How to clean a TV screen

Knowing how to clean a TV screen is the final piece in the puzzle of making your living room an aesthetic place to be

How to clean a TV Screen Yoko Kloeden Design
(Image credit: Yoko Kloeden Design)

Knowing how to clean a TV screen can be problematic. One misplaced spray of the wrong solution can interfere with the beautiful finish of the latest OLED and LED TVs, for example. A gentle multi-purpose cleaning fluid can sometimes do more harm than good, while using a solution not suited to your screen can leave you with lots of smears and cleaning in an endless wax-on wax-off type way. Frustrating and definitely not cool.

So when adding a polish to your living room TV ideas, do you go au natural and use the latest 'clean' products to buff your tele? Maybe essential oils or using an actual lemon - which seems to be the latest trend in cleaning - would be the answer. We don't think so either. That's why we called upon the help of cleaning extraordinaire and TV personality Lynsey Crombie - The Queen of Clean - to impart her knowledge of cleaning a TV and all the media and furniture surrounding it. 

To get the TV screen looking so luxurious you could eat your dinner off it*, we asked Lynsey exactly how to clean a TV and here she shows us ‘how it’s done’.

*A small disclaimer before we get into the nitty gritty, however - we suggest you stick to eating your dinner in front of your TV screen, and not off your TV screen as suggested above - you definitely don't want to do that. 

How to clean a TV - what the experts say 

Beautiful modern interior with a view outside, wooden chairs and sofa

(Image credit: Rachel Battais Interiors for Stone Studios -Telford Homes)

1. Clear and organise your TV area 

First up, clear the decks. Unplug the TV and any media boxes and take everything out of the media unit if you have one – any DVD boxes, CDs, random books, remote controls or old 3D-glasses hiding behind the TV getting dusty need to be cleaned and anything that shouldn’t be there re-homed.

On the subject of TV stand ideas and media units, Lynsey favors those with doors over those that are open-shelved. ‘Units with doors that hide everything away make it harder for dust to collect inside,’ she says. ‘A sliding door is an even better, sleeker option and will keep everything nice and neat for you.’

‘Organise your wires so that they’re free from tangling. You can buy wire tags at hardware stores or online, which can help these remain nice and tidy once you’ve done all the work.’ As she points out, there are several creative ways to hide TV cords on walls.

'Put your stuff to one side and using a dusting glove or electrostatic duster give the TV area a wipe down to remove dust and any static. Avoid touching the screen at this stage. Wiping your media with a dry, recycled makeup brush regularly is good to ensure dust doesn't build up - such as in the vent areas on your Sky boxes, DVD players and alike.'

2. Clean the TV screen 

'When it comes to how to clean a TV screen, it’s mostly about dry or damp dusting,’ says Lynsey. ‘You’ll need to take extra care of the screen as it's very delicate. Choose a damp micro-fibre lint-free cloth or electrostatic duster to get rid of any static on the screen and behind it too.  

'If you can see any streaks or fingerprints on the screen, use a slightly damp microfibre cloth and wipe in small circular motions from top to bottom. TV manufacturers such as Sony and Panasonic recommend using only a dry cloth to wipe speaker grills too.

'For stubborn stains I would suggest giving the screen a light wipe with a clean screening kit such as the Mistify Natural Screen Cleaner Kit from Amazon. It comes with two microfibre cloths and a cleaning brush in the kit, which is specifically designed to tackle TVs as well as smartphones and computer monitors. But never spray any solution on the screen directly - apply to the cloth first.' 

Kelling Designs - Bespoke storage unit with TV integrated

(Image credit: Kelling Designs )

3. Organise your remote controls 

If you've bought one of the best 40 inch TVs, chances are you'll have plenty of accompanying bits, too. And once your TV is looking its best, you can move on to organizing your remote controls, DVDS, Blu-ray discs or anything else in the vicinity. 

'You can use small baskets to put your TV controls in because these days we tend to have more than one,' says Lynsey. 'This small storage basket can then be housed on the coffee table for convenience and so that everyone in the house knows where to put them after use.'

West Elm has a range of Modern Weave Handled Baskets made from handwoven rattan peel that look uber stylish in the living room, for example. They come in a range of sizes so while they're great for storing your wood logs for the fireplace, you can also use them for TV remotes as well as larger items such as Blu-ray, vinyl, magazines, books and more. 

If you're prone to constantly losing your remote control, we suggest investing in a tracking device such as the Tile Sticker.  This nifty gadget is slim enough to unobtrusively attach to the back of your remote control and links to an app on your smartphone, so you can track it down easily if you lose it in the room - you'll want one of the best key finders to help you do this. 

Rattan storage baskets from West Elm, ideal for storing

(Image credit: West Elm)

4. Get your media furniture in ship shape 

When it comes to cleaning your TV effectively it's important to pay as much attention to what's holding your TV in place as it is the screen. Chances are you've focussed on your small living room storage ideas already, be that TV stand, shelf or media unit. Keep the background in mint condition and the prize piece will shine. 

‘If the TV is standing on a wooden unit then I’d recommend using an orange-oil-based cleaning product to shine up and protect the wood,’ says Lynsey. ‘If it's made from high-gloss lacquer then something such as a glass cleaner will give you the best shine and finish. 

'For any glass doors or shelves, again use a glass cleaner. Microfibre cloths will give you the most effective results and you can dry and buff the area with a clean, dry one after you’ve cleaned it too.’

You can find out how to streamline your TV space even further in our feature on Creative ways to hide TV cords in walls here.

Open plan living room with sofa and view onto garden

(Image credit: Yoko Kloeden Design)

How do I keep my TV looking clean and streak free? 

Experts and TV manufacturers agree that using a soft and slightly damp lint-free microfibre cloth to clean your TV is sufficient. Never clean your TV while it is on as it is easier to remove stains when the screen is black. Steer away from pre-treated cloths as their coating may damage the TV screen. 

Do I need a soundbar or speakers to enhance my TV?  

‘Whilst sound has been improving over the years, the reality is that TVs are getting thinner and so there is less space to put powerful speakers,’ says Katrina Mills, TV & AV buyer at John Lewis & Partners. 

‘Most models will produce good sound for every day viewing, but if you want to create a truly immersive experience a soundbar is a must. Many manufacturers create the best soundbars to be the "perfect partner" to the TV, fully optimizing the sound and picture experience. You can use a soundbar to play music at other times too.’

Emily Peck

One of the UK's most respected tech and smart homes writers, Emily Peck also covers everything from interiors style to decorating trends. She is a contributor to Wired UK, and has also had a column in House Beautiful. She has written for publications such as Grand Designs, Stylist, Shortlist, Woman&Home, BBC, Ideal Home and House & Garden. She was once the Features Editor of Ideal Home.