Black Spots on Projector (What causes them and how to remove it)

Nothing is worse than when you sit down for your favorite movie or TV show only to have some nasty black spots on your projector and ruining your experience!  

If you want to keep watching all the hit new shows and movies, you’re going to need to get rid of those obnoxious blotches that are in the way. So how can you fix your favorite projector and get back to watching the things you love? 

The short answer is that there are a few reasons you could have black spots. Your external lens could be dirty, the internal projector could be dusty, or you could have a more serious technical issue. 

In each of these cases, there are solutions that can fix your problem. If you suspect something either minor or major is wrong with your projector and want it fixed, read on to find out how to get rid of those pesky black splotches that are ruining TV time for you and your family! 

Causes Of Black Spots on a Projector:

In order to fix the issue, you’ll first need to understand what is causing it. There are a number of different reasons that there could be black spots on your projector. Before trying to fix anything, make sure you know the source of the spots. Let’s go over some of the reasons those ugly black spots are in your way.  

Dirty or Dusty External Lens 

The first issue you could be facing is a pretty simple one. There could be some dirt or dust on your external lens. The reason this would create black spots is because of the way the projector works. Light is projected through the lens to be redirected towards your wall or screen. If there is dust or debris on the lens, it will block some of the light being viewed.  

These are fairly easy to identify because they look more like shadows than like jet black spots. They are probably a bit lighter in color than some of the other types of spots we’ll be going over. It is also worth turning off your projector and giving it a quick glance to see if there’s any dust, dirt, debris, or other foreign material stuck to your projector’s external lens.  

Dirty or Dusty Internal Projector 

Similar to our first problem, you could have another fairly simple issue. There could be dirt or dust blocking the projector itself rather than the lens. The internal projector is the piece that actually creates the light and puts it through the lens. If the projector itself is blocked by dust or debris, there will be a black spot in the spot where that debris is.  

This is because the debris is blocking light from even reaching the projector. These spots are often a little bigger and darker than the shadows on the projector, due to being closer to the light source. If there are larger, darker shadows on your projector, you could have some kind of foreign object blocking light from your internal projector from getting through the lens.  


Before we get into the serious damage, make sure that the appearance of black spots is not simply a product of some of the video settings you’ve selected. Every projector is different, so this would be a model specific issue, but cycle through your menu and all of the different video settings in the menu. 

The default settings should work just fine without creating black spots on most models, but it is good to double check before you start stressing yourself out over what could be broken inside your particular projector.  

Malfunctioning DMD chip 

There could also be more complicated technical reasons that you are experiencing black spots. One of the most common reasons for spots on your projector is a malfunctioning or broken DMD chip.  

One of the most important pieces of your projector that you probably don’t know about is the DMD chip, or digital micromirror device chip. As the same suggests, this is a tiny mirror in your projector. It spins rapidly while light bounces off of it.  

This allows the projector to divide color and create black and white as well. This is a crucial component for any projector, as without color, black, and white, it would be impossible to know what is going on your screen.  

If there is something wrong with the DMD chip, such as it is not spinning, not spinning fast enough, or spinning erratically, it will create black spots on the projection.  

This is because when the mirror isn’t spinning very quickly at all times, it creates small areas on the projection where light can’t be reflected properly to produce an image. These dead zones create the little black spots that are annoying you so much! 

These are often smaller black and sometimes white spots that are spread across the projection. They can be identified by how they change. Unlike debris and dust that is blocking your internal LCD projector or external lens, spots created by a malfunctioning DMD chip can sometimes change. If the black spots you are seeing are inconsistent, a broken or malfunctioning DMD chip could be the culprit.  


Another complication that could create black spots is overheating. If your projector isn’t properly ventilated, all the moving parts and energy components of your projector will generate a lot of heat. Without the ability to properly cool down, this heat could do serious and permanent damage to your projector’s ability to project a crisp, clear, and spotless image.  

The reason this happens is that as the projector begins to heat up, the heat can be devastating to the plastic and metal parts of your projector. As one might expect, if the metal and plastic inside of your projector absorb too much heat, they can melt or be otherwise damaged. Sometimes, this damage can even be beyond repair.  

What creates black spots is if pieces of your internal LCD projector, DMD chip, or other crucial parts of your projector have been melted or burned. This will create parts of the projection that are damaged, and therefore unable to project images onto the wall or screen. In these cases, the black spots will be very dark and consistent.  

How to Fix Black Spots:

So, now you know why there are some black spots in between you and a pleasurable, headache-free viewing experience. However, the question still remains, how do you get rid of these pesky splotches coming from your projector? 

Well, as we covered earlier, how to get rid of the black spots depends entirely on why they are there in the first place. The solutions to this issue range from very simple and free, to technically complicated or expensive.  

For the latter, we’ll also go over some preventative measures so that you never have to deal with these problems again (or, deal with them in the first place if they haven’t happened yet!). 

Read on to find out how to fix each reason you might have black spots that were outlined above! 

How to fix a Dusty or Dirty External Lens 

This is far and away the easiest problem out of all of them to solve. You need to make sure the lens of your projector is clean and free of dirt, dust, debris, lint, and other foreign objects that may have made their way onto the lens. If you aren’t aware, the lens is the curved piece of glass that the projection comes from.  

First, make sure your projector is turned off. There are a number of reasons for this. You don’t want to put any cleaning materials near a projector that is on, as any sort of liquid cleaner near a powered electronic is certainly a mistake.  

Secondly, the light that comes from your projector is extremely bright, so staring right into it from very close up is also a pretty big mistake! Be careful. 

You’ll also want to make sure the projector has cooled down. The glass gets a lot hotter than you might think, along with the rest of the projector, so you’ll want to avoid touching it until it is at a safe temperature.  

Next, find a lens-safe cleaning cloth. If you don’t have one and don’t want to buy one, a cloth you would use to clean a pair of glasses or a screen would be great as well.  

First, you want to try to use the cloth dry, simply cleaning off any dust or debris in small circles until all visual debris is gone. Turn on the projector and see if it has worked! 

If debris is caked on in some way, a small (emphasis on small) amount of glass cleaner could help get off some tougher dirt or gunk that’s found its way onto your projector’s lens. If the external lens is your problem, both of these methods should work just fine every time! 

Cleaning Your Internal Projector 

Although it is a little bit more difficult and more tedious, the concept of cleaning your internal projector is essentially the same as cleaning the external lens. If something is blocking your internal projector from properly projecting the image, resulting in a black spot, it needs to be cleaned off! 

This process is a bit more complicated than simply brushing off the lens would be. This comes from the fact that you’ll need to open up the machine to get to the internal LCD projector in order to clean it off.  

In many types of projectors this is a fairly easy task. Check the underside or sides of your projectors for a little “door” or panel that gives you access to some of the inner parts of the projector. If your projector has this, cleaning your internal projector just got a whole lot easier! If not, don’t worry it’s still possible.  

If you do not have the door to the inside of the projector, look up how to open your specific model of projector on the internet. There will most likely be a number of tutorials on how to access the internal projector on your specific model.  

Once you gain access to the internal LCD projector, it is basically the same as cleaning off the lens, except for the fact that you can’t see it. Put a lens-safe cloth (NOT WET, NO GLASS CLEANER) into the door (or however you access the internal projector). Then you can simply wipe the dust off of the internal projector.  

For this process, as long as you aren’t staring into the lens, you can turn the projector on. This will allow you to see in real time whether or not you are able to wipe off the black spots.  

Fixing a Malfunctioning or Broken DMD chip 

If you’ve wiped off both the lens in the front of the projector and the internal LCD projector inside the machine, and there are still black spots, you may have a more serious problem. Take a look inside. If you don’t see any damage on the LCD projector itself (which may have been caused by overheating, which we will cover below), you probably have a faulty or broken DMD chip.  

This is not a problem you should attempt to solve on your own. Usually this is because once a DMD chip is broken, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible to fix.  

Here are a few things that can help, however.  

Firstly, check to see if your projector is under warranty. This is a normal and semi-common error that happens with projectors so it is often covered by warranties. If your machine is under warranty, simply have it repaired or replaced (whichever the warranty specifies), no questions asked.  

If your projector is not under warranty, this may cost you some money. However, it is best to not only buy the new part, but have it repaired by a professional as well. This is because if you attempt to repair it yourself, you are only digging yourself into a deeper hole if it breaks. Best to have it fixed properly the first time! 

Other than that, there’s unfortunately not much to do about a faulty or malfunctioning DMD chip.  

Overheating: Fixing and Preventing 

Much like damage to the DMD chip, overheating often causes permanent and unfixable damage to your projector. Once crucial parts such as pieces of the DMD chip or internal LCD projector are damaged due to high heat, they cannot be fixed. 

Naturally because of this, you should follow many of the same steps as with the DMD projector damage in order to get it fixed. Check if your projector is under warranty, and have it repaired or replaced by a professional technician.  

However, unlike with damage to your DMD chip, there is easy ways to prevent overheating! This is a problem that oftentimes comes up due to negligence. So, make sure your projector is properly taken care of in order to avoid this problem occurring again in the future.  

Firstly, make sure that your projector’s fan is working. You should hear it when the projector is on. If you do not, check inside to make sure it is working. If the fan isn’t working, don’t use the projector until it is repaired or replaced.  

Next, make sure that your projector is properly ventilated. Every projector should have vents on it, so make sure they are not blocked. Don’t put anything such as books, games, bookends, and other shelf items on top of your projector or against its sides.  

Make sure, if the projector has vents on the bottom, that it is set up on legs or something else that will keep the vent off of a flat surface.  

Look up in the manual or online if your projector has an internal thermometer that will shut it off automatically upon reaching too high of a temperature.  

If this is not the case, you will have to be extra careful of overheating! If the fan is too loud or the projector itself gets too hot (you should check every few hours or so), then stop using it until it is repaired! 


If you have black spots on your projector, understand that this isn’t the end of the world. Stay calm and try to clean the projector’s lens and internal LCD projector as well. Make sure to keep at it, as some dirt, dust, and debris can be awfully hard to get off with the delicacy you’ll want to use on your projector screen.  

If you do have a serious problem, take it to a professional to get it fixed. It is better to not create a more expensive problem for yourself, and instead just play it safe and have it repaired by someone who knows what they’re doing. After all, overheat damage or a broken DMD chip are probably not things you are able to fix on your own.  

So what are you waiting for? If you want to watch your favorite movie any time soon, you’ll have to get rid of those black spots first! 

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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