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How Do You Clean an Outdoor Projection Screen [Step By Step] Guide

Projector screens are an indispensable part of any home theater projection system. But Outdoor projection screens are prone to more dirt, grime, and pollution and need more maintenance. A dirty projection screen leads to unclear pictures, spoiling your overall experience. People are often interested in “how you clean an outdoor projection screen”?

If you want to clean your outdoor projector screen, splash some water on it and wipe it with a clean microfiber cloth to put off the stubborn stains. The compressed Air Method is highly recommended when you need to clean away the dust only.

So, how frequently one should clean the projector screen? Does the screen require daily cleaning or Do I need to clean the projector lens first?

Fact You Should Know: By 2026, the projector screen market is estimated to reach at US $308.6 Billion. (Source)

In this blog post, we are going to discuss how to clean outdoor projection screens without damaging them. Also, what cleaning regime should I follow? What should I strictly avoid while cleaning?

So, let’s get started!

Should I Wait For Projector Screen To Get Very Dirty?

It is easier to clean a screen that is occupied with mild dirt. Dirt sitting for prolonged periods may lead to turning into permanent stains. You may require harsh cleaning or apply more pressure to get rid of stubborn stains. This process may also cause some irreversible damage to your outdoor projector screen.

How to Clean Outdoor Screen Surface?

Only use soap or detergent if you have visible trouble spots or if the screen appears unkempt. If you are struggling with some pesky spots on your outdoor projector screen surface, this guide may help:

  1. Take some warm water in a bucket and add some mild soap or shampoo to it. The soap should account for only 5% of the total solution of water and shampoo.
  2. After the soapy water has been dissolved, dip the microfiber cloth in the soapy water for a few seconds.
  3. Now squeeze the wet microfiber cloth gently. The fabric should be slightly dampened and not thoroughly soaked in water.
  4. Use a damp cloth to wipe the projector screen, particularly in problematic areas. Keep light pressure while cleaning to avoid any damage. Never apply the circular motion to clean.
  5. Consider using denatured alcohol for cleaning if the soap and water solution is not able to clean the stubborn stains.
  6. Now take a microfiber cloth and wipe the areas that you rinsed.

Projector Screen Vs Projector Lens – Which One is the Culprit?

It is important to know the exact reason for unclear projection. Besides a dirty screen, a dirty projector lens is another obvious reason for blurred and unclear projection.

The deposition of dirt and debris on the projector lens will completely ruin your experience. Start cleaning with the projector lens and notice if any difference in the projection. If the projection is still dirty, then the next step is to clean the projector screen.

What Should I use to clean my projector screen?

Depending on the intensity required for cleaning, you may choose a cleaning agent from the following options:

Compressed Air:

The most effective method of cleaning any projector screen is using compressed air. This is the best method that does not require any direct touch to the screen. Hold the can just a few inches away from the screen.

Soap and Water Solution:

It works best for the projector screens that are mildly dirty. Prefer a chemical-free soap and the solution should be more water and less soap (just 5% of the total solution). Dish soap, environment-friendly soap, and mild detergents are the soap options you should consider for cleaning.

Denatured Alcohol:

For stubborn stains and spot cleaning, denatured alcohol is the safer bet over harsh chemicals to clean your projector screen.

Pro Tip:

Always use the gloves while cleaning the projector screen as the natural oils from your skin may transfer. Also, the scratches from your nails may damage the sensitive projector screen.

What Not To Use to Clean Outdoor Projector Screen?

Strictly avoid the following material while cleaning the outdoor projector screen to avoid any damage:

Masking Tape:

Many tutorials on the internet suggest using masking tape which can be damaging to your projector screen. The rough surface of masking tape if rubbed against the screen can lead to scratches.

Harsh Chemicals:

Using harsh chemicals such as bleach can damage the screen infinitely.

Cleaning of Ambient Light Rejecting Screens

Ambient Light rejecting (ALR) screens are highly sensitive projector screens. Hence you should clean them with great care. The microscopic teeth on these screens are angled specifically to only reflect the light coming from the projector. Hence, these screens are highly successful for outdoor projection during daylight.

Any harsh scrubbing to this screen may damage its microscopic teeth and cause irreversible damage. Hence you should avoid touching ALR screens. The compressed Air method is best to go to remove the dust. If it is necessary to use a microfiber cloth, you should check the structure of their microscopic teeth. If they are in a linear horizontal structure, wipe from left to right in linear motion using an extremely soft cloth.

In no case, you should go with the circular motion or vertical linear motion. For stubborn dirt and spot cleaning, you can take mild soap solution as the last resort.

How to Maintain the Outdoor Screen Properly?

Here are some steps to maintain your projector screen efficiently:

  • Keep in the right place. After viewing, ensure that each screen is adequately disassembled and stored safely. Many people make the mistake of not storing the screen properly leading to stains and damage.
  • Regularly clean the surface. It is a good idea to inspect screens that have been used for a long time for any dirt or other contaminants. Start with compressed air as the modern projector screens are delicate to handle. For stubborn spots, consider water and soap solution.
  • Do not screen in extreme weather conditions. If the natural forces are too overwhelming, you should reschedule your movie plan. External forces such as strong winds, heavy rain or snow can damage your screen infinitely.

How to Avoid getting my Outdoor Projector Screen Dirty?

Although you can clean the outdoor screens, it does not imply that you should not be preventive in taking measures to avoid them getting dirty. Here are some tips that will help to prevent the projector screen from getting dirty:

1.     Don’t Keep the Screen “Outdoors” for Long.

An outdoor screen should not be left outside for too long, no matter how absurd it might sound. The screen should be moved indoors once you are done with the projection.

The screen that is placed outdoors for extended periods and is subject to the elements such as rain, snow, or sun.

  • If the screen is not installed correctly, it could be robbed or uprooted by the wind.
  • The sun’s ultraviolet radiations can damage permanently set up screens, leading to poor viewing experiences.
  • Water or moisture can damage your projector screen, leading to mold, mildew, and other oxidation issues.

Most outdoor projector screens are devised to handle the adversity in the short run. But leaving them outdoors for long can cause irreversible damage.

2.     Move the Screen into the Shade

The second option is to securely shift your outdoor screen to a shaded area. If outdoor screens are oversized, you cannot take them indoors. Hence, pulling them to a safer location within your backyard or garden makes sense.

Besides using a covered shed-like patio that can save it from harmful sun rays, you should also, screw it securely. Use sturdy cords, and secure the stakes so no wind or breeze can shake the screen.

3.     Do not swaddle a Wet Screen.

When not in use, retractable projector screens are meant to be rolled up. But if your retractable screen gets wet, you need to be extra cautious before swaddling it. The golden rule is – Never to store a wet screen. It will moisten the screen and gradually you will notice the water spots on your screen when you will unwrap it later.

Once completely dry, you can consider storing it appropriately.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions on Outdoor Projector screen cleaning:

What will happen if my projector screen gets wet?

The outdoor projector screens which are not able to withstand water will get damaged if gets wet in a rain or with a pool of water splash. This damage could be irreversible. Other screens made from polyster or washable fabric may not have much impact if gets wet.

The ALR screens are specifically delicate. Any harsh cleaning may damage the microscopic teeth of the screen and thus should be cleaned using compressed air only. Other types of screens also need due diligence while cleaning.

How Frequently Should I Clean My Projector Screen?

You should consider cleaning your projector screen as soon as you notice some dirt on it.  On average, you can consider cleaning it after every 3 months, if you are not using it frequently.

Can I Do the Spot Cleaning for My Outdoor Projector Screen?

Yes, you can consider spot cleaning at the extra dirty spots using the Q-tip and denatured alcohol.  Never soak the screen or a part of the screen in alcohol as it could lead to permanent staining. Once gently rubbed with the alcohol solution, use the other side of the Q-tip to dry up the spot.


Now that we know how to clean the outdoor projector screen, we should focus more on saving these screens from dirt and debris. It will not only save on the maintenance cost and time but also increase the life of your outdoor projector screen.

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