The best tips to remove smudges and stains from a PC monitor or an HDTV.
Matt ElliottSenior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Even if you don't have snot-nosed kids or wet-nosed pets, your computer monitor or HDTV panel will eventually accumulate a collection of annoying smudges and stains. My household happens to contain both of the aforementioned creatures and, thus, I've developed a method for wiping down the HDTV in the living room and the LCD monitor in my office, as well as the screen of my laptop and iPad.
If you take a quick survey of LCD or HDTV manufacturers about the recommended method for cleaning the surface of your monitor or TV screen, you'll discover more don'ts than dos, often in conflict with one another.
In the don't column:
Don't use aerosol sprays, solvents, or abrasives. (This means don't reach for the Windex under the kitchen sink, as tempting as it may be.)
Don't use anything other than warm water.
Don't use any liquid at all.
Don't spray a liquid directly on the screen.
Don't use a hard cloth.
Don't use your fingernail or a sharp object to remove stubborn stains.
In the do column:
Use a dry, soft, lint-free cloth, preferably the micro-fiber cleaning cloth that may have come with your TV or monitor.
Use a solution of mild soap and water, if needed.
Taking all of the above advice into consideration and speaking from my own experience, the following is my recommendation:
First, attempt to clean your screen with a dry, lint-free cloth. If you can't find the cleaning cloth that came with your screen in question, then it's likely you have one laying around from a laptop, iPad, or iPhone purchase.
If a dry cloth doesn't remove the smudges and stains on your screen, then get yourself two cloths and a solution of diluted dish soap and warm water. (I use Dawn dish soap, and just a drop.)
After removing any dust from your screen with a dry cloth, dip the other cloth in your dish soap solution, wring it out, and gently wipe your display. Next, rinse out your soapy cloth, wring it out again, and wipe your display to remove any soap residue. Finally, take your dry cloth and wipe the display to remove any streaking.
Do you have any tips or cautionary tales about cleaning monitors or HDTV displays? If so, please share in the comments below.
Editors' note: It's time for spring cleaning! Week's two's theme: physical cleaning. Check back every day this week to see how best to keep dirt, grime, crumbs, and other annoying bits off your devices. And be sure to return next week for more spring cleaning tips and tricks.