Grubby TV Screen? Here’s How to Fix It!

woman wiping dust from TV and other furniture in living room

Our TVs are used almost as much as, if not more than, our smartphones and tablets. With regular use comes regular messes and dust buildup on and around the TV screen, especially with all the many sports events and reality TV we’ve been watching.


No matter what model of TV sits in your home, old or new, the screen will need some cleaning and dusting on a regular basis. We’ve put together our best tips and tricks for cleaning your TV screen, remotes, and external speakers properly and safely, plus 2 quick household recipes for DIY screen-safe cleaners. Keep reading to find out how you can keep your TV screen clean and streak-free.

Best Cleaning Methods


Before you get started with cleaning your TV screen, you should make sure you have the supplies you’ll need. Here are the basics:

  • Microfiber cloths
  • A screen-safe cleaning solution
    • If you’re curious about what you can use as a cleaning solution, here are 2 quick DIY solutions you can use for your newer model TVs:
      • Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and distilled water in a spray bottle.
      • Mix together 1 part distilled water with 4 parts 70% rubbing alcohol.
      • Note: Do not use a rubbing alcohol of any higher percentage than 70% as they can damage the TV screen.
  • Rubbing alcohol (for older TVs)

Once you have everything you need and have mixed up your DIY cleaner, its time to get started with the cleaning process.


Flat-Screen Plasma, LED, LCD and OLED TVs


Modern Living Room Interior With Smart Tv, Sofa, Floor Lamp And Potted Plant


Newer model TVs often have flat and delicate surfaces that require a careful hand and extra care. Here is the best and safest way to clean these more delicate pieces of electronics:

  • Make sure the TV is completely turned off and cool before cleaning. You can unplug your device, but it usually isn’t necessary for newer model TVs.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to first carefully dust off the surface of the TV screen.
  • Spray a small amount of screen-safe cleaner, or one of the DIY cleaners above, onto a fresh, dry microfiber cloth. Do not spray or apply cleaner directly to the TV screen.
  • Wipe the cleaner onto the screen in a side-to-side motion and then up and down. Overlapping strokes, not circular motions, are the best way to avoid streaks on shiny TV screens and surfaces.
  • Make sure the surface of the TV screen is completely dry and clear before either repeating the cleaning process or plugging it back in and turning it on.


Tube Televisions


Older TVs, like cathode ray tube (CRT) TVs, are also daily easy to clean, but they do require a little extra attention to detail. Here is the proper way to clean older model and tube TVs:

  • Turn off and unplug the TV and allow it to cool is it is warm to the touch. Unlike modern TVs, unplugging these TVs is required so make sure your device is not connected to power before you start cleaning it.
  • Use a microfiber cloth to dust the surface of the TV screen. You can also take a moment to dust around the device itself.
  • Apply a cleaning solution to a fresh microfiber cloth. To clean the surface, you can either use one of the DIY cleaning solutions above or 70% rubbing alcohol on the cloth or as a presoaked wipe if the screen is particularly grubby.
    • Note: In a pinch, you can use a very small amount of glass cleaner to clean glass TV screens on older devices only.
  • Wipe the cleaning solution onto the screen in back-and-forth then up-and-down strokes. Remember not to use circular motions when cleaning the screen.
  • Allow the surface of the TV screen to fully air dry before checking for additional smudges and streaks.
  • Once the screen is completely dry, you can repeat the cleaning process if needed. If the screen needs not additional cleaning, simply finish by using a microfiber cloth to buff the surface to remove stray fingerprints or streaks.


Stubborn Spots & Streak Free Cleaning


Young man cleaning the screen of his smart TV


If you find some stubborn fingerprints or sticky spots around your TV screen, that’s okay, life happens. For the best results when treating these stubborn spots, here’s what to do:

  • Mix a few drops of mild dish soap in some distilled water, only a very small amount of soap will be needed.
  • Dip a microfiber cloth into the soapy water and wring out the excess before using the cloth.
  • Use the dampened cloth to gently wipe away the grimy stains or smudges, taking care to not use too much water on the surface.
  • Allow the surface to air dry before checking for additional spots or streaks. If you are spot cleaning an older TV screen, you can use a fresh microfiber cloth to buff the surface free of streaks.

Cleaning Remotes & Speakers


If you have extra accessories for your TV like remotes and speakers, you’ll probably want to give those a once over cleaning as well. While they don’t have screens, they’re still sensitive electronics so you’ll have to use care when cleaning them. Here are some best practice cleaning tips for remotes and speakers:




remote control sitting on a couch in an empty modern living room


Thankfully for everyone, remotes are actually really easy to clean. All you’ll really need is your go-to disinfecting wipes or spray and a cloth. Here’s how to clean your remote without damaging it:

  • Take out the batteries from your remote and set them aside.
  • Gently tap the remote, button side down, on a table or other flat surface to loosen and dislodge any crumbs or other debris.
  • For cleaning, you can either use a pre-soaked disinfectant wipe or a cloth that you can spray disinfectant onto. Make sure the wipe or cloth is not soaked and dripping wet by wringing it out before using it.
  • Wipe the disinfectant around the entire surface of the remote, paying particular attention to the spaces between buttons.
    • You can use a toothpick or your fingernail to dislodge stubborn debris from under and around the buttons.
  • Once the remote has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, you can set it aside to completely air dry.
    • If you’d like to go the extra mile, you can test the batteries you removed to make sure they’re still good or if they need to be replaced.
  • Check that the remote is completely dry and then replace to batteries into the device.




If you have set up external speakers for your TV, now is a good time to makes sure they’re clean and dusted. These are pretty sensitive devices, so here is how to properly clean and care for your speakers:

  • Before any cleaning or dusting, make sure to check for any cleaning guidelines within the owner’s manual for the speakers. This is always best practices for pieces of sensitive electronics and equipment.
  • Unplug or remove the batteries from the speakers so that the devices are not connected to power while you are cleaning them.
  • If the fabric covers of the speakers can be removed, go ahead and take those off to be cleaned separately.
    • We recommend using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment to carefully clean and dust the fabric covers.
  • If the fabric covers cannot be removed, you can use a lint roller or your vacuum hose with the upholstery attachment to remove any dust and debris from the surface of the speakers.
  • If your speakers are solid and do not have a fabric cover, you can use a lightly moistened microfiber cloth to dust and clean the surface of the device.
  • Allow the speakers to dry if necessary before replacing the removed batteries or plugging the devices back in.


Extra Tips for Cleaning TV Screens


Cleaning a Flat TV screen with a cleaning glove


With regular care and cleaning, your TV screens should be looking their very best. If you’re looking to make sure your TVs, remotes, and a speakers look and operate at their best, here are a few extra tips and tricks to incorporate into your regular cleaning routine:

  • You should clean your TV screen about once a week to regularly remove fingerprints, streaks, smudges, and other mysterious stains that may appear.
  • Use your vacuum hose to suck up the dust and debris from any wires and ports behind the TV itself when you clean it to ensure that everything stays in good working condition.
  • Avoid cleaning your TV screens with harsh chemical cleaners and products. Substances you should never use to clean your modern TV screens include:
    • Ammonia
    • Acetone
    • Rubbing alcohol
  • Never spray cleaning solutions directly onto the screen itself, no matter if the TV is a newer model or an older one. Remember to spray the solution onto a cloth and wipe the cloth on the screen to clean it.
  • Remember to dust the TV screen before cleaning it, and also remember to not use too much pressure when wiping away stubborn fingerprints or stains from the screen.




What household product can I use to clean my TV screen?

You can use an equal mixture of white vinegar and water, distilled if possible, to clean your TV screen. Make sure that you apply the solution to a microfiber cloth and not directly to the screen itself so as to not damage the device.


What can I spray on my flat screen TV screen to clean it?

You should never spray any cleaning solution directly onto your TV screen. The safest cleaning solutions to use are screen or glasses cleaner, or a mixture of vinegar and distilled water, both of which should be applied to a microfiber cloth in order to clean the TV screen.


Can you use alcohol wipes on TV screens?

Premoistened alcohol wipes that utilize no higher than 70% isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean many TV screens, but better methods are recommended. Most professionals advise against using alcohol based products to clean modern TV screens, some make sure to check your TV’s user manual for cleaning and upkeep information.


Can I use glasses cleaner on my TV screen?

Glasses cleaner is safe and can be used on most TV screens when used with a soft microfiber cloth. Be sure to not spray the cleaner directly onto the screen when cleaning.


What can ruin a TV screen?

Heavy finger pressure, spraying liquid cleaning products directly onto the screen, moving the screen panel, and use of any heat can very easily ruin and warp your TV screen. When you are looking to clean your TV screen, always consult the owner’s manual and professional cleaning guides before any cleaning is done on or around the screen.


Back view of a family watching TV at home


With regular cleaning and dusting, your TV screen will be looking clear and free of stray smudges just in time for your next binge-watch or movie night. What kind of screen cleaning tips do you use for your TV screens? Have you made any cleaning mistakes and want to share some advice? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!


If you’re looking for some extra help around your home, we’re here to help. You can check out our website to read our blog posts or see what kind of services we can offer you. If you’re in need of some high quality cleaning around your office space or business, please check out our commercial cleaning services Denver and book your cleaning services today!


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