Safe, Streak-Free Cleaning of Monitors and TV Screens

Person wearing pink gloves cleaning a tv screen with a green microfiber cloth

When a screen comes on, it’s hard to notice dust and mild marks on the surface, but when it’s turned off and looked at from an angle, the horror can’t be unseen! More often than not, TV screens and monitors will have one or two unsightly smudges on them along with dust on the surface (which tends to accumulate in corners and edges). Unfortunately, most homeowners overlook these digital screens when it comes to house cleaning, or simply don’t attempt to wipe them for fear of damage or improper cleaning techniques. 

One of the most common concerns or pet peeves, if you will, is leaving streaks when cleaning your TV screens and monitors. It seems like the hardest thing to do but we are here to tell you otherwise! With the cleaning guide and tips below, you will be able to safely clean your screens and monitors for a streak-free finish! 

First, let’s take a look at some important ‘don’ts’ when cleaning LCD/Plasma screens and monitors.

What to Avoid When Cleaning TV Screens/Monitors

Person wiping down monitor with pink microfiber cloth

Chemical Cleaners

This is an absolute no-no! At no point in time should you ever use chemical-based cleaning products on a digital screen including those containing alcohol or ammonia. This is because all (or most) new monitors and TVs have a protective film over the screen which can easily be damaged by these harsh chemical products. 

Spraying the Screen Directly

As obvious as this may be, we feel the need to point out that digital screens should not be saturated. This means spraying the screen directly, using a soaked cloth, and repeatedly wiping with a damp cloth should all be avoided. The goal is to clean your TV screens and monitors without exposing them to excess water/moisture.

Abrasive Cleaning Tools

Another obvious ‘don’t’, however, some people are not entirely sure what classifies as ‘abrasive’ when it comes to cleaning digital screens. Therefore, we’d like to point out that certain “non-abrasive” cleaning tools like (hard-bristled) toothbrushes and paper towels are not advised. Paintbrushes, on the other hand, are doable.

Keeping the Screen On

Apart from making sure that the screen isn’t on or on standby when you are cleaning it, it should be switched off at least half an hour prior to cleaning. Because TV screens and monitors heat up, they need to cool down otherwise you will end up with streaks due to the cleaner evaporating quickly. 

How to Safely Clean Screens Without Leaving Streaks

Person wiping down top of tv with a yellow microfiber cloth

Keeping in mind the precautionary tips and warnings mentioned above, gather the following tools for a safe and streak-free clean of your TV screens and monitors:

  • Distilled water
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean microfibre cloths
  • Clean paintbrush (small or medium-sized)

The Cleaning Method

  1. Wipe the screen with a clean microfibre cloth; start from the top and wipe from side to side.
  2. For the corners and edging along the TV/monitor frame, use a paintbrush to remove dust and dirt. Leave the bottom edge of the screen last. You will have to wipe over the screen again to pick up the dust that has been dislodged from the corners. Do this by wiping from top to bottom to avoid pushing dust back into the corners and sides.
  3. Remove dust from the base of the screen and wipe the rest of the frame.
  4. Pour the distilled water into your spray bottle. Now, for the tricky part; spray the cloth until it is damp (wring it if it gets oversaturated).
  5. In small circular motions (not too slow, not too fast), wipe the screen one section at a time. If you are unable to get the timing right and streaks are forming, keep a dry microfibre cloth at hand and wipe the cleaned area immediately to remove moisture. This will ensure that you are left with a clean and streak-free TV screen and monitor!
  6. Where marks/smudges/fingerprints are concerned, you might need to use a little more pressure but not too much; after all, screens are delicate. Circular motions are advised here as well because wiping in one direction leads to streaks. Removing these marks may also require the cloth to be a little damper but definitely not to the point where water drips down the screen while using minimal pressure.
  7. As you go about cleaning, keep a check on the cloth and replace it if dirty. Similarly, if the cloth is still clean but feels drier, re-spray it.
  8. Always look at the screen from different angles as you are cleaning because that is the only way to spot not-so-visible streaks or missed spots.

While the above guidelines and tips to clean TV screens and monitors without leaving streaks are pretty simple to follow, for anyone that would prefer to leave this task in the capable hands of professionals, most reputable home cleaning services will include a thorough cleaning of these digital screens and a sanitisation of electronics with their services.

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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