It's easy to look at your big-screen TV and see just another pane of glass, but you shouldn't treat it that way. TVs have chemical coatings that can be damaged by the ethyl alcohol and ammonia found in ordinary household glass cleaners, and the screens themselves are fragile. So, you will want to take special care and use the right products when cleaning your big-screen TV.
Selecting an appropriate cleaning cloth
Choose a dry soft, lint-free cloth – soft flannel or microfiber cloth works well, like the MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths ($5.50 for 2, check price on Amazon). DO NOT use paper towels or even tissues. The wood fibers found in these paper-based products can damage the anti-reflective coating on your TV.
Choosing the right cleaning solution
TV manufacturers don't want you to use ANY type of cleaning product. But there are times that sticky fingerprints and other substances end up on TVs. In that case, you can use water, soapy water (1 part mild liquid dish soap to 100 parts water), or a cleaning solution that is designed specifically for TV screens like the Austere Clean & Protect ($29.99 on Crutchfield), which comes with a cleaning cloth.
Your first instinct may be that a screen-cleaning solution is snake oil, but we promise, it's not. A good screen cleaner can be better than plain tap or soapy tap water, both of which may leave unsightly streaks. All products specifically made for TV screens won't contain alcohol or ammonia. However, their actual ingredients will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer (and may include ingredients like distilled water, mild soap, or vinegar)
Specialty cleaning solutions can be expensive. To mimic the benefits of a commercial cleaner on a budget, you can make your own cleaning solution mixing 50 percent (no more than that) isopropyl alcohol (again, make sure it's not ethyl alcohol) and water. However, it will not perform quite as well as an alcohol-free commercial cleaner.
How to clean your TV
1. Turn off your TV, let it cool down, and unplug it.
2. Wipe down your TV with the cleaning cloth. If wiping your display won't remove the visible grime, don't resort to pressing or rubbing hard on your TV. Too much pressure can damage the screen.
3. Dampen your cleaning cloth with water or your screen-cleaning solution (make sure the cloth is slightly saturated, but not soaked). Then wipe down your TV. NEVER spray or apply water or any type of screen-cleaning solution directly to your TV.
[Image credit: Techlicious]