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

2 min read

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.


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:


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


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:


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


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

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