We've got some bad news for you. Your TV is dirty. It's coated with dust, dead skin cells, hair, and oils. Double that list if you have pets and add in greasy fingerprints if you have small children. But don't feel bad. You're not alone. Even the most the most immaculate housekeepers tend to avoid cleaning their TV screen.

This is due, in no small part, to the fear they might damage their television while cleaning it. It's a legitimate concern. Whether you have an LCD, plasma or old school tube television, it was probably very expensive and if you don't use the right cleaner on your screen you can cause irreparable damage.

Fear not. We're here to help with step by step instructions for safely and effectively cleaning your TV screen. Shall we get started?

A man and woman watch TV. The man is holding a remote control.

1. Use A Microfiber Cloth:

The most important part of safely cleaning your TV screen is making sure you use the right materials. Microfiber cloths are the go-to textile for cleaning and maintaining almost every household electronic item and your TV is no exception. The reason for this is simple. The tiny strands of a microfiber cloth are soft, yet sturdy. This means they can get the job done without wearing out or scratching your precious television screen. Best of all, microfiber cloths are inexpensive and machine washable, so you can use them time and time again.

Don't use paper towels or napkins because they're too abrasive. You should also avoid washcloths, dish towels or rags cut from old pieces of clothing because they can leave an ugly, distracting trail of lint behind. This is definitely not something you want to look at it when you sit down to enjoy your favorite program.

The words, "clean me," are written in dust.
John Williams RUS/Shutterstock

Begin cleaning your TV screen is simply to wipe it with a dry microfiber cloth to remove particles and debris. Dust, carpet fibers, loose hairs, and other matter cling to the surface of your screen. If you let them build up they can interfere with your picture and even cause allergies.

Be gentle when dusting with your microfiber cloth. Use a light touch without applying pressure. This is particularly important if you have an LCD or flat screen TV. If you push too hard on these screen types the pixels will burn out, just like it would on your laptop (note: if you have an older model tube television, the screens are made of glass and this is less of a concern).

Tip: Turn off your TV. It's easier to see dust, dirt, and smudges on a dark screen.

A TV screen with "Netflix" written across it.

2. Remove Oils and Smudges:

Now that your TV screen is dust-free you may be disappointed to find it still isn't clean. Fingerprints, oils, and smudges often take more effort, and the aid of a TV screen cleaner to remove them. It's important to take great care in deciding what substances to use on your television. Cleansers that have chemicals, such as ammonia-based window cleaners, can permanently damage your TV, leaving you with a discolored, or worse yet, blank, screen. It's not worth the risk.

1. Do not apply TV cleaner directly to your television screen. If the screen gets too wet, the liquid may run underneath the panel and wreak havoc on the electronic components. Apply it directly to your microfiber cloth. Do not saturate.

2. Now that your microfiber cloth is moistened, use it to gently wipe your screen with your cleansing agent. Remember to avoid using pressure on an LCD or plasma TV screen. Baby it and caress it lightly.

3. Step back and observe your TV screen from different angles to make sure all the streaks are gone. Repeat if necessary. When you're finished, gently wipe the screen dry with a fresh microfiber cloth.

Tip: Consult your TV owner's manual before choosing a TV screen cleaner to make sure you select one in keeping with your warranty and manufacturer's guidelines.

DIY TV Screen Cleaners:

Two bottles of white vinegar.

There are several store-bought products specially formulated for safe use on LCD and Plasma screens, but be aware these are high markup items for the manufacturer. Prices average $12.00 and up for a tiny six-ounce bottle of TV screen cleaner and the main ingredient is usually water. There are DIY methods that work just as well and cost a fraction of the price of the products you'll find in a retail store. So, why not make your own? It's easy and you probably have all of the ingredients on hand already. We'll get you started with three formulas for our favorite DIY TV screen cleaners.

White vinegar TV screen cleaner:

White vinegar is often praised as an inexpensive, natural solution to cleaning just about anything, including your LCD or plasma TV screen. The trick is not to use too much of it. Vinegar is astringent, and if you apply it too liberally there's a good chance you'll damage your screen. The solution is simple. Dilute the vinegar with equal amounts of water (we recommend distilled water because it has been purified of minerals which can otherwise build up and result in spotting).

Isopropyl alcohol TV screen cleaner:

Isopropyl alcohol is the perfect cleaner for anyone worried about germs. It's a disinfectant so powerful doctors use it to sanitize their surgical equipment. Tackling the bacteria on your TV screen is a breeze for this powerful substance. Like vinegar, however, isopropyl alcohol is far too astringent to use in concentrated amounts. To make your TV screen cleaner is safe, mix no more than 25 percent isopropyl alcohol with 75 percent distilled water to round out your solution.

Dish soap TV screen cleaner:

If you're out of white vinegar or isopropyl alcohol, a dab of dish soap will also do the trick. Once again, you'll need to dilute it with distilled water. We recommend no more than a drop of dish soap for every cup of water.

An empty spray bottle.

Cleaning your television screen is easy once you know how. We recommend working it into your bi-weekly cleaning routine to ensure maximum cleanliness with minimal effort.

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