Home Features Please clean your disgusting and dirty old controllers before you move to PS5 and Xbox Series X

Please clean your disgusting and dirty old controllers before you move to PS5 and Xbox Series X

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Like many of you, I’m ready for a new generation of gaming. One that is shiny, new, and comes equipped with some great input devices for playing those games. Also like you, I’m on a budget and there’s pretty much no room in the house to keep old-gen around. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of life left in these consoles though! After six years, they have stacked libraries, the games will be cheaper, and there will be hours of fun to be had for a bargain entry-point price.

Many of you will probably offload your consoles, and that’s great! But please, before you do…clean your damn controllers.

I am 100% guilty of the crime of having Xbox One and PlayStation 4 controllers which are likely home to all manner of disgusting bacteria and who knows what other pathogens I’ve picked up over the last few years. As a professional slacker, I’ve spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours playing games and wrapping my tiny hands around the controllers, injecting them with my epidermis debris and sweat.

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It’s a horrid concoction of sloughed-off skin and fluids, gathered over several years of gaming. I’m…honestly ashamed that I haven’t regularly cleaned my controllers and I’ve resolved to be far more vigilant from now on. I’m probably not alone in this camp, but maybe my wretched hand grime can help convince you to clean your own act up.

At first glance, the controllers look alright:

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And then we start zooming in to see all the filth buried in the seams and crevices:

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These Destiny controller extender sticks I’ve been using since 2017? I’m chucking them into the bin, I’m not even going to bother cleaning them up:

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After six years, my DualShock 4 analogue sticks have less protective rubber than Ken Block’s wheels after a Gymkhana event:

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I used a sewing needles to scoop out all the grime, working my way through the controller seams and the trigger buttons to get all that gunk out, and I’ve sanitised them with industrial-grade cleaning solutions. I also just noticed that the screws were particularly dirty. What was left, was a filthy mine of grime.

But they’re now clean as a whistle, packed away and ready for some other dude to leave his DNA all over the controller. Good luck to that fella, and I pray he never reads this post during the price negotiation for my Xbox One X.

Last Updated: November 4, 2020

27 Comments

  1. I am generally clean i think (but for my mind), I always wash my hands before a decent gaming session. And I always use toothpicks while eating flings and Cheese curls. It was something that brought a lot of entertainment to my wife when she first saw it. When asked why i do it i said it was a habit from when i play games, to keep the controls clean. Now after seeing your filthy control with enough skin on it to make any burn victim get excited for a quick and easy transplant, mine might not be as clean as what i thought. You are disgusting, and more than likely so am I. Lets play together……

    Reply

  2. konfab

    November 4, 2020 at 11:52

    • The D

      November 4, 2020 at 11:55

      Screams into the void

      Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      November 4, 2020 at 12:00

      And then you lick your controller, like a man…On the one hand, you get something in your belly, and on the other you boost your immunity to common pathogens.

      It’s a win/win situation if you ask me.

      Reply

    • For the Emperor!

      November 4, 2020 at 12:00

      I hate it when people do that…I mean all that should be eaten not wasted!

      Reply

      • Mandalorian Jim

        November 4, 2020 at 12:05

        Yeah, don’t take a picture, lick it off… before you hand it back. It’s like common decency and etiquette no longer exist in this post-modernist woke world.

        Reply

    • MechMachine

      November 4, 2020 at 12:05

      Just rinse it under the tap…should work fine after…………….

      Reply

      • Mandalorian Jim

        November 4, 2020 at 12:07

        No, don’t you dare waste cheetos dust. It must be licked off, because there are starving children in Africa.

        😉

        Reply

  3. Yozzie

    November 4, 2020 at 12:05

    Alcohol wipes are your friend. Wrap one around the point of a butter knife to get into the side gaps.

    Reply

    • The D

      November 4, 2020 at 12:05

      This is good advice I will actually make use of. Thanks!

      Reply

      • Jbumi

        November 4, 2020 at 16:08

        Just curious – how did your sticks get in that condition?! I’ve played 10k+ total hours on my PS4 over the years, & the sticks are fine.

        Reply

        • The D

          November 4, 2020 at 16:21

          I play hard, and I win hard.

          But I think this is also an issue stemming from the early days of the PS4. Mine was a launch model, and the analogue sticks were notorious for having flaky rubber before Sony placed some sturdier material on them.

          Reply

          • Jbumi

            November 4, 2020 at 16:21

            Ah, makes sense. Thanks, Mr. Win Hard (better than a Blow Hard)!! ?

    • Mandalorian Jim

      November 4, 2020 at 12:05

      or just use q-tips or even pipe cleaners. Just dip in diluted isopropyl alcohol, and go to town on those little babies.

      Reply

      • Yozzie

        November 4, 2020 at 12:07

        I pop open the Xbox one controller for my PC from time to time and use a q-tip to apply some olive oil to the mechanisms of the triggers for smoother less squeaky pressing.

        Reply

        • Mandalorian Jim

          November 4, 2020 at 12:07

          Olive oil is a little dicey but I can see how it would work. I’ve experimented with a little bit of Q20 – just a tiny dab to lubricate the mechanisms.

          Reply

          • Yozzie

            November 4, 2020 at 14:12

            Same, but I was out of Q20 and I just used olive oil. Worked fine and I have had this controller since release.

        • HvR

          November 5, 2020 at 00:33

          Couple of firearm lubricants are vegetable oil based, in fact in freezing conditions canola oil outperform most mineral oils.

          Only pain with vegetable oils they oxidate over months and them get sticky

          Reply

      • Mandalorian Jim

        November 4, 2020 at 12:07

        the nice thing about pipe cleaners is that you can get in between the grooves, and really clean the gunk out.

        Reply

        • Yozzie

          November 4, 2020 at 12:07

          Googled those pipe cleaners…seems like a pretty darn good thing to have around for degunking controllers.

          Reply

          • Mandalorian Jim

            November 4, 2020 at 12:07

            Works for cleaning the consoles as well, especially clearing and unclogging vents – and then you use some compressed air as well.

      • cloudzn

        November 4, 2020 at 13:47

        That is the way

        Reply

    • BurninZ

      November 4, 2020 at 13:47

      None left after the first hard lock down….. P.S they taste horrible.

      Reply

  4. Original Heretic

    November 4, 2020 at 12:24

    First thing I taught my son about the PlayStation:
    Always wash your hands before playing games!
    Clean hands make for clean controllers.

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      November 4, 2020 at 12:34

      Absolutely, I told my little one the exact same thing, and no eating while playing with dad’s controllers. If you need to eat, put the controller down, and afterwards go wash your hands.

      Reply

  5. justlikemo

    November 4, 2020 at 12:34

    In under 6 months, 2 brand new ps4 controllers were broken by the kids, so they got 2 new shiny, wired controllers, for half the price. Break that kids!

    Reply

  6. TomDobo

    November 4, 2020 at 13:12

    I always wash my hands before using controllers or my mouse and keyboard and i at least clean them up once every couple of weeks.

    Reply

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