May 05, 2008 by Dan Fulmer
Q. How should I clean my plasma TV screen? It has fingerprints and smudges. Are commercial cleaners like Windex OK? - Peter, Framingham, MA
I am a little hesitant to answer this question since there are many TVs out there with a wide variety of coatings and screen coverings. Someone might ask how to clean a plasma but really have an LCD, and the results can be different for each.
So, I suggest that you check the owners manual and see what the manufacturer recommends. I will say I have found reports of various solvents and cleaners, damaging different TV screens and with the investment in today’s TVs, it would be prudent to take care and insure you are properly cleaning the surface in questions.
In general, older style glass tube TVs can be cleaned with glass cleaner, but some of those TVs have anti-glare coatings that might be affected by the glass cleaners chemicals. There are a variety of issues to deal with on CRTs, rear projection systems, plasmas and LCDs, which would require much more time and space than is available here. Putting cleaning agents and solvents on many of these screens, even those with screen shields can be damaged. Additionally, just because something says it is an “electronics cleaner” or “electronics safe” doesn’t mean so, since what matters is what the manufacturer put into or on the TV screen.
Some tips though, for plasmas and LCDs, is to use a soft, clean, lint free cloth to clean the surface. You may use a bit of water to dampen the cloth for some plasmas. Paper based cleaning products (paper towels) can scratch plasma coatings. Never use soap or cleaners with LCDs without checking with manufacturer and NEVER press down on an LCD screen, while cleaning or otherwise, or you can seriously damage the screen.
To read more about home theater maintenance, check out “Keeping Your Home Theater Healthy.”
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