A dirty HDTV screen won't give you much pleasure--or much information. Screens are delicate, however. Clean them the wrong way, and you ruin them for good.
The main tool you need is a microfiber cloth. You can get a very small one, perhaps even for free, at your optometrist's office. You can buy larger ones for a few dollars at camera stores, electronics stores, hardware stores, or online.
Here's how to get your HDTV screen nice and clean:
- As a safety measure, unplug your TV.
- Wipe the screen gently with the dry cloth. Don't press hard on it, but for particularly stubborn dirt you can apply some gentle pressure.
- If a dry cloth doesn't do the job, you'll need to use a wet one--and that can be tricky. Distilled water is the safest and cheapest liquid for a screen. If that isn't strong enough, mix it half-and-half with white vinegar.
- Put the liquid into a spray bottle, and spray it onto the microfiber cloth.
- Wipe the display as described above, and then wait until the screen is completely dry before turning the device back on.
You also might want to freshen up the TV's frame. A dirty frame won't interfere with your viewing pleasure, but it hurts the room's aesthetics.
- Once again, unplug your HDTV.
- Use a soft cloth; the microfiber one you use on the screen will do, but so will an old T-shirt. Dampen the cloth with water, and apply to the frame.
Here are some other tips for keeping your HDTV clean:
- Let your HDTV breathe. Make sure you don't block its ventilation openings, and don't install it near a heater.
- Keep the set dry, too. Make sure that anything that might spill stays away from your television. Humidity can also be a problem, especially if you live in a tropical environment and want to watch television on your semi-open patio. As a general rule, an HDTV shouldn't be subjected to more than 80 percent humidity.
- A direct hit to your home by lightning can get through your surge protector and fry your television. If a thunderstorm is coming, unplug the HDTV. Unplug it if you're going away for a few days, too, just in case a storm comes during that time.
- Burn-in isn't the problem it was a few years ago, but it can still happen, especially with plasma sets. Check your TV's setup menu for a screen saver or an automatic turn-off option; if you find it, enable it. And in the unlikely event that burn-in occurs, leave your television on for a few hours with a constantly changing image that fills the entire screen. A photo slideshow--provided that the photos fill the screen--will do.
This story, "How to Clean Your HDTV" was originally published by PCWorld.