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Dusty, Streaky, Smudgy: How to Clean Your TV Screen

Dusty, Streaky, Smudgy: How to Clean Your TV Screen

Have you ever cozied up to watch a movie, only to be distracted by a big smudge on the main character’s forehead? Dust, streaks, and smudges on your TV are definitely a bummer, but luckily, they’re also a cinch to clean up. Keep reading to learn more about the best way to clean a television screen so that you can get back to enjoying your favorite shows and movies.

How to Clean Your Television Screen

To keep your TV in tip-top shape and to get the most out of your viewing experience, you’ll need to clear away debris on a (fairly) regular basis. Fortunately, we have a few practical suggestions for how to clean your television screen when needed.

What to Clean your TV Screen With

Before you rush out to buy tons of cleaning supplies, you should know what TV screen cleaners will deliver the best results — many of which are made from household products you likely already have on hand.

You can use many of the same products for cleaning both a flat-screen or a tube TV. The supplies you’ll need include:

  • Dry microfiber cloth
  • Electrostatic duster
  • Pre-moistened wipes
  • Window cleaner

If you’ll also be cleaning TV accessories like detached speakers or remote controls, you’ll want to have a lint roller, handheld vacuum, and a few disinfectant wipes, as well.

Proper Cleaning Methods for Your TV Screen

Now that you know the safest products to clean your screen with, let’s discuss the techniques that’ll leave your TV sparkling and streak-free.

How to Clean Plasma, LED, LCD, and OLED TVs

Delicate flat-screen TVs, like LED and plasma models, often can’t handle wet cleaning with a spray water bottle. To clean your screen without damaging it, you’ll first want to dust the TV with a soft, dry microfiber cloth (or an electrostatic duster, if you prefer). Take care not to apply too much pressure — doing so can cause irreversible pixel damage.

Next, you can use pre-moistened wipes — specifically those designed for electronics — to spot clean stubborn marks and stuck-on fingerprints. Finally, to remove any lingering dust, dirt, etc., use a microfiber cloth to gently clean any buttons and vents.

How to Clean Tube TVs

Don’t want to give up your old TV quite yet? That’s okay! When cleaning a glass tube TV, you’ll want to use a microfiber cloth along with a reliable window cleaner. Dampen the cloth with a bit of your cleaning spray, and follow a circular motion to buff out visible streaks or smudges.

Alternatively, you can also use a spray bottle with equal parts distilled water and white vinegar to give your screen a nice, streak-free shine. But if you do go this route, be sure to spritz the solution onto your microfiber cloth rather than spraying your screen directly.

How to Clean TV Accessories

While TV accessories don’t affect your screen’s visibility, you’ll want to keep them clean to ensure you have clear sound and can quickly toggle between channels. To clear your external speakers of debris, a lint roller can clear away dust and other particles pretty easily. If your speakers have removable fabric covers, try using a vacuum to suck up any trapped dust or hair.

Additionally, if you’d like to clean your remote control, disinfecting wipes can really come in handy. To begin, pop out the remote’s batteries and snap the cover back into place. Then, wring out a wipe and use it to clean both sides of the device. Ensure that you get into the narrow spaces between all the buttons, and allow the remote to air dry before replacing the batteries.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Your TV Screen

In addition to cleaning techniques and supplies, there are a few other tips to keep in mind for achieving shiny, smudge-free screens.


  • Use a dry cleaning method (i.e., microfiber cloth) on plasma screens. Traditional cleaning products can easily damage their anti-glare coatings.
  • Wipe screens in a single direction (either vertically or horizontally). Then, wipe them a second time in the opposite direction for full cleaning coverage.
  • Clean your screen when the TV is turned off. It’s much easier to see (and remove) stubborn streaks when the screen is fully blacked out.
  • Go with microfiber materials instead of scratch-prone paper towels.


  • Apply harsh chemicals to your TV, only gentle cleansers and dry cloths. In other words, avoid using products that contain ammonia, alcohol, or acetone.
  • Clean your TV with pre-treated dusting cloths. These tend to have an oily finish that can leave streaks or deposits on the screen.
  • Spray cleaner directly on your TV screen, as doing so can damage the whole set.
  • Push too hard on the screen while cleaning. Doing so can cause pixels to burn out.

Upgrade your TV at Rent-A-Center

If you’ve removed all of the dust from your TV, but you’re still not satisfied with your home viewing experience, it might be time for an upgrade. Fortunately, Rent-A-Center has an impressive selection of flat-screen TVs at a price you can afford — we’re talking 70-, 75-, and 80-inch TVs you can take home on a flexible and convenient payment plan. Shop Rent-A-Center in-store or online, and elevate your home theater setup in no time!

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