirt or doesn't have screaks or smudges, this might be all you need to do.
  3. If you TV is heavily soiled or needs a more thorough cleaning, you can try a few different methods.
  • Some manufacturers recommend wetting your microfiber towel and squeezing out the excessive water. Use the damp cloth to remove any smudges or stains. Using a clean dry cloth, buff the surface gently to avoid streaks.
  • If water alone won't cut it, use soap and water. Add a small squirt of dish soap to a couple cups of warm water, dunk the cloth in the mixture and wring it out. Then use the cloth to gently remove any residue or debris. Rub with a dry cloth to remove any streaks and buff.
  • If all else fails, use a flat screen TV cleaner. Add a couple squirts of the cleaner to the cloth and gently clean the screen.
  • Keep in mind when using a cleaner to double check with your television's manual to ensure the manufacture lists the cleaner's ingredients as safe for that screen.

Cleaning CRT TVs

Cleaning a non-flat screen television or CRT TV requires a different approach because the screens on these televisions are typically made of glass.


  • Microfiber cloth/towel
  • Glass cleaner/alcohol


  1. Unplug the television if you will be using a damp cloth.
  2. Wipe the screen with a dry cloth to remove any dust or stuck on particles before using cleaners.
  3. Dampen your cloth with glass cleaner or a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water.
  4. Wipe the television screen with the damp cloth. Use gentle circular motions to scrub any excessively dirty areas. This loosens any stuck-on particles.
  5. Using a clean, dry cloth, buff the screen using a circular motion. This will help to avoid those annoying streaks.

Spot Cleaning

If you need to remove a smudge or dirt in one area instead of cleaning your entire screen, follow the same steps for your type of television. However, rather than wiping down the entire screen, focus only on the soiled area. Remember to dust the entire screen first to ensure you don't have just one clean area.

Words of Caution

When cleaning your screen:

  • Never use excess water.
  • Don't pray anything directly on the screen. This could not only damage the screen but other components as well.
  • Never use a rough or abrasive cloth for cleaning the screen. This could scratch the screen.
  • Always double check ingredients if you are using a cleaner on your flat screen. This will ensure you don't harm the screen.

Perfect Viewing

Over time, your television will get dirty and if you have little ones or a touchscreen, it can get really dirty. Therefore, it is important to know how to clean your specific screen so you can avoid damaging it. When in doubt, just use water. Now you can add this to your house cleaning routine list.

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Best Ways to Clean Different Types of TV Screens