Knowing how to clean a TV is pretty crucial once you've brought a new television into your home – not just for the sake of hygiene, but also to ensure that layers of dirt and dust on your display isn't stopping the picture from looking its best. Not to mention the fingerprints that overzealous children can leave on, well, everything.
Vents and speaker grilles, too, are big problem points for dust, given the flow of air through the machinery. Old homes with fireplaces, particularly, are prone to give the vents in expensive hi-fi kit a lot of debris in the air to deal with – we have not-so-fond memories of our old Xbox 360 wheezing from coal dust back in the day.
But how exactly are you meant to keep your television clean, and are there things you need to avoid to prevent damaging the hardware?
To make sure you're on the right track, we spoke to the TV specialists at Richer Sounds to find out how to clean your television, and the most common pitfalls to avoid. Here's what you need to do.
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1. Use a lint-free cloth
When you're staring at the television screen all day, or all night (we don't judge) it's important to make sure there isn't any dust or grime getting in the way of the picture.
It's best to use a lint-free cleaning cloth, as this kind of material doesn't shed fibers when rubbing against surfaces – meaning you're not adding to the mess, generating static against the screen, or risking scratching any glass (the kind of cloth you use to clean your glasses works great).
Whatever you do, don't stop wiping down halfway: an uneven clean may be even worse than a dusty one, as some sections of the screen will be less covered with dust than others.
2. Go easy on liquids
Firstly: don't apply any spray, water, or cleaning solution directly to the screen.
You'll want to stick to just a dry cloth where possible, though if your television is particularly dirty – who knows how – it should be fine to slightly dampen the cloth with water before wiping it down.
It's important not to use a cleaning agent that's too corrosive, as regular cleaning products "can be too harsh for a TV and strip the protective coating off delicate screens." Even soap may be too much for it, though it depends how filthy your screen is (honestly, do you keep it outside?).
It's also best to avoid using too much liquid or a spray solution, as large amounts can seep inside the TV itself and damage parts of the hardware: "Liquid plus electricity is generally a bad idea!"
3. Casing and ports
So you've wiped down your screen, but do you need to worry about the rest of it?
There's no harm in treating the casing in the same way – a dry or slightly dampened cloth – and it will generally be less sensitive than the screen itself.
Ports with leads or cabled attached shouldn't be letting in any dust, and AV kit these days generally doesn't need you to blow out dust every time to get it working – like the hefty game cartridges on the Nintendo 64. Empty ports though "may need a gentle puff of canned air every once in a while to remove dust.
4. Cleaning your TV remote
It may be easy to overlook your TV remote, but, as the device that gets the most hands-on action in your home entertainment setup – and is therefore at the most risk of harbouring bacteria – it's very important to keep it clean as well.
As with the television, it's important not to let liquids creep into the crevices of the remote, as not to affect the function of the buttons – though if you want to kill germs on the remote, you'll need more than just a damp cloth.
We recommend removing the batteries before cleaning – just to be safe – and then lightly applying an alcohol cleaning solution to a cotton wool pad to wipe down the buttons and sides. It's important not to use a water-based solution, as this can damage the electronics within the remote.
You can wipe down the inside of the battery compartment, too, though this is less necessary.
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Richer Sounds is a UK retailer specializing in Hi-Fi, TV, and home cinema equipment.