How to Clean a Projector

You should take good care of your projector so that it can last longer than its lamp life or lamp hours because once the projector itself breaks down due to misuse and abuse, you can’t easily replace it like the projector lamp. Even though the typical digital video projector, its lens, its filter, and its lamp require little maintenance, it doesn’t mean that you should neglect the unit. Components like the filter should be kept clean from the inside and out to ensure that it performs to the best of its ability.

Additionally, a dirty projector with a filthy filter tends to overheat more, which in turn can result in significant permanent damage to your unit because rising temperature actually destroys the internal circuitry of the device. The vents and filters should not be covered in dirt because it will make the unit overheat easier. Also, a lens that’s murky just defeats the purpose of buying a 1080p Full HD or 4K Ultra HD projector for clear and smooth home cinema viewing.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning Your Projector

With that said, here are the things you should keep in mind when it comes to cleaning a projector properly from the filter to lens and whatever else that requires maintenance on the device that tends to heat up quite quickly when its vents and other surfaces are all dirty.

Some cleaning steps for projectors are simple to follow while others are quite a bit more complex and require a more methodical approach to accomplish. As a rule of thumb, you should keep your projector clean for the best performance. A little maintenance goes a long way. You should avoid removing any parts of the projector except for the lamp and the filter.  When it comes to how to clean a projector, here’s what you need to do.

  • Avoid Electric Shock by Turning The Projector Off: Mitigate electrocution or electric shock by always turning the projector off and disconnecting the power cord before removing things like the case or the lamp. The proper sequence of events is turning the projector off first then unplugging the cord as well as cables to any media players. Don’t let any cables, including the ones connected to video sources, get left behind plugged in for safety’s sake. Don’t do it in reverse order to prevent damage. If you’re recently used the projector, let it cool off by waiting 30 minutes before cleaning it.


  • Clean the Lens: The first thing you should clean from your projector is the lens. Whenever you notice dust or dirt on the surface, clean that up that microfiber cloth. You can also use a canister of compressed air in order to remove the dust and dirt from the lens without touching the glass at all. You want to avoid putting oils from your fingers on the glass that could end up smudging it and blurring the picture quality of whatever it’s putting out on the big screen. Clean gently but thoroughly so as to prevent accidental damage to the lens. Make the glass gleam in cleanliness.


  • Lens Cleaner, Paper, and/or Lint-Free Cloth: You can also use lens-cleaning paper or any soft cloth without lint on it to gently wipe the surface of the lens with lens cleaner. Avoid rubbing the lens with abrasive materials like sandpaper or a scouring pad from your kitchen. Use something soft and lint-free instead. Don’t use your oily fingers to rub it either since that’s not going to help any either. You don’t want to scratch up the lens and ruin it. You want to be as careful as possible with your cleanup to leave the glass pristine. Don’t overdo it and observe carefulness and self-awareness when cleaning.


  • Clean The Projector Case: When cleaning the projector case, you should make sure the projector isn’t turned on and is unplugged. You should turn off the projector, let it cool down, and then gently turn it over. Afterward, wipe the projector exterior with a soft cloth, preferably of the lint-free microfiber variety. In order to remove stubborn stains or dirt, you should moisten the soft cloth with water and a neutral detergent. Afterward, just wipe the case clean then wipe it again with a dry cloth for good measure so it’s not left sopping wet with cleaning agent and water.

How to Clean a Projector

  • Avoid Using Chemical Detergents: When cleaning the projector case, you should avoid using chemical detergents like thinner, benzene, alcohol, or wax. These can all do more harm than good to your otherwise pristine case. You’re not cleaning a car; you’re cleaning sensitive electronics, even if it is a projector. Ideally, you should use a shop vacuum with a soft brush attachment to scoop up the dust and agitate any sticky dirt to loosen it up for suction. If your unit is stained, you should clean it with a little bit of an all-purpose cleaner that won’t damage the case like Formula 409 or a little bit of water with mild soap.


  • Don’t Remove Case Parts and Vents: Don’t remove any external vents or case parts on your projector. Not only does this void the warranty—you can accidentally damage the internal parts of your projector with your overzealousness to clean it. Opening the unit by yourself while not being a technician can cause significant risk of customer-induced damage to the product that makes your warranty null and void or at the very least requires a special type of warranty to make such damage valid and your unit replaceable while under warranty.


  • Clean The Filter: You should now clean the filter. Pull the filter out and clean it by blowing on it or brushing it gently with a brush. You can also use a compressed can of air or a small vacuum to do the job for you. Be careful not to tear the mesh filter. Also avoid getting it wet. Once the filter is clean, slide it back to its slot. You’ve now saved your LCD projector from overheating issues. The bulb should be able to last much longer too when push comes to shove. Don’t be too rough because if you damage the filter, dirt can enter your projector much easier than before.


  • Clean The Lamp Vent Screens: Over time, debris and lint can build up on the lamp vent screens of your projector, thus blocking the air passageway that your fans use to disperse heat from your unit. This then results in your projector overheating much easier than before. If you don’t clean those screens up, this will result in heat damage from your projector that has no way of cooling down, resulting in it frying its internal circuits and bricking the unit when push comes to shove. You should not perform lamp maintenance more frequently than required though. Do it periodically instead of in accordance with your use environment and usage frequency.


  • The Importance of Cool-Down: During normal operation, a projector can get quite hot. It can even become as hot as or even hotter than an electric kettle or oven. Of course, if it crosses a certain temperature threshold, its internal electronics could meltdown or get damaged altogether, which is why it’s important to clean it correctly. Also make sure to read and understand all the instructions and warnings on the unit, on the lamp, and in the user manual before attempting to remove the lamp for cleaning. Allow the appropriate amount of cool-down time as recommended by your user manual (usually half an hour to an hour).


  • Remove The Lamp as Instructed: Refer to your user manual for instructions on proper lamp removal for a specific model. Vacuum the area or use a compressed air can blast the dust out. Avoid touching the glass and the front of the lamp. If the lamp is burned out or at the cusp of its lifespan, you might need to have it replaced. If you’re not confident with your skill in removing the lamp from your projector then have a professional technician do it for you. Don’t risk injuries to your fingers or damage to the lamp by touching the lens with them. Don’t touch the empty lamp compartment after lamp removal either. 

In Conclusion 

Projectors, particularly Light Crystal Display (LCD) projectors, are reliable, bright, and easy to use. LCD projectors are among the most common projectors you’ll ever come across, plus they’re the most affordable kind to boot. They also have three different LCD panels that handle each of the following colors—blue, green, and red. The projector splits white light into those three colors then reflects it off the appropriate panel before recombining them into three beams that are filtered and sorted out to form any type of digital video image.

Digital Light Processor (DLP) projectors follow a more complicated method of digital video creation involving microscopically small mirrors. Meanwhile, Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) projectors is hybrid projectors combining the LCD panels of LCD projectors and the microscopic mirrors of DLP projectors. Regardless of the method, if your projector is dirty, you’ll end up with blurry and dark images that ruin your viewing experience. To make sure that your home cinema or gaming experience isn’t compromised, you should clean your projector regularly using the tips outlined above.



Image Credit:

James Core

I love my projector system and I am here to help you find the right projector for your needs.

Recent Posts