A lack of regular maintenance can interfere with your viewing or listening experience. Little specks of dust on the projector lens, grainy TV picture, or choppy speaker output – we’ve all had them. While some brands require specific maintenance for each model, in general cleaning and maintaining your home theatre equipment should be simple and straightforward.
Before cleaning, turn off the lamp and unplug the projector, allowing it to cool for at least 30 minutes. Use a soft, lint-free cloth to clean the projector and the ventilation grilles. If the grilles have accumulated dirt, wipe them with a cloth dampened with diluted mild detergent, and then dry them with a soft clean cloth.
If the dust has settled around the pins of the power plug, unplug the cord and clean it with a dry cloth. Clean the power plug pins at least once a year. If your projector is regularly exposed to dust, clean it every three months. Never use solvents like benzene, thinner or other flammable liquids and aerosols for cleaning.
Projector lens and screen
Use a standard lens cleaning brush or a piece of lens tissue dampened with lens cleaning fluid. Always use recommended non-abrasive materials for lens cleaning. While cleaning, never apply pressure to the lens, as it scratches easily, and never touch the lens with your fingers. Before cleaning the screen, unroll it and lay it on a clean surface. Use a white, clean cloth, preferably 100% cotton, dampened with water and then carefully wipe the area in one direction.
After each cleaning session, wipe the surface dry with a fresh cloth. If there is a stain, use denatured alcohol and repeat the process the same as for water. Never lay the screen on spread newspaper sheets and avoid using circular motions when cleaning it.
Many TV manufacturers now ship TVs with a soft cloth for screen cleaning, similar to what comes with a new pair of glasses or sunglasses. While all manufacturers provide their brand-specific cleaning and maintenance guides, the truth is that most of the owner’s manuals are copied form other owner’s manuals. For example, the relatively sturdy glass front of a plasma is much more scratch resistant than the delicate LCD screen front. While you should be careful either way, there are other options. For more information check out this comprehensive TV screen cleaning guide.
DVD player and receiver
As with any other electronic equipment, always make sure your player or receiver is unplugged whenever you need to use liquid to clean it. Use a specialised disc cleaner to clean the internal DVD player lens. Use dry or lint-free cloth on the front and side panels. Don’t ever use paper towels or other harsh cleaning materials. Apart from being abrasive, paper towels flake and can make even more mess. Use a Q-tip dipped in water or isopropyl alcohol to dust the vent holes. For removing fingerprints and other greasy residue, use a cloth slightly dampened with water.
Clean the speaker boxes with a soft, lint-free cloth that can be slightly dampened with water. After you carefully remove the speaker grilles, clean them with a gentle swipe of a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment. Use a soft bristle paintbrush to clean the driver inside the speaker box. Remove the dust of the smaller speaker parts using a micro-fibre cloth.
Outdoors speakers are more exposed to dust and dirt, so use a cloth dampened with mild detergent and water. While they are designed to endure water exposure, make sure you cover the outdoor speakers with a tarp or a plastic bag. Regularly remove leaves, dirt, spider webs, twigs, rocks and other debris that might build up around the outdoor speakers. For outdoor and indoor speakers alike, never use other cleaning agents or chemicals, including homemade cleaners based on salt and vinegar.
Gentle swipes and a cotton cloth that is moistened, but not soaked with water will remove the 99% of normal use dirt. By regularly cleaning your home theatre components, not only will you make sure they last longer, but your cinematic experience will be as great as on the first day.