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How to Clean Your TV Screens and Computer Monitors

A flat screened tv hanging on a wall.
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From the television to the computer to the tablets, screens and monitors are all around your house. As more and more devices move into the touch-screen mode, you may very well find you’re frequently cleaning TV screens and computer monitors. While you may be quick to grab some paper towels, glass cleaner and start wiping away, stop and ask yourself this: is this the best way to clean this screen? There are many different considerations for cleaning the screens and monitors in your house. Here’s a closer look at what you need to know.

Before You Start to Clean the Glass

Most of the TVs found in homes today have flat screen monitors and are quite different compared to screens on older models. Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) TVs of the past (like the big 1980s-style sets you may recall) had a thick glass screen that was relatively safe to wipe clean with paper towels and window cleaner. Not so with today’s flat screen models. Much of what’s on the market today has a liquid crystal display, or LCD, monitor that produces images. LCD televisions are also thinner and lighter than CRTs.

The make-up of an LCD monitor or screen, however, features a special type of material that is sensitive to chemicals, such as a glass cleaner. Likewise, a plasma display panel (PDP) is made with small cells that contain electrically charged ionized gases—the plasmas.

One of the most important steps to remember is to turn the device off before you begin cleaning. When the screen is dark it will be easier to see the dirty areas. Keep in mind that using harsh chemicals on these screens could ultimately damage or even ruin the television or computer. And it’s not just the cleaners you need to be aware of; kitchen towels or paper towels could also cause scratches and leave the screens covered in lint.

Knowing and understanding how to clean your screens and monitors can help ensure you’re able to use and enjoy your devices for years to come. Here are a few suggestions for properly cleaning these specialty screens.

Don’t Spray Directly on the Screen

Probably one of the most important considerations is to never spray any type of cleaning fluid or even water directly onto the screen. While the old CRT screens were pretty much water-tight, the same can’t be said for today’s modern screens. Screens today are made of layers upon layers of glass, plastics, various display elements, and other materials. When liquid comes in contact with the screen’s edge it can be pulled in, like a capillary, to the layers. Once this happens, you will likely notice something that looks like a blob on your screen, and the liquid will most likely never evaporate without leaving some remaining damage.

Stear Clear of Common Glass Cleaners

You may think that grabbing the bottle of glass cleaner you already have on hand is fine for cleaning screens and monitors. But think again. Using many of these common cleaning products can end up causing serious damage. Ammonia-based cleaners (such as traditional window cleaning spray), for example, could cause a chemical reaction with the coating on the screen or cause clouding. Some electronics stores sell specialty cleaners for use on screens, but you can also make cleaning solutions at home. One option is to combine equal parts of water and vinegar for a homemade cleaning product. But don’t spray anything directly onto the screen. Instead, spray the solution onto a lint-free cloth and gently wipe the surface.

If you have a plasma screen, manufacturers recommend not using any strong cleaning products. Instead, use a soft microfiber cloth to wipe away dust.

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Avoid Paper Towels and Rags

When cleaning these very delicate screens, it’s important to understand there are many common household supplies to avoid.  Paper towels—which you already use to wipe up smudges and stains around—can be disastrous on screens. While paper towels are fine for wiping kitchen counters and appliances, they may cause problems on screens and monitors. On a microscopic level, the surface of paper towels is actually somewhat abrasive. Using this material to clean a delicate surface could ultimately cause damage and scratches.

You might not think about your household cleaning rags being an issue, but they can also cause damage. That’s because tiny bits of debris and dirt can be caught within the cloth’s fibers. Imagine what could happen when you wipe the screen with something like that. You think you’re cleaning the surface, but each time you move the cloth it’s leaving scratches and damage.

Computer and Tablet Screens

What About Computer Screens?

When it comes to cleaning computer and laptop screens, the same rules and guidelines apply: never spray onto the glass screen, avoid harsh cleaning supplies, and don’t use paper towels. To safely clean a computer monitor, use a soft, microfiber cloth to wipe away dust and smudges. If this doesn’t work, turn the computer offer and use a slightly damp cloth to wipe away the dirt and smudges.

Remember These Points

Keeping your TV screens and computer monitors clean doesn’t have to be a daunting chore. However, you do need to make sure and take the necessary steps to avoid costly damage—like having to buy a new TV. Be sure to follow these rules and guidelines:

  • Never spray any type of liquid or cleaning solution directly on to on the screen itself;
  • Never use harsh ammonia-based cleaners;
  • Never use paper towels or household rags.

Most of us can’t imagine life without a TV. Following these tips and guidelines will help you keep the screens and monitors in your house clean, dust-free and without damage. You can also visit for even more information about household glass and glazing products, including tips for cleaning mirrors, shower doors, windows and more. You can find quality shops in your area that can help you with all of your glass and glazing product needs. Also, be sure and check out the info center for valuable insights to help meet your glass needs.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Ellen Rogers

Ellen Rogers has been involved with the glass industry for nearly 20 years and is the editor of USGlass magazine and Architect’s Guide to Glass magazine. Ellen received a degree from Peace College where she studied journalism. Ellen enjoys running and competes regularly in races including half and full marathons. When not on the go, Ellen enjoys reading, wine tasting, true crime shows, and family game nights with her husband and son. Their favorite game is Clue. Ellen also bakes what is known locally as “World Famous Oatmeal Cookies.” Find out more about Ellen on Linkedin.

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