Dusty Xbox Controller

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 officialsĀ 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.

Microfiber Towel or Cloth
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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.

70 Percent Isopropyl Alcohol

If you have an older Xbox Wireless Controller or an Xbox Adaptive Controller, Microsoft specifically recommends using Covidienā„¢ Alcohol Prep pads, PDI Sani-ClothĀ® Plus, CaviWipesā„¢, Clorox HealthcareĀ® Bleach Germicidal Wipes, or Total SolutionsĀ® 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.

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Joel Cornell has spent twelve years writing professionally, working on everything from technical documentation at PBS to video game content for GameSkinny. Joel covers a bit of everything technology-related, including gaming and esports. He's honed his skills by writing for other industries, including in architecture, green energy, and education.
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