How To Clean a PS5 Controller


The beauty, that is the PS5 controller is mostly white and will get dirty! That’s a fact! 

If you’ve already got a DuelSense controller you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t managed to get the PS5 console yet, you can use this time to do some prepping for future cleaning! Because, believe me, this controller gets dirty, fast. 

I’m not even sure where all the muck comes from, but it’s there! So let’s figure out how to keep the gadget clean.

How do you clean a PS5 controller? In a nutshell, you need some rubbing alcohol and a couple of microfibre cloths. You simply put some alcohol on the cloth and start rubbing the controller clean. But, I’ve got more juicy details to come, so you’ve gotta read on!

Before you start cleaning let’s identify the key areas that actually need seeing to…

The dirtiest areas on your controller will be:

  • The grip area – this is where sweat and bacteria will be setting up home
  • Thumbsticks/Analog sticks – get ready to remove some rushing around these 
  • Crevices along the edge – such a small area, you wonder how the dirt got in there
  • Ports – the place where anything will go
  • Buttons – the home of all things sticky

Now you know where the dirt’ll be hiding, let’s get to the cleaning! 

How to clean the PS5 controller… 

There are different ways you can clean your PS5 controller, and it all depends on how good of a clean you actually want to do. I’m going to tell you the main method but you can skip to the bits that apply to you.

I won’t tell you how to pull the DualSense controller apart to clean it either, because I need to keep something back for another article.

Here we go…

Method 

What you need… 

You need to get hold of the following cleaning products before you can do a darn good clean of your PS5 controller:

Steps to take…

It’s better to clean your controller slowly and in small steps. This will ensure that you give your PS5 controller a mighty fine clean and that you haven’t forgotten any bits.

  1. Disconnect your PS5 controller – don’t leave anything plugged into it (no charging wires). 
  2. Grab your canned air and start spraying the air over the controller – go over the controller evenly, to begin with.
  3. Point the canned air nozzle towards the ports and squirt the air around the area to push out any dirt.
  4. Next, go along the crevices and push out any dust particles you see. 
  5. Next, go and grab your rubbing alcohol and a microfibre cloth – you might like to consider putting gloves on at this point (in case you get skin irritation from the alcohol). 
  6. Put a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the microfibre cloth – don’t put too much alcohol on the cloth, add more as and when you need it.
  7. Rub the microfibre cloth around the controller’s grip area until the controller is back to its original color – work the alcohol in and don’t rub too vigorously.   
  8. Wipe away excess alcohol if need be, it will dry on its own though.
  9. Repeat point 6 and rub the analog sticks in the same manner – not too rough. 
  10. Move the analog sticks around so that you get into all the small tight areas. 
  11. Wipe away any streaks you see, the alcohol will dry on its own though.
  12. Repeat point 6 and move towards the buttons and the D-pad. 
  13. Gently massage the microfibre cloth around these areas to lift any grime off the surfaces. 
  14. Make sure you wipe off excess alcohol, it will dry on its own though. 
  15. Take hold of the toothpick and clean out the crevices – areas where you couldn’t fit your cloth in. These areas include where the top half of the controller meets the bottom half, around the analog sticks, and in the tight spots around the buttons. 
  16. Wipe away the dirt that you pull out. 
  17. Give your controller a final wipe over. 

This is the main and simplest way to clean a PS5 controller, although there are variations to this method. I’ve covered some alternative routes below. 

Alternative Methods

If you fancy doing something different you can try the following options:

  • Buy a keyboard cleaning gel and use this to clean your PS5 controller
  • Purchase alcohol wipes or baby wipes to clean your DualSense controller – you’d need to follow the steps above, and just replace the rubbing alcohol and microfibre cloth steps with wipes. 
  • Q-tips can also be used to clean controllers – simply exchange the toothpicks with the Q-tips and follow the steps above. Q-tips can also be used to do a deep clean of the buttons, just dip them in rubbing alcohol and start massaging the controller’s buttons. 

If you followed all the steps, you’ve now done a thorough clean. Let’s now check out how to keep your controller clean, so you can spend more time gaming instead of cleaning.

How do you keep your controller clean?

The PS5 controller is mainly white in color, so it’s pretty important to keep it clean. Here are some basic housekeeping tips to make sure you keep your controller clean:

  • Keep a pack of wipes next to your controller – wipe the PS5 controller down when you have finished playing your game, and when you’re putting the controller away.
  • Wash your hands before you start playing a game – that’ll limit the amount of bacteria and general dirt that’ll go onto the controller as you play.
  • Don’t eat and drink around your controller – keep your controller away from sticky snacks, this includes chips! 
  • Make sure you keep your controller in a well-ventilated area – this will prevent dust from getting stuck in the ports.
  • Make a habit of cleaning your PS5 controller – it’s basic hygiene. 
  • If you aren’t a fan of cleaning you could just buy a skin to put over your controller. 
  • Keep your controller off the floor – there’s lots of hair on the floor, and you really need to limit how much hair gets into and onto your controller. 

If you follow half of these tips you’ll have a far cleaner controller than someone who doesn’t bother keeping their PS5 DualSense controller in tip-top condition. 

Conclusion

Cleaning a PS5 controller isn’t really a hard task, but it is something that you need to do regularly. Here’s what I covered in my article:

  • We identified the key areas of the PS5 controller that you’ll actually need to clean.
  • We checked out the main way of cleaning the PS5 controller.
  • We also looked at alternative cleaning methods.
  • And finally, we looked at how to keep your PS5 controller clean.

If you’ve got some solutions of your own, tell us about them in the comments – we’d love to hear from you! 

What next? 

I tipped something sticky on my controller, now the buttons are a bit stiff when I press them. What should I do? To solve this problem grab hold of a Q-tip and soak it in some rubbing alcohol. Gently dab the affected area and start to press the buttons in and out. As you do this the alcohol will start to work its way into the mechanism. Don’t worry the alcohol will dry by itself and won’t affect the electronics. If this doesn’t work, you probably need to get your controller cleaned professionally. 

I’ve heard I can take the back off my controller to clean it, is this a wise choice? Unless you know what you’re actually doing, it’s never a good idea to start opening consoles and controllers up! 

I’ve cleaned my controller but it still doesn’t work, what should I do now? If you’ve performed a thorough clean and your controller is not working correctly it’s time to seek professional help. The problem may not be cleaning-related.

Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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