Coronavirus: How to clean your Xbox or PS4 controller, according to Microsoft

Whether you go for PS4, Xbox One or even Nintendo Switch, here's how to keep your gaming environment hygienic

Xbox Elite Series 2
(Image credit: Getty)

Before the coronavirus outbreak, we imagine not many of you have even thought about cleaning your gaming controller. However, we live in interesting times, and whether you play on Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch or Google Stadia, it’s time to start thinking about creating a hygienic gaming environment.  

Bacteria, including the novel coronavirus we’re all worried about, can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours according to recent studies. If you pick up your gaming controller after getting the virus elsewhere, you’ll transmit it onto the controller. If you touch your face during your gaming sessions at any point in the next three days, you increase the likelihood of being infected.

News outlet WindowsCentral spoke to Microsoft on how best to clean Xbox controllers, but the advice is good for any kind of gamepad. As we’ve advised on other cleaning-tech subjects such as smartphones, you’ll need either 70% isopropyl alcohol wipes, such as Clorox or Lysol, or a solution of rubbing alcohol and water which you can dab or spray onto a clean cloth.

Clorox wipes

(Image credit: Clorox)

Wash your hands before getting started. Use the cloth or wipe to gently clean the whole controller, especially raised areas. If you’re creating your own solution of alcohol and water, ensure the cloth you use isn’t soaking wet, as you don’t want droplets to get into the inner workings of the controller. 

Microsoft states (via Windows Central): “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.”

DualShock 4

(Image credit: PlayStation)

Some finishes on premium controllers won’t stand up to persistent scrubbing, so make sure you wipe lightly to avoid stripping these off. Leave the controller to air-dry and you’re done.

If you do this regularly, you’ll keep a clean gamepad and reduce the likelihood of harmful bacteria living on your surfaces.

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Matt Evans

Matt Evans now works for sister brand TechRadar, covering all things relating to fitness and wellness. He came to as staff writer before moving on, and was previously on Men's Health, and slightly counterintuitively, a website devoted to the consumption of Scotch whiskey. In his free time, he could often be found with his nose in a book until he discovered the Kindle.