How to Disinfect Game Controllers and TV Remotes

Fine, I’ll admit it: I have clammy hands.

Okay, I realize that none of you actually asked me that or even wanted to know such a weird factoid about me, but I’ll tell you who else probably didn’t want to know that but was forced to learn: Anyone who has ever played Nintendo with me.

As a lifelong fan of Nintendo, I’ve gone through my fair share of controllers… and (cue weeping emoji) they always get a little sticky from my clammy hands.

Thankfully, though, I no longer have to just hand the controller back to its owner and smile sheepishly — I can now sanitize it for them super easily in a few simple steps.

Why You Need to Disinfect Your Game Controllers and TV Remotes

One of the main areas we collect germs is none other than our hands. Think about it: We’re constantly touching doorknobs that other people’s hands have touched, office and store handles, toilet lids, etc. Then, of course, we touch our phones, our TV remotes, our PlayStation/Xbox/Switch controllers, and more — often without washing our hands first.

Obviously, if our hands are essentially Germ City, it’s imperative to sanitize the stuff we touch. More specifically, we need to be regularly sanitizing (especially during this pandemic!) the things that we touch most often. While many sites suggest cleaning your TV remote once a month and your gaming controllers every few months, we’re going to take it a step further and recommend that how often you sanitize your remotes and controllers depends on how much you use them and how many people are using them. The more often they’re used by you and/or others, the more they need to be sanitized — whether that’s once a week, once a month, or once every couple of months.

The Safest Way to Disinfect Your Controllers and Your TV Remotes

Use the HomeSoap to clean remotes and game controllers

If you have different gaming consoles, you may be asking yourself, “Do different controllers need to be cleaned differently?” First of all, good job on asking such a great question. Secondly, good job to ME for basically being a psychic. Third of all, the short answer to that question is that there are some great one-stop shop options for all controllers, as well as TV remotes.

The safest way to disinfect any controller or remote is with the HomeSoap. (And, as an added bonus, it’s also the easiest way to disinfect literally anything.) Just stick your controllers/remotes into the HomeSoap and turn it on — and just like that, a few minutes later you have a completely disinfected remote, controller, or both. (The HomeSoap is pretty roomy and we’re kind of obsessed with it.)

How to Disinfect Your Remotes and Controllers with Household Items (and Clean Sticky Controllers)

If you’re looking to disinfect and clean your remote or controllers with common household items instead, that’s great too — and we’ve got you covered! Plus, we’ve got good news: It’s REALLY easy and it works well to eliminate any controller stickiness. Here’s what you need:

  • A toothbrush designated for cleaning
  • A cotton swab or two
  • A soft cloth
  • A 50/50 mixture of rubbing alcohol and water (or 70% alcohol and 30% distilled water)

With those items in hand, it’s time to clean your controller or remote. Here’s what you do!

  1. With the toothbrush, gently brush the hard-to-reach spots (i.e., under buttons, joysticks, etc.) and try to dislodge any debris or gunk you see there.
  2. Next, dip your rag in the alcohol mixture and squeeze out any excess liquid so that it’s just damp.
  3. Wipe down the entire controller, concentrating especially on spots with more buildup.
  4. Dip the cotton swab in the alcohol mixture lightly and use it to sanitize any of the spots that the cloth may have missed (like any crevices or under buttons).

Boom! You’re done! You don’t even need to worry about drying it since rubbing alcohol dries so quickly.

Word to the wise: Don’t spray your controller or remote with Lysol or other aerosol sprays, as they can cause issues. Always wipe it down!

How Do I Disinfect My TV?

TV screens are extremely sensitive (be sure not to say any disparaging remarks around them), so you can’t clean them with things like alcohol or all-purpose solutions. (In other words, don’t use any Clorox or Lysol wipes or sprays on your TV!) Instead, all you really need is a microfiber towel to wipe your TV down with. If there are really stubborn spots on it, you can put a little distilled water on the cloth (not directly onto the TV) and use it to wipe the screen down. To sanitize the plastic parts surrounding the screen, you can spray onto a cloth a little Windex or a 50/50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water.

Are There Products Specifically for Disinfecting Electronics?

Two kids using video game controllers

Cleaning products designed specifically to sanitize electronics appear to be pretty few and far between. While Lysol does make electronic wipes, the reviews are mixed and some reviewers complain that the product is ineffective, expensive, and leaves streaks on your electronics. When it comes to sanitizing your products, your best bet is either to use UV light (as found in the HomeSoap) or the alcohol/water mixture detailed above.

Disinfecting your controllers or remotes probably seems a lot more complicated than it is. Truthfully, with the right tools, it’s a cinch! So go forth, TV watchers and gamers, and sanitize away! 

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