How to Clean a Projector Screen

Caring for your screen is a pretty simple process

A couple Looking at a Projector Screen

 domin_domin, Getty Images

A video projection system is really great for bringing the big-screen cinema viewing experience home. One way to make sure your system is performing at its best is to keep your screen clean. 

Follow the provided video projector screen cleaning tips carefully as not all screens use the same material. Before proceeding, check your screen's user guide for details on what, or what not, to do. 

If your screen was custom installed, consult your dealer/installer to make sure the screen material won't be damaged by any of the following procedures. If your screen includes periodic cleaning and maintenance, let the dealer/installer do the job. 

Projector Screen Cleaning – What You Need

  • Microfiber or lint-free soft cotton cloth. (2 or 3)
  • Bowl
  • Water (Distilled preferred)
  • Dish Soap
  • Latex Gloves
  • Masking Tape
  • Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Cotton Swabs
A photo of the required supplies for cleaning a video projector screen.

Optional Items

  • Canned Air
  • Formula 409
  • Large Pencil Eraser(s)
  • Foam Brush(es)
Optional supplies for cleaning a video projector screen.

Put on the Latex Gloves and Let's Start Cleaning!

  1. Get The Easy Stuff. To start, you need to get loose dust and other particles off the screen. This can be done using either a dry microfiber cloth or canned air. 

    • If using a cloth gently use a left/right or up/down motion in short segments to wipe the screen. 

    Never use a circular wiping motion to clean a projection screen. Due to variations on how the reflective surface material is constructed, circular wiping may damage the screen. 

    An example of projector screen cleaning using a dry microfiber cloth (cloth one)
    • If using canned air, use short bursts to loosen the dust/particles. 

    Try to keep the spray nozzle at least one inch from the screen.

    Using canned air in the video projection screen cleaning process.
    • After completing this initial process, check your screen. If there is no sign of dust, particles, or anything else that may hamper viewing, this may be all you need. However, if you think you need to go further, continue with the next step. 
  2. Lift The Harder Stuff Off. Look for any particles that may be "stuck" to the screen that you didn't get off during the previous step and note their location. 

    • Take some masking tape and wrap it around your hand (cover your fingernails and knuckles), foam brush, or a large soft eraser with the adhesive side facing out. 
    • Dab the tape on the particle(s), to see if it/they can be removed. 

    Avoid touching the adhesive to the screen surface so as not to create small damaged areas. 

    Projector screen cleaning using masking tape methods
    • Inspect the screen after completing the above step to see if you need to continue. 

    If you need to touch the screen surface to inspect it, make sure you have the latex gloves on to avoid getting any particles or oils that are on your hand onto the screen surface.

    If you feel uncomfortable with the masking tape procedure, skip it.

  3. Time for a Damp Cloth. If you need to continue, put some warm water with a small amount of mild detergent into a bowl. The ratio should be about 5% detergent to 95% water.

    You can also use Formula 409, but don't spray it on the screen. Instead, mix a small amount with water (don't mix with other detergents) and apply using the same procedure outlined below. 

    • Dip a microfiber or lint-free cotton cloth into the water. After removing, squeeze it so the cloth is just damp (you don't want water dripping down the screen or your arm). 
    • Use short left/right or up/down motions starting at the top left or right corner of the screen and gently wipe until you have completed the process for the entire screen surface or the area you need to clean.
    Cleaning projection screen using microfiber cloth dipped into cleaning solution of water and mild detergent.

    If you find water collecting or running down the screen, grab a dry microfiber cloth to avoid staining.

  4. The Dry Cloth Follow-up. After completing the damp cloth step, use another dry microfiber or cotton cloth to dry off the screen surface. Using the same gentle left/right or up/down motion. Start from the same spot that you did with the damp cloth. 

    Cleaning projection screen using a dry microfiber cloth
    • When done, inspect the screen again to see if it is clean. If so, you can stop, but if you still notice a few stuck particles, there is one more thing you can do.
  5. Get The Remainder. This last procedure requires a double-ended cotton swab. 

    Read the following carefully. If you don't feel totally comfortable, forgo this last procedure if the remaining spots do not affect your viewing experience. 

    • Dip the cotton swab into some isopropyl alcohol and leave the other end dry. Go to the spot(s) on the screen you want to remove/clean and dab the alcohol end on the spot. Immediately clean the area with the dry end of the cotton swab. If you leave the spot too damp, it may stain the screen, which can't be removed.
    Projector screen cleaning touch-up using a cotton swab dipped in alcohol

    Since the dry end of cotton swab will get damp after a couple of uses, you may need several cotton swabs to do the job, or you might also make another pass with the dry cloth (dab or use left/right or up/down motion only).

  6. Your projection screen should now be clean. If needed, you can repeat any of the above procedures.

Cleaning Manual or Motorized Roll Up Screens

  • If you are cleaning a manual or motorized pull-up or pull-down screen, make sure it "sets" long enough after you have completed the cleaning process to make sure it is completely dry before you roll it up down down into its sealed housing.
  •  If you find that the screen is dirty again when opened, there may be something wrong with the housing. Consult your user guide, dealer/installer, or customer support for further assistance.

Some outdoor projector screens can be washed off lightly with a garden hose. Consult the screen's user guide.