A good projector can only serve as well as the screen it uses. Ambient Light Rejecting (ALR) screens use technology that makes them easy to view without darkening the room. As they are bound to, they sometimes get dirty and need cleaning. Therefore, we look at all aspects of cleaning ALR screens, considering it is a delicate practice that needs extra care.
Cleaning an ALR screen needs extra care because the wrong procedure could permanently ruin it.
Ensure you wear gloves to avoid leaving more stains on the screen. Use compressed air if the stains are mild and can be blown away.
You can use a microfiber cloth or a soft brush for more stubborn stains. Gently wipe the screen in left to right movements and never circular or up-down movements.
- How Are ALR Screens Made?
- What Is Necessary for Cleaning ALR Screens?
- What Is The Procedure for Cleaning an ALR Screen?
- Precautions to Take When Cleaning an ALR Screen
- How Often Should One Clean an ALR Screen?
How Are ALR Screens Made?
To fully understand why it is a delicate job to clean ALR screens, we need to know how they are made and work. They have a diffusive layer on a highly reflective coating that helps them maintain a bright image regardless of ambient light in the room.
They are suitable for rooms that have light that is hard to control. Off-axis light that hits the screen reflects partially back to the audience. The rest of the light reflects on other parts of the room away from the viewing angle to prevent the image from looking washed out.
The different layers on an ALR screen necessitate that the fabric gets special attention. Under close observance, you will realize the screen topography has tiny angular teeth.
Cleaning the screen requires one to carefully rub on it in a particular way so that the teeth remain intact. If the screen surface degrades, it will not efficiently redirect light as the different layers will corrode.
What Is Necessary for Cleaning ALR Screens?
Requirements differ depending on the type of stain on the screen. However, a general provision of all cleaning equipment is they should only clean and not interfere with the screen texture.
The various requirements are:
- A microfiber cloth
- A soft brush
- Whoosh solution / Formula 409
- Latex gloves
- A can of compressed air
- A bowl
What Is The Procedure for Cleaning an ALR Screen?
Ensure you put on your gloves to avoid adding more stains to the screen. Gloves are necessary whenever you are physically interacting with the screen.
Without gloves, you might scratch the screen or add grease stains on the screen that will be harder to clean.
Use the compressed air to blow any dust particles off the screen. It is necessary to avoid further staining of the screen in subsequent procedures.
Spray on the screen with a few strokes from a safe distance to void, causing any damage. Consider wearing a face mask, especially for people with allergies.
If you cannot source a compressed air can, you can use the household vacuum cleaner at a safe distance.
Use the microfiber cloth to rub the screen in left to right movements gently. Never rub an ALR screen in circular or up-down motions, as that will immensely damage the screen.
Alternatively, you can use a soft brush in left to right movements. Remember to check that the brush has very smooth bristles that remove the screen’s debris and does not leave scratches.
Also, remember to clean and dry the microfiber cloth before using it. The left to right movements ensure you do not damage the horizontal structure of the screen.
Be careful about using cotton products such as Q tips since they can leave lint on the screen.
At this point, your screen should be free from any mild stains like dust. However, if the stains are stubborn, you can lightly moisten the cloth with water to dab on the dirty spot.
When moistening the cloth, ensure to wring it to get rid of any excess water thoroughly. Step 4 is beneficial for moderately stubborn stains.
If the stain is still set in the screen’s fabric, consider using a mild cleansing solution of 95% water and 5% Whoosh or Formula 409 solution.
Add a portion with the cleansing agent and water in a bowl and wet the microfiber cloth. Always remember to squeeze the material to remove any excess moisture.
After wetting the cloth, gently wipe the dirty area on the screen with the left to right movements.
After cleaning the screen with a damp microfiber cloth, use another lint-free microfiber cloth to dab on the screen.
If the solution leaves a visible patch on the screen, use another soft cloth to dab on the area gently. Then finish off with a soft dry cloth to remove as much moisture as possible from the screen.
Leave the screen to air dry before putting it back in storage or using it. Always dab on the screen with a dry microfiber cloth before leaving it to air dry.
If you have a retractable screen, let the screen dry before rolling it back.
Precautions to Take When Cleaning an ALR Screen
An ALR screen is very delicate, and owners should use extra care when cleaning.
A cardinal rule is to never clean the screen with circular or up-down movements as those will damage the screen.
For the best cleaning movement, consult your user manual. If you do not have the physical copy, you can access it on the manufacturer’s website.
Use as little pressure as possible when cleaning an ALR screen because vigorous cleaning will erode the screen surface. The screens depend heavily on their surface to provide the best image quality; therefore, be gentle when cleaning.
NEVER spray the cleaning solutions or water directly on the screen. Also, ensure to clean the screen as soon as you notice it requires cleaning to avoid permanent stains.
Children love touching things. Therefore, keep the screen away from their little hands to reduce the need for cleaning.
Also, ensure not to let the cleaning solution dry on the screen as it will stain it further.
Do not use tape to remove stubborn stains, as some might suggest. The tape will adhere to the screen and ruin the surface, causing more problems.
Also, avoid the following products when cleaning your screen:
- Petroleum-based cleaning agents
- Distilled spirits
- Harsh detergents or chemicals like benzene and acetone
As a precaution, you can test the cleaning solution on a portion of the screen, especially a corner, to see if it has a negative impact.
You should only use microfiber wipes or soft rags; rough texture fabrics will damage the screen.
How Often Should One Clean an ALR Screen?
If your screen is at a position where it easily attracts dust, clean it on a bi-weekly basis. Give priority to using compressed air as it is the least intrusive method and will not degrade your screen quality.
Screens strategically situated away from dust or dirt can go for months without cleaning. However, make a habit of cleaning the screen at least once every three months. Or clean it according to your manufacturer’s requirements.
How to Clean the Back of an ALR Projector Screen?
To clean the back of the screen, use a soft sponge or a microfiber cloth. The procedure is the same as cleaning the front, although you can use a slightly stronger cleaning solution.
Before cleaning the back, consult the manual or the manufacturer on the type of projector screen. Different screens use different technologies, and some are porous; therefore, you risk water damage to the front if you are not careful.
Cleaning ALR screens can be tedious, and this leads to many asking;
Can You Put an ALR Screen in a Washing Machine?
Your screen may become dirty beyond what the cleaning procedure here can handle. Unfortunately, you cannot put the screen in a washing machine because it will suffer permanent damage.
Cleaning an ALR screen is a risky task. Although if you remember to be gentle and go with the screen grain, it should solve your problem.
Always ensure to take proper care of projector screens and keep them in conducive environments. Follow the procedures above, and you can restore your screen and continue enjoying your favorite shows with friends and family.