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How to clean flat screen TVs

Consumer Reports News: May 05, 2009 09:38 AM

When your flat-panel TV gets a little dusty, here’s how to give it a facelift:

First, check the manual for cleaning instructions.  Older CRT sets had glass screens that were more forgiving. LCD and plasma screens may not be. The set’s user manual may warn against using products with certain chemicals. (And doing something the owner’s manual forbids is a good way to void your warranty.)

Avoid commercial cleaners. Alcohol and ammonia, found in window cleaners, can wreak havoc on your expensive flat-screen. Don’t use cleaners that have them.

The best method: Use a damp, soft cloth – that’s it.  Screens scratch easily, and even paper towels can do damage. Your best bet is a microfiber cloth—the kind uses to clean eyeglasses and camera lenses. Dampen it slightly and gently clean your screen. LCD screens, including laptop screens, are very sensitive to pressure and can scratch easily, so don’t press too hard.

Don’t buy a “cleaning kit.” Some stores, like Best Buy, shamelessly charge $20 for a kit that includes just a microfiber cloth and a small bottle of cleaning solution. Instead, buy the cloth at a office supply store (or online) and use water.

For more on this and other great stories, see the June 2009 issue of Consumer Reports online.

[Photo: Francois Schnell/Flickr]

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