How to Clean a Projector Screen | Ultimate Guide

It doesn’t matter how good, bright or expensive your projector is, what will ultimately decide how good a picture you see will depend on how clean your projector screen is.  

A bright projector image will only show up all of the marks and stains on the screen itself.

It’s, therefore, crucial to know how to clean a projector screen properly.

Your projector screen will likely have cost you a lot of money to purchase, so knowing how to look after this important piece of equipment will save you a lot more time and hassle in the future.

Below is not only our ultimate guide on how to clean your projector screen but also how to make sure that it looks just as bright and vibrant as it did the day you bought it!

Always wear latex gloves

It’s crucial that you don’t attempt to clean your projector screen with your bare hands.  Bare hands will leave an oily residue and stains on the surface of the screen as well as other contaminants such as dirt and dust.

Using your bare hands for the cleanup process will also run the risk of you scratching the surface of the screen.  The surface of the screen is the most important part of the unit as this is where all of the hi-tech manufacturing has gone into the unit.

The surface is what gives the screen its perfect balance of light reflectivity and light absorption, otherwise known as its gain.

Therefore, always wear a new, fresh pair of latex gloves before attempting to touch the screen.  These gloves will prevent all of the above from occurring.

Remember to always throw away the gloves after use or at least don’t use them again for the purpose of cleaning the screen.

Don’t use masking tape

Some guides found online mention that you should try and remove dirt, dust, and other contaminants from your projector screen using masking tape to lift them from the surface.

This is incorrect, so please don’t use masking tape to do this.

Although masking tape will remove debris from the surface of the projector screen, it may also leave a sticky substance that will alter the quality of the screen’s surface.

As mentioned above, any marks left on the projector screen surface could affect the gain properties of the screen which in turn will have a detrimental effect on the picture quality from the projector.

Read the manual

Ideally, before attempting to clean your projector screen, you should read the manufacturer’s instructions relating to the cleaning of their products.

This is because the manufacturer may have used a special material or process in the creation of the screen and therefore special care should be used before attempting to clean it.

If you don’t have a copy of the manufacturer’s instructions, or you are unsure of who the manufacturer is, please follow the steps in this guide.  

This guide uses a commonsense approach which should be effective for the cleaning of the vast majority of projector screens.

Step 1 – Use Compressed Air

The number one rule when cleaning a projector screen is to try and clean it by touching the surface.

This is because the surface of the screen has been developed to offer exceptional reflectivity properties and rubbing the screen, no matter how gently, runs the risk of creating patches on the surface itself.

One great way of cleaning the projector screen without touching it is to use a can of compressed air.

The compressed air will blow away loose dirt or dust off the screen.

An important point to remember is not to hold the compressed air any closer than 2 inches from the screen.  If you hold it closer than this, there is a risk of the compressed air creating condensation of the projector screen surface.  This will create visible patches on the screen.

Start the cleaning process from the top left of the screen and run the can along to the right-hand side.

Once you have reached the right-hand side move down a little and move the can over to the left of the screen and so on and so forth.

This will systematically blow any dirt or dust off the screen.

Step 2 – Use a clean, dry microfiber cloth

If the can of compressed air wasn’t sufficient at cleaning the screen, then the next step is to use a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

Microfiber cloths are great as they are soft, non-abrasive, and are great at lifting dust, dirt, and other contaminants off the surface of projector screens.

It is best to use a dry, rather than damp, microfiber cloth as applying moisture to the screen and then rubbing could cause the formation of visible patches that are going to spoil the image quality from your projector.

Another key tip is to remember not to use circular motions when rubbing the surface of the screen.

Instead, use either left to right or up and down the action.  This is due to the way that the projector screen surface has been manufactured.

Start the cleaning process from the top left of the screen and run the microfiber cloth along to the right-hand side.

Once you have reached the right-hand side move down a little and move the microfiber cloth over to the left of the screen and so on and so forth until the screen has been cleaned.

One final point is to remember to wear latex gloves before rubbing with a microfiber cloth.

Step 3 – Use a microfiber cloth with warm water

If your projector screen still has visible dirt and stains, even after using a can of compressed air and then a dry microfiber cloth, the next step would be to use a damp microfiber cloth.

The golden rule to this method is to use clean warm water without any detergents or cleaning products.  You will read in some guides on the internet that detergents can be used.  This isn’t recommended.

Detergents and other cleaning products can alter the texture of the projector screen surface.  A change in texture will create visible patches on the screen itself.

Therefore, only use clean, warm (not hot) water with a clean microfiber cloth.

First, soak the cloth in the warm water.  

Then remove the cloth and thoroughly rinse it so that the cloth won’t drip.

Important – do not apply the warm water directly to the projector screen.

Next, start the cleaning process from the top left of the screen and run the microfiber cloth along to the right-hand side.

Once you have reached the right-hand side move down a little and move the microfiber cloth over to the left of the screen and so on and so forth until the screen has been cleaned.

One final point is to remember to wear latex gloves before rubbing with a microfiber cloth.

Step 4 – Use cotton swabs and alcohol

If the warm, damp microfiber cloth method from step 3 was not effective enough to clean the projector screen, there must be some very isolated, but stubborn stains on small sections of the screen.

Such stains will require a pinpointed approach to cleaning using an alcohol solution.

The best way of applying an accurate amount of alcohol to the projector screen is with a cotton swab.

To do so, dab one end of the cotton bud into the alcohol and leave the other end dry.

Gently and precisely begin to rub the cotton swab on the stain or dirt in a left to right or up and down motion.

Never rub the cotton swab in a circular motion.

Once either some or all of the stain has been removed, dab the area on the screen with the dry end of the cotton swab to remove any excess alcohol from the projector screen surface.

Important – do not leave any alcohol to dwell on the projector screen surface.

Never use the same cotton swab twice.  This is what makes cotton swabs so perfect for this task as you can buy them in large volumes at very affordable prices.

Step 5 – Finish with a dry cloth

After carrying out any of the steps above, remember to gently wipe the screen down with a clean, dry microfiber cloth.

Start from the top left of the screen and run the microfiber cloth along to the right-hand side.

Once you have reached the right-hand side move down a little and move the microfiber cloth over to the left of the screen and so on and so forth until the screen has been cleaned.

Next, leave the screen fully extended for 5 minutes before rolling the screen back into its housing unit.  This will ensure that the screen is fully dry and removes the risk of the housing causing further soiling of the screen.

If the screen is dirty when it is next extended from the projector screen housing, the housing itself may need cleaning.

Please consult the manufacturer’s instructions to find the best way of cleaning the housing before attempting to clean it.

In conclusion

Regular cleaning of your projector screen is one of the best ways to ensure that your home theater or conference room experience is the best it can be.

It is no good having a 3500 lumen, 4K projector to watch your favorite movies and TV shows if the screen that it is projecting onto is dirty as this will spoil the image.

Also, it’s important to not cause undue damage to the projector screen when cleaning it.  Following the steps above will ensure that you have the optimal projector screen that looks just as good as the day you bought it!