Before the turn of the millennium, a question like this had a universal answer. Windex could be used on the glass screens of televisions of yore; however, many modern HD television screens are much different and require alternate maintenance.
You cannot use Windex on a TV screen if it is a modern HDTV with plasma, LED, or LCD screen. Only older TVs with glass screens can tolerate this cleaner. Instead, use a microfiber cloth or similar to remove dust, streaks, and fingerprints.
If you’re wondering if it is safe or not to use Windex to clean your TV screen, this article will help you make that determination and provide you with alternative cleaning methods for those screens that cannot have Windex applied.
Windex Cleaner Will Harm Modern TV Screens
Unless you still have an old and boxy CRT television dating back to the twentieth century, then odds are you should not be using Windex to clean your TV screen. Those kinds of older TVs had glass screens that could tolerate Windex, hence why this question even lingers today.
However, today’s plasma, LCD, and LED screens are far too delicate to handle harsh chemicals in common cleaning products. You may have an older plasma screen, in which case, it may be made of glass. If this is the case, then Windex, or a similar glass cleaner, will work just fine so long as there is no protective coating on the screen. Otherwise, it absolutely should be avoided by any means necessary.
Avoid ALL Similar Window Cleaners
It’s important to note here that we are not picking on Windex brand cleaner specifically. Like Kleenex is to tissues, Windex is to glass cleaner; many people use these brand names to refer to the generic item it represents. And it shouldn’t be overlooked that it is the ingredients in glass cleaners, such as Windex, that will cause you to have issues.
Avoid any cleaner that has ingredients like ammonia, acetone, or alcohols of any kind. Most flat-screen HDTVs have a protective layer that can be damaged when it comes in contact with such chemicals.
How to Clean a Flat Screen TV the Right Way
To avoid not only a negative chemical reaction but scratching the screen as well, most TV manufacturers suggest using a soft cloth to wipe away any smudges or dust on your TV screen. Many TVs will have come with an appropriate option when you purchased it; however, if you have since thrown that away or lost it, they are similar to an eye-glass cloth or microfiber cloth and can easily be replaced.
Microfiber cloths are readily available these days at most general and bix box retailers. Amazon carries plenty of options, such as the Progo Ultra Absorbent Microfiber Cloths for LCD/LED TV, which are great for computer and phone screens as well, or the ECO-FUSED Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, which have a suede side as well for soft polishing.
Some screens can tolerate a soft cloth that has been dampened with water to encourage streaks or smudges off the screen. Others may be able to handle some vinegar-based cleaner, but many will just suggest a dry cloth and nothing else. You will want to check with your owner’s manual or go online to the manufacturer’s website to confirm what is recommended for your particular television.
It is suggested to turn off your TV and remove any layers of dust before wiping at streaks and smudges. Rub the cloth in a circular motion to remove fingerprints and other markings. Check out our article on how to clean a TV screen without streaks.
Can You Fix a Screen Cleaned With Windex?
Maybe you found this article because you already have used Windex on your TV screen to some adverse side-effects, and now are trying to determine your mistake. Well, using Windex was indeed where you went wrong. This may have left some streaks or odd markings on your screen. Provided a chemical burn didn’t cause it, then you may be able to remove this damage.
Try using a soft cloth with a little water to rub away any streaks or marks gently. Follow with a dry cloth to remove water and further polish. If this doesn’t do the trick, then it is likely that the ammonia or general chemical concoction has reacted with the screen, essentially burning the protective coating. Unfortunately, this damage is permanent.
Clean your flat-screen TV with a soft cloth. Avoid using Windex or other such cleaning products as their chemicals are too harsh for many LED and other HDTV screens. Some cleaning solutions may be used, though you should verify that such products are safe before using them by checking your owner’s manual.