How to Clean Your Flat-Screen TV

As the 2023 Major League Baseball season is in full swing, it’s important to ensure optimal visibility for all the action. However, televisions, like other electronic devices, tend to accumulate dust and develop imperfections like fingerprints.

Fortunately, cleaning your flat-screen TV is a simple task that doesn’t necessitate expensive chemicals. In addition, it’s crucial to give some attention to the remote controls for your TVs, cable boxes, and streaming players. These devices are frequently handled and can harbor not only dirt but also harmful pathogens. Below, we provide guidance on how to clean both your TVs and remotes.

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In the realm of televisions, the prevailing market is primarily occupied by impressive, large-screen LCD (LED) and OLED TVs renowned for their superbrightness. However, a considerable number of individuals still possess older models, such as plasma TVs, which ceased production in 2014. Additionally, there are even CRTVs, also known as tube TVs, which began to fade from existence around 2008.

When it comes to cleaning an older tube TV, you have greater leeway since its screen is made of glass and can be treated similarly to other glass items in your home. In this specific case, it is permissible to use a window cleaner, like Windex.

However, caution must be exercised when cleaning more modern TVs to prevent any potential scratches or damage to the screens. While plasma TVs also feature glass screens, they often come with a delicate anti-glare coating applied by manufacturers. Therefore, it is advisable to treat them with the same care as LCD or OLED TVs rather than treating them like CRTV sets.

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The advice for cleaning all types of TVs, regardless of their technology, remains consistent and straightforward: Use a soft, dry cloth to prevent any potential screen scratches.

In every circumstance, it is recommended by Claudio Ciacci, who leads Consumer Reports’ TV testing program, to turn off the TV or even disconnect it from the power source before initiating the cleaning process. Ciacci explains, “Not only is it safer for the TV, but it also facilitates the identification of dirt or smudges on the screen when it is dark. Additionally, it allows the TV to cool down.”

If you are unsure about the specific type of TV you own, you can always refer to the owner’s manual for guidance. Most manuals and manufacturer websites provide instructions on the optimal cleaning methods for their respective TV models.

Below, we present a comprehensive set of tips for effectively cleaning your flat-screen TV.

Initiate with a Soft, Dry Cloth The delicate nature of screens makes them prone to scratching, and even materials like paper towels and tissues contain fibers that can cause harm. “The optimal choice is to utilize a soft, anti-static microfiber cloth, similar to the ones employed for cleaning eyeglasses and camera lenses. Wipe the screen in a circular motion,” advises John Walsh, who, in his capacity as a CR photographer, cleans over 250 TVs annually. Some TV manufacturers may provide a dedicated cloth for this purpose. He adds, “Gently clean the screen with a dry cloth to eliminate dust and other debris, but avoid exerting excessive pressure.”

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It may also be beneficial to wipe down the TV’s cabinet and ensure that dust is not obstructing the vents responsible for heat dissipation. If the TV is positioned on a stand rather than mounted on a wall, Walsh suggests employing one hand for cleaning while supporting the TV with the other to prevent any tipping accidents. However, CR strongly recommends securing all stand-mounted TVs using anti-tipping straps specifically designed for this purpose.

If you encounter stubborn stains that are difficult to remove, you can slightly dampen the cloth with distilled water and gently clean the screen. It’s important not to directly spray water onto the screen, as this could potentially lead to electrical shock or component failure if the water penetrates the inner workings of the TV.

For the most persistent stains, you can attempt using a solution of extremely mild dish soap diluted with water. Once again, it should be applied to the cloth rather than directly onto the TV. As a general guideline, Panasonic used to recommend a 100:1 ratio of water to soap. Keep in mind that LCD screens, in particular, are highly sensitive to pressure and prone to scratches, so avoid applying excessive force.

Walsh suggests that if you do use a damp cloth, it’s advisable to go over the screen once more with a dry cloth to eliminate any swirls or streaks that may be left behind

Steer Clear of Damaging Substances It is important to refrain from using harmful chemicals on your valuable flat-screen TV, such as those containing alcohol and ammonia commonly found in window cleaners like Windex. These substances can cause significant damage. If you opt to use a commercially available “screen cleaner,” which is generally unnecessary (as explained below), ensure that it does not contain alcohol, ammonia, or acetone. Additionally, avoid using cleaners that contain abrasives capable of scratching the screen.


Bypass the Cleaning Kit

Certain cleaning kits available on the market can be quite pricey, ranging from $15 to $20 for a microfiber cloth and a small bottle of cleaning solution, which often consists mostly of water. A more cost-effective alternative is to purchase a microfiber cloth from an office supply store or online and use distilled water, or create your own solution following the advice provided earlier. If you do decide to go for a cleaning kit, ensure that it does not include any harmful chemicals.

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Remember to Address the Remote Control

It’s easy for remote controls to accumulate dust and become a breeding ground for germs. Consider the number of fingers that have pressed the buttons on that remote lately, and whether all of them were completely clean. Additionally, coughs and sneezes can pose additional concerns.

Here are some essential tips for cleaning your remote controls. If you’re particularly concerned about preventing the spread of viruses, we also provide further instructions on how to effectively sanitize your remote control.

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Before you begin cleaning, ensure to remove the batteries from the remote. Then, invert the remote control so that the buttons are facing downwards and gently tap it against your palm to dislodge any debris that might have accumulated between the buttons. Next, use a soft cloth lightly sprayed with a diluted mixture of alcohol and water to wipe the entire surface of the remote. The cloth should be slightly damp, not wet.

For cleaning in and around the buttons, a cotton swab moistened with the alcohol and water mixture can be used. If there are more stubborn debris lodged deeply within the keys, you can dislodge them using a dry toothbrush or a wooden toothpick.

Lastly, give the entire remote a final wipe with a dry, soft cloth and reinsert the batteries.

Source : Consumer Reports

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