How to clean a television and other types of electronics isn’t so black and white, but it’s important to get right. Thankfully, compared to other items around the house, cleaning a flat-screen TV requires the least amount of cleaning products, if any, and involves minimal elbow grease. Just how we like it!
Don’t forget all the other TV-related accessories, too. The remote can house months’ worth of crumbs, pet hair, dirt, grease and other bits of bacteria if not regularly cleaned ─ and it doesn’t help that it’s also something people grab while snacking on food.
What’s the best way to clean a flat-screen TV?
The number one piece of advice is to never spray any liquids or foams on the TV, as it can damage its display or even cause an electric fire. It’s also important to read the manufacturer’s instruction manual before attempting anything. This is the best way to safely clean your television and avoid making mistakes that might void your warranty. It’s also worth dusting or wiping your TV daily, or every few days at least, to avoid a monstrous buildup of dust and greasy marks that can make it more difficult to clean later on.
Televisions, particularly the screen portion, are fragile and need to be wiped down with a gentle hand. Pressing too hard can cause scratches or strip the anti-glare coating and cause permanent damage.
Here are four easy steps you can follow to maintain a flat-screen TV, as recommended by premium brand Samsung.
- Unplug your TV and wait until it has completely cooled down.
- Clean the frame with a dry, soft, lint-free cloth.
- Use the same cloth to gently wipe the TV screen. For fingerprints and greasy marks that won’t budge, spray a small amount of screen cleaning solution onto the cloth and carefully go over the area again. Never spray anything directly onto the TV.
- Wait a few minutes for the TV screen to air dry before plugging the cables back in.
How do you clean a flat-screen TV without streaks?
Looking to clean your TV screen without leaving streaks? Here’s how:
- Ensure the TV is switched off and has cooled down before you start cleaning. A TV can heat up when switched on for a long time and this might cause streaks if some sort of wetness is applied before it has cooled down.
- If you need to use a cleaning product, stick to a small amount. Streaks can be caused by applying too much liquid onto your cloth, or by using a damp disinfectant wipe straight from the packet. The cloth/wipe shouldn’t be soaking wet when you place it onto the screen or frame so wring it out slightly and let it dry for a few minutes before you start cleaning.
- Another tip is to regularly flip the cloth over to prevent it from collecting a chunk of dust and sliding it across the screen. Wiping in one direction and making large swipes can additionally help prevent streaking.
- Use a cleaning solution rather than water to clean your TV or you risk ending up with streaks and extra static. Plain tap water doesn’t have the same anti-static properties that appear in cleaning products, so a cloth with some water would only collect, rather than lift, dust and film from the screen.
What can you use to clean your TV?
Aside from a lint-free cloth, you can also use alcohol-free disinfectant wipes or sprays, and microfiber cloths to wipe your TV clean (including the screen). You can also use your vacuum with a brush head attached, to clean the frame only, not the screen. Just make sure it’s operating on the lowest suction power level.
What should you not use to clean a TV?
There are certain types of products and tools that should not be used to clean your TV. These include:
- Cleaning products containing alcohol, ammonia, benzene or paint thinner
- Window cleaners
- Cleaning fluids
- Abrasive pads or paper towels.
Harsh chemicals, such as window cleaners and other products with alcohol or ammonia can strip the protective layer and flexible materials on LCD screens, LED screens and plasma TV screens. The only exception is tube televisions (remember the square bulky televisions?). These can supposedly handle window cleaning sprays, but the solution must still be put onto a cloth beforehand not sprayed directly onto the screen.
How to clean your TV remote
The remote control is one of the most commonly touched items in the home, which makes it more likely to attract germs and viruses. Bacteria can survive on the surface of objects for hours or even days, depending on factors like temperature and humidity. So, you should aim to clean your TV remote at least once a month, or after it’s been used by a family member who’s unwell to avoid the spread of germs.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Remove the remote’s batteries.
- Turn the remote over, with the button side facing down, and lightly tap or shake it to remove dirt and debris stuck between the keys. If you have a pressurised air duster (otherwise known as an air canister), you can also give the remote a spray to lift any additional fluff.
- Gently wipe the outer shell with a disinfectant wipe or lint-free cloth that’s been slightly dampened with a suitable cleaning solution.
- Run a cotton bud, either dry or dampened with a disinfecting solution, between the buttons.
- Carefully use a toothpick inside the crevices to dislodge stubborn dirt in harder-to-reach areas like under and around the buttons.
- Let the remote air dry before re-inserting the batteries.
What’s the difference between detergent and disinfectant?
While detergents can get rid of dirt and impurities from objects and surfaces, it doesn’t kill germs. On the other hand, disinfectants are claimed to sanitise and remove different types of bacteria and viruses from surfaces. This is why it’s recommended that you start cleaning with a detergent and follow up with a disinfectant because both are needed to properly clean surfaces and reduce the risk of spreading germs.
How to clean speakers
Several parts make up your home stereo, such as:
- Speaker grills: the covering placed over the driver (cone-shaped parts that move to create sound) that prevents foreign objects and dust from building inside
- Speaker cones: produce sound waves by pushing air back and forth
- Speaker terminals: the various types of connectors that attach to other types of audio equipment via wires.
Make sure to check the instruction manual for the best way to clean your speakers and to check which, if any, parts are removable for cleaning. Also, ensure all the cables are unplugged beforehand.
How to clean speaker grills
Speaker grills are typically made out of a fabric that is as delicate as pantyhose. These are often attached to frames and are easily removable. Otherwise, you might have a metal or plastic grill with a perforated checkerboard, dot, or waffle design. Here are a few things you can do to clean a speaker grill:
- If removable, take off the fabric covering (for fabric grills). Then, detach the frame by loosening the screws at the top and bottom corners. These shouldn’t require much force.
- If the grill is not removable, you can run a lint roller over a fabric grill. Otherwise, a can of pressurised air can be used on metal and plastic grills.
- Operating on the lowest suction setting, use a stick vac or handheld vac with an upholstery tool to suck up dust, lint, pet hair and everything else. Applying strong suction power may pull and stretch fabric and cause damage.
- Dab a small amount of a homemade solution containing water and mild detergent onto a microfibre cloth, and gently rub the areas with dirt or grime.
- ‘Rinse’ the homemade cleaning mixture by wiping a cloth that’s lightly dampened with water, then let it completely air dry before reattaching the grill to the speaker.
How to clean speaker cones
A speaker cone is probably the easiest to clean. Just give it a wipe using a lint-free cloth and use a cotton bud to get rid of dirt from hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. For stubborn grime that won’t easily come off, moisten the tip of the cloth with water and give the area a light-handed scrub. Then run the dry part of the cloth over the wet areas again and let it air dry.
How to clean speaker terminals
The grunt of the work is likely to be around the speaker terminals because it’s at the back of the speaker. Make sure every single cable and wire is unplugged before starting the clean. Here are some tips on tackling this section:
- Speaker terminals can be cleaned using a vacuum with a narrow hose attachment, again on a low suction setting.
- Use a dry cotton bud to remove dust from spring clips, binding posts and other smaller knobs and gaps.
- Never use water or water-based products to clean speaker terminals.
- Ensure the speaker terminals are all completely dry before reconnecting the cables.
Picture credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com, Alexkich/Shutterstock.com, Opat Suvi/Shutterstock.com, JIPEN/Shutterstock.com, KsanderDN/Shutterstock.com.