How to Get Smears Off a TV

The right materials ensure streak-free cleaning of your television screen.
The right materials ensure streak-free cleaning of your television screen. (Image: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Fingerprints, dust and improper cleaning can leave smears and streaks on your television screen. A proper cleaning removes the streaks so you can better enjoy the picture quality of your favorite programs. Standard tube-style televisions have glass screens that tolerate regular glass cleaners, but LCD televisions are more prone to damage and require special cleaning. Be gentle when cleaning a TV screen so you don't cause damage worse than the smears.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft, lint-free cleaning cloths
  • Glass cleaner
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Fabric softener sheet

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Moisten a soft cleaning cloth with a window glass cleaner for treating standard television screens. Dampen the cloth with water and rubbing alcohol for treating LCD or flat panel television screens.

Wipe the television screen with the cloth, beginning at the top and working down. Moisten the cloth with the cleaning solution as necessary to prevent dry-out.

Use a dry, soft cloth to wipe the screen dry and remove streaks left by the cleaning solution. Use lint-free cloths made for LCD screens to prevent scratching. These are available from electronics stores.

Prevent static from attracting dust to standard television screens. Wipe a fabric softener sheet over a clean screen's entire surface to combat static. LCD screens do not require this treatment.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wipe in one direction as you clean to minimize streaking.
  • Do not spray a cleaning solution directly onto the screen, as the liquid may penetrate the electronics of the television and cause damage.
  • When cleaning LCD televisions, avoid cleansers with ammonia, as these can cause yellowing on the screen.


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