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How to sanitize your xbox controllers

@vrothgarr
June 13, 2020, 9:00am EDT

Xbox controllers of every variety will gather dirt, germs, and much more over time. While certain solutions will work on some controllers, most disinfectant wipes shouldn’t be used on Xbox One and Xbox Elite controllers.

You’ll know when your Xbox controllers are in dire need of a good cleaning, as they may begin to malfunction. Buttons can stick, joysticks can degrade, and so much more. Generally speaking, it’s always important to both clean and sanitize all of your controllers regularly, and keep them from getting filthy in the first place.

Keep in mind that these tactics can help disinfect and kill germs, but they are not proven to be effective when fighting pathogens and viruses like COVID-19. Refer to your local public health officials for authoritative guidelines on how to keep yourself safe.

The best tool for cleaning and sanitizing your Xbox controllers will be a microfiber cloth, although anything that is soft and lint-free will work. Paper towels, for instance, aren’t ideal because they can leave tiny particles behind. You can find these microfiber cloths for a fair price in most online or physical stores that sell cleaning products. Go ahead and stock up, as these cloths can always be cleaned, disinfected, and reused.

How to sanitize your xbox controllersWitsanu Keephimai/Shutterstock

It’s important to note which cleaning solutions work best, and even more important to note which cleaning solutions you shouldn’t use. Disinfectant and germicidal wipes should not be used on any Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, or Xbox Elite controllers. For these controllers, you should use isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solutions that are concentrated at 70% or less. These solutions are often sold at concentrations up to 99%, so inspect the bottle to make sure it isn’t too concentrated.

How to sanitize your xbox controllersHelen89/Shutterstock

If you have an older Xbox Wireless Controller or an Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft specifically recommends using Covidien™ Alcohol Prep pads, PDI Sani-Cloth® Plus , CaviWipes™, Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Wipes, or Total Solutions® Disinfectant Wipes . Again, these wipes should not be used on most Xbox One or Xbox Elite controllers.

Never submerge your controller fully in any liquid, and do your best to keep any openings like the headphone jack as dry as possible. Make sure to check every nook and cranny on your controller, and always remember to wash your hands.

Sanitizing isn’t cleaning, but both are super important when it comes to keeping yourself, your friends, and your family safe from germs and cheese ball dust alike.

How to sanitize your xbox controllersSource: Windows Central

We live in strange times, with many of us spending more time at home indoors than we might like. Either way, we’re all adapting to new habits, which include cleaning and sanitizing stuff more than we may do usually. Coronavirus (COVID-19) is known to pass on through hand contact and is capable of remaining alive on surfaces, such as video game controllers, for at least a few hours. If you’re sharing controllers a lot, it might be worth looking into cleaning them a bit more often than usual. Cleaning controllers is relatively straight forward, but there are some pitfalls to avoid worth knowing for Xbox controllers (and others) before giving it a go. We spoke with some sources at Microsoft for advice.

Products used in this guide

  • Cleaning wipes: Isopropyl/70 percent Alcohol wipes
  • Cleaning spray: VEO Active-Priobiotics Spray

What you’ll need

Again, cleaning tech and making it free of bacteria is easy and straight forward. All you need is regular isopropyl or 70 percent alcohol cleaning wipes, such as Clorox and Lysol. There are also plenty of other similar options if these aren’t in stock, such as the VEO Active spray we’ve linked up here. If you can’t find the pre-moistened wipes due to stock shortages, grabbing some rubbing alcohol or solution and dabbing it into a cloth is another option, just ensure to keep the chemicals away from younglings. It can smell quite strong too in some cases, so if you’re not used to using those types of solutions, be sure to make sure you’re in a well-ventilated space, with a window open for example.

What to avoid

We spoke to a few people at Microsoft to get some information on how best, and how best NOT to clean your controllers. The standard, basic Xbox controllers have no coating on them whatsoever, but some of the limited edition ones have intricate painted designs. The Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 and some other similar controllers have a soft coating on them too, and you can feel it to the touch if you do a side-by-side with a standard, non-coated controller.

If you have a painted or coated Elite controller, do not scrub the controllers and risk damaging the outer layer. There’s no need to scrub the standard ones either, simple swipes and dabs with appropriately moistened cloths and wipes should be more than enough.

Xbox controller cleaning tips

How to sanitize your xbox controllersSource: Windows Central

These are some best practices for controller cleansing, from Microsoft and the folks at Windows Central.

  • Wash your hands before getting started.
  • Alcohol type mists dry relatively quickly, so you’ll want to pay attention to where you’ve cleaned to ensure you get it thoroughly sanitized.
  • Be sure to clean all over, paying attention to the seams between the different plastic covers.
  • If you’re using an Elite Controller Series 2, you may want to detach the joysticks, d-pad, and paddles before cleaning, as to not knock them off and lose them accidentally.
  • If you go as far as cleaning under the battery door, be sure to let it dry fully before putting the batteries back in.
  • Again, avoid scrubbing too hard. Limited Edition controllers and Elite controllers have coatings on them that can be damaged if going at the finish too hard.
  • When you’re done, let the controllers dry completely before use.

Cleaning essentials

It can be tough to find cleaning products that are actually in stock right now, and you may have more luck grabbing some Clorox or Lysol wipes from a local grocery store during your regular food supply run (while observing social distancing rules and being generally careful, of course.)

Clean ’em up

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Alcohol wipes

Alcohol is one of my favorite chemicals, and it turns out it’s pretty great at killing coronavirus hiding on surfaces, without damaging your products.

Spray option

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

VEO Active-Probiotics All Purpose Cleaner Spray

Spray this VEO mist into a cloth and gently dab your Xbox to cleanliness.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

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How to sanitize your xbox controllers

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How to sanitize your xbox controllers

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Here’s how to clean the Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers so that they’re pristine and not embarrassing the next time you have friends or family over to play a game.

Keeping your Xbox controller clean is important. Sure, both consoles have a Kinect sensor that allows them to interpret hand gestures and voice commands, but it’s the controller that millions of users still pick up when they want to play games like Madden NFL 25 or the latest Call of Duty game. Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners with their Xbox controllers. Naturally that’s going to leave some wear and tear. Because we all sweat when playing a game or holding anything in our hands, it’s likely that your Xbox controller will look a bit rough after all, particularly if it’s the Xbox 360 controller.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Before we begin, you’re going to need a few things. Both the Xbox One and Xbox 360 controllers have tons of tiny cracks and crevasses that are going to be incredibly hard to get into. In order to get the dirt out of those areas, you’re going to need something flat and playable like a business card. In fact, you’re going to need five or six of them.

You’ll also want a paper towel to knock of any dust build-up. Moist towels wouldn’t hurt either, but as long as you can dampen your paper towels you shouldn’t need to make a special trip out to purchase those if you don’t have them on hand.

Cleaning the Xbox 360 Controller

If you have a white Xbox 360 controller, and anyone who purchased the console between 2005 and around 2010 should, you already know how nasty and unattractive Xbox controllers can get.

Remove the Xbox 360 controller’s batteries by pressing the button on the battery compartment at the top-rear. Set it aside.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Take your flat piece of paper or business card and run it along the cracks that separate different parts of the Xbox 360 controller. You don’t just want the edge of your business card to be inside the controller. Start at one end and work your way around every crack in the Xbox 360 controller that you see. Over time, dirt builds up in here. As you run the card around you’ll notice dirt falling out of the controller. You may need three or four different business cards before you’ve gotten into every crack.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Now take your finger and move both joysticks around to see if there’s dirt underneath on their sides.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Run the business card around the outer edges of the D-Pad, trigger and bumper buttons. Again. Dig in deep to get all that dirt out of the cracks.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Take the moist towel or wipe you have and wipe the entire surface of the controller off. Then let it dry.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Now put the batteries back into your Xbox 360 controller and you’re good to go.

Cleaning the Xbox One Controller

Those with an Xbox One controller to clean are going to do most of the same things, but in a different way.

First, remove the battery pack from your Xbox One controller by pushing up on the battery cover on the back.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Now remove the batteries or charger pack from the Xbox One Controller.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Take your business card and begin by scraping along the edges of the Xbox One controller’s directional pad to remove any dust or dirt.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Now take your business card and clean the inside edge of the left and right joysticks. If you’ve had your Xbox One a while then a thin layer of dirt may already be collecting inside the edges.

Take the business card and run it along the crack separating the front and back of the Xbox One controller. Be sure to run it along every crack you see, except the rectangular port at the bottom.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Run the business card along the top edge of the Xbox One controller. Be sure to get inside those cracks and the Xbox One logo and power button if you can.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Now take a damp towel or moist towelette and wipe the entire surface of the Xbox One controller.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Put the batteries that you took out of the Xbox One controller back into the Xbox One controller and replace the battery cover.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Now that you’ve cleaned your controller, it’s important to remember that maintenance is key. If you don’t keep your Xbox One or Xbox 360 controller fresh, you could find yourself spending another 10 to 20 minutes trying to get built-up dirt and gunk off of it.

Also, remember that presentation isn’t the only reason you want to keep your Xbox controller clean. Dirt and dust could build up around each controller’s buttons, making them slower to react to your button presses. If you think your Xbox 360 controller is too far gone to be cleaned you can always pick up another. Today, a standard wireless controller for the Xbox 360 costs $49.99 at retailers like GameStop. The Xbox One’s controller costs $54.99.

Warframe

Many free-to-play games revolve around strategy or civilization building. Warframe is one of the free Xbox games that you can download now that doesn’t. It’s a third-person shooter.

The Tenno have just awoken after centuries of sleeping in stasis. Warframe takes its name from the suits that the Tenno use to do battle with the game’s other races. There’s the Greiner, who are clones of humans. The Corpus belong to a technology company with lots of robotic innovation at their disposal. Sentients consist of an alien race that’s back to do battle.

Warframe features both player-vs-player combat and a single player experience.

During the pandemic, video games are more vital than ever to our mental health ( and we aren’t just saying that ). And as more people are playing video games than ever , controllers are a focal point at many parties and family gatherings—which is why it’s important to regularly clean your controllers and other shared gaming hardware.

Whether it needs a disinfecting wipe down or it’s time for a deeper routine cleaning, here’s how to safely clean your gaming controllers. Though we’re focusing on console controllers , you can use the same strategies to clean your keyboard and mouse, portable devices like a Nintendo Switch, and VR headsets and peripherals.

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First step: wash your hands (or wear gloves). Then make sure everything is disconnected and properly turned off to prevent shock or electrical damage. Unplug any charging cables or headphones wires from your PlayStation or Xbox controllers. If you’re cleaning a Nintendo Switch, remove the Joy-Cons, turn off the system, and take out the game cartridge. For VR headsets, power down the headset and controllers, then unplug all cables.

With everything turned off and disconnected, the next step is to wipe down your controllers with a safe disinfectant. The key here is to use a solution that is strong enough to disinfect but won’t damage the device, but the right product will depend on what you’re cleaning.

Screens—such as the Nintendo Switch’s display, your TV, a smartphone screen, or a VR headset’s lenses—should not be cleaned with alcohol or cleaners like Windex, as these will damage the glass. Use a dry microfiber cloth to clear away smudges and dust on the controllers or system body, and be sure to remove your Switch’s Joy-Cons before disinfecting (the Switch Lite’s controllers can’t be removed, so use extra caution to avoid touching the screen when wiping the console down with cleaners).

On controllers, use non-abrasive disinfectant products. Nintendo’s official support page suggests using products with no more than 70% alcohol on the Switch’s Joy-Con controllers, and that’s a safe ratio for most other gaming peripherals as well . Most disinfectant wipes are safe to use, but make sure you check any liquid cleaners you’re using, and definitely don’t submerge your controllers or accessories in water.

After using the disinfectant wipe, let the controller rest for about 10 minutes before fully drying with a dry microfiber towel.

Whether your Xbox One controller has collected dust from weeks in a cabinet or is covered in fingerprints from frequent use, it’s easy to clean it using a dry cloth.

To clean the outside of your Xbox One controller, use a microfiber cloth to remove fingerprints, dirt, and other smudges. This should also remove much of the dust that often collects atop electronic devices, especially those stored on shelves or under TV stands for long periods of time.

Microsoft does not recommend attempting to open your gaming controller, and urges you to seek professional assistance for any internal repairs. Additionally, Microsoft warns against using any type of liquid cleaner, as even careful use can result in moisture collecting inside your controller.

Here’s how to quickly clean your Xbox One controller, and the materials you’ll need to do so.

Check out the products mentioned in this article:

Xbox One X (From $499.99 at Best Buy)

How to clean your Xbox One controller

1. Start by removing any grips on your controller. Make sure you’ve unplugged your device if it’s charging before cleaning at this time.

2. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the entire exterior. These are often the same as lens cloths used for eye glasses. Other versions for cleaning are called dust cloths.

3. Use the cloth to clean the entire controller. Use circular motions to rub off fingerprints or smudges.

4. If you notice dust in the buttons or ports of your controller you can also carefully use a can of compressed air to remove any additional build-up. These cans can be purchased in both cheaper or more expensive varieties. Regardless of which type you use, use short bursts to remove any dust from the charging ports.

Xbox controllers of every variety will gather dirt, germs, and much more over time. While certain solutions will work on some controllers, most disinfectant wipes shouldn’t be used on Xbox One and Xbox Elite controllers.

You’ll know when your Xbox controllers are in dire need of a good cleaning, as they may begin to malfunction. Buttons can stick, joysticks can degrade, and so much more. Generally speaking, it’s always important to both clean and sanitize all of your controllers regularly, and keep them from getting filthy in the first place.

Keep in mind that these tactics can help disinfect and kill germs, but they are not proven to be effective when fighting pathogens and viruses like COVID-19. Refer to your local public health officials for authoritative guidelines on how to keep yourself safe.

RELATED: How to Clean and Disinfect All Your Gadgets

The best tool for cleaning and sanitizing your Xbox controllers will be a microfiber cloth, although anything that is soft and lint-free will work. Paper towels, for instance, aren’t ideal because they can leave tiny particles behind. You can find these microfiber cloths for a fair price in most online or physical stores that sell cleaning products. Go ahead and stock up, as these cloths can always be cleaned, disinfected, and reused.

How to sanitize your xbox controllersWitsanu Keephimai/Shutterstock

It’s important to note which cleaning solutions work best, and even more important to note which cleaning solutions you shouldn’t use. Disinfectant and germicidal wipes should not be used on any Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, or Xbox Elite controllers. For these controllers, you should use isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solutions that are concentrated at 70% or less. These solutions are often sold at concentrations up to 99%, so inspect the bottle to make sure it isn’t too concentrated.

How to sanitize your xbox controllersHelen89/Shutterstock

If you have an older Xbox Wireless Controller or an Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft specifically recommends using Covidien™ Alcohol Prep pads, PDI Sani-Cloth® Plus , CaviWipes™, Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Wipes, or Total Solutions® Disinfectant Wipes . Again, these wipes should not be used on most Xbox One or Xbox Elite controllers.

Never submerge your controller fully in any liquid, and do your best to keep any openings like the headphone jack as dry as possible. Make sure to check every nook and cranny on your controller, and always remember to wash your hands.

RELATED: How to Safely Clean Your Nasty Game Controllers

Sanitizing isn’t cleaning, but both are super important when it comes to keeping yourself, your friends, and your family safe from germs and cheese ball dust alike.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Xbox controllers of every variety will gather dirt, germs, and much more over time. While certain solutions will work on some controllers, most disinfectant wipes shouldn’t be used on Xbox One and Xbox Elite controllers.

You’ll know when your Xbox controllers are in dire need of a good cleaning, as they may begin to malfunction. Buttons can stick, joysticks can degrade, and so much more. Generally speaking, it’s always important to both clean and sanitize all of your controllers regularly, and keep them from getting filthy in the first place.

Keep in mind that these tactics can help disinfect and kill germs, but they are not proven to be effective when fighting pathogens and viruses like COVID-19. Refer to your local public health officials for authoritative guidelines on how to keep yourself safe.

The best tool for cleaning and sanitizing your Xbox controllers will be a microfiber cloth, although anything that is soft and lint-free will work. Paper towels, for instance, aren’t ideal because they can leave tiny particles behind. You can find these microfiber cloths for a fair price in most online or physical stores that sell cleaning products. Go ahead and stock up, as these cloths can always be cleaned, disinfected, and reused.

How to sanitize your xbox controllersWitsanu Keephimai/Shutterstock

It’s important to note which cleaning solutions work best, and even more important to note which cleaning solutions you shouldn’t use. Disinfectant and germicidal wipes should not be used on any Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X, or Xbox Elite controllers. For these controllers, you should use isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solutions that are concentrated at 70% or less. These solutions are often sold at concentrations up to 99%, so inspect the bottle to make sure it isn’t too concentrated.

How to sanitize your xbox controllersHelen89/Shutterstock

If you have an older Xbox Wireless Controller or an Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft specifically recommends using Covidien™ Alcohol Prep pads, PDI Sani-Cloth® Plus , CaviWipes™, Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Germicidal Wipes, or Total Solutions® Disinfectant Wipes . Again, these wipes should not be used on most Xbox One or Xbox Elite controllers.

Never submerge your controller fully in any liquid, and do your best to keep any openings like the headphone jack as dry as possible. Make sure to check every nook and cranny on your controller, and always remember to wash your hands.

Sanitizing isn’t cleaning, but both are super important when it comes to keeping yourself, your friends, and your family safe from germs and cheese ball dust alike.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

After you’ve had your Xbox One console for a while, you’ll probably notice that it starts to get dusty. Dust can easily build up, and cause a problem down the line. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to cleaning your Xbox One. Here’s what to do — and what not to do — to keep your console shiny and clean!

Dust cloth

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

When it comes to cleaning your Xbox One, your very best friend is a dust cloth. That’s because as long as you keep the exterior clean and dust free, you shouldn’t ever have to clean out the inside of your console. A dust cloth lets you grab most of the dust that can accumulate on your system.

All you need to do is run the dust cloth over the outside of your system. This includes the top, bottom, sides, and ports. Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve wiped down your Xbox One you may need to clean off the cloth a few times, but for the most part this method will get the job done.

Compressed air

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned out your Xbox One, then you might notice that there is dust everywhere. On the top and sides of your console, as well as in all of the grates. While a dust cloth can easily deal with everything on the outside of your console, if you’ve got dust inside your grates you’ll need to go a slightly different route.

Thankfully it isn’t hard to go ahead and clean out the dust inside those grates. All you’ll need is a can of compressed air. Using the detail nozzle, use short directed sprays to clean the dust out. This should only take a few minutes, and you’ll be able to see when the dust has evacuated the area. Canned air is also useful for getting into all of the ports along the back of the Xbox One. These can easily collect dust, but they’re hard to get into with a cloth (and you’ll probably end up leaving behind lint or shreds of paper towel if you do).

Of course, in doing this you’ll be kicking a bunch of dust into the air, and inevitably that’s going to settle back on your Xbox. So give it a few minutes and then come back with the dusting cloth and give it a quick wipe down.

Avoid damp wipes

Now plenty of folks use wipes doused in cleaning chemicals (or even a bit of water) to clean just about every surface in their homes, from countertops to windows to TV screens. Most of that’s fine. Do not use them on your Xbox One. Specifically this is because your Xbox One is covered in vents, and you don’t want moisture of any kind to seep in there. Really, you shouldn’t use these on any electronics — TV and Xbox included.

In general, you should avoid using anything that is wet since it has the capacity to screw up your console. Liquid + electrical components = bad time. By sticking with the combo of a dust cloth, and compressed air you should be able to easily clean out your Xbox without accidentally causing any damage to it.

Cleaning your controllers

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

While getting your console clean and shiny again only takes a few minutes, it’s also worthwhile to go ahead and clean off your controllers on a regular basis as well. It easy for dirt, grime, and germs to multiply on your controller without you even realizing.

You can clean your controller using the same methods that you use on your main console. A dust cloth can clean off smudges, and grab at any detritus caked around the buttons or analog sticks. If dust is an issue, then you can use some compressed air to clean out the ports at the top and bottom of the controller.

Tempting as it may be to just take a damp cloth and run it over the body of the controller, you still want to avoid this. Moisture getting in and close to the electronic components inside the controller can cause issues nobody wants the hassle of dealing with.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

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How to sanitize your xbox controllers

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How to sanitize your xbox controllers

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Xbox controllers from each range will receive dirt, germs and much more extras over time. While it is certain that the solutions will work on some controllers, the maximum disinfectant wipes will be improved on Xbox One and Xbox Elite controllers.

When your Xbox controllers are in dire need of a good cleaning, they know that they will start to malfunction. Buttons may stick, joysticks can be dislocated, and much more. In general, it is important to both clean and clean all of your controllers regularly, and keep them from getting dirty in the first place.

Keep these ideas in mind that these germs can help kill and kill germs, but they no longer demonstrate to be potent in fighting pathogens and viruses such as COVID-19

The quality device for cleaning and sanitizing your Xbox controllers will be a microfiber cloth, even if it is anything but soft and lint-unfitted pictures. Paper towels, for example, are considered ideal due to the fact that they can leave small debris behind. You can find those microfiber clothes for maximum reasonable prices on line or physical stores that promote cleaning products. Go beforehand and stock up, as those clothes can usually be cleaned, disinfected, and reused.

How to sanitize your xbox controllers

Microfiber towel or cloth

Cleanliness is the key to the word that responds to great pictures, and even more important is which solution you can use. Disinfectant and disinfectant wipes should not be used on any Xbox One, Xbox One S, Xbox One X or Xbox Elite controller. For these controllers, you should use isopropyl alcohol (IPA) solutions that can be concentrated at 70% or less. These solutions are routinely purchased in concentrations of 99%, so inspect the bottle to ensure that it is very highly concentrated.

70 percent isopropyl alcohol

If you have found an older Xbox wireless controller or an Xbox adaptive controller, Microsoft specifically offers Covidien ™ Alcohol Prep Pads, PDI Sani-Cloth® Plus, CaviWipes ™, Clorox Healthcare® Bleach Disinfectant Wipes, or Total Solution® Disinfectant Wipes. Recommends to use. Again, those wipes should not be used on most Xbox One or Xbox Elite controllers.

Never completely submerge your controller in any liquid, and do your best to hold any openings such as a headphone jack as much as possible. Be sure to check every nook and cranny for your controller, and be constantly mindful of cleaning your hands.