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Thread: How do you clean controllers and joysticks?

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    Insert Coin (Level 0)
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    Default How do you clean controllers and joysticks?

    The thread on everyone's controller collection has inspired me to ask an important question.

    I'm finding that with my controller collection, some of the devices aren't working as well as they used to, which I believe is simply because they have been locked away in storage, mostly inside (but occasionally in a garage) for a long time. So, in general speaking, what are the best tools and methods you use to clean up these controllers and help restore them to their original working order again?

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    Cherry (Level 1) PSony's Avatar
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    I take them apart and wash all the plastic parts with soap+water.

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    ^^ Me too. I recently tore apart a SNES controller I bought used, and found it was utterly filthy inside. I scrubbed the whole thing down w/ soap & water using an old toothbrush, then went back over it with a little rubbing alcohol to finish the job. For the particularly troubling parts, I used the flat blade of a really small screwdriver (the kind you get in the set you buy to fix eyeglasses) to scrape out the really gunked up spots. I've done that to an N64 controller as well, and it seems to work well. just be careful w/ the rubbery pads that support the D-pad and buttons, as they can easily become cracked or damaged, especially if you use alcohol. I'd recommend being very tender with those pieces. With all the plastic stuff, scrub away!
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    Quote Originally Posted by PSony View Post
    I take them apart and wash all the plastic parts with soap+water.
    This.

    Depending on the grime level (which is usually worse than you thought once you open it up) sometimes I'll soak all the parts, except the actual circuit board, in hot soapy water, then scrub each piece down individually and let air dry, then re-assemble. I'll usually give it a final alcohol and paper towel wipe also.
    Last edited by jperryss; 07-25-2009 at 05:11 PM.

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    With the circuit boards, I tend to use the classic "Q-tip and Rubbing Alcohol" method to the little copper contacts, so they don't have the "ring" of the contact around it or any other grime that has accumulated on it. I tend to do the same thing to the actual rubber contact, it depends on how dirty. I tend to be careful, as MetalFRO said, with doing this. I've had a good run with using alcohol, though *knock on wood*.

    Cleaning the cord with rubbing alcohol gets rid of some nasty stains that I've come across on it.

    Also, i use a toothbrush or toothpick soaked in solution to clean out the plugs at the end of the cord, so the connection is clean .

    Clean controllers = better gaming experience IMHO.

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    Reticulating Splines BetaWolf47's Avatar
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    You may also find it helpful to use an eraser on the circuit board contacts. That salvaged an NES select button for me.
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    never, haha, my controllers never get cleaned, they never seem to get dirty enough to me, plus im lazy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by garagesaleking!! View Post
    never, haha, my controllers never get cleaned, they never seem to get dirty enough to me, plus im lazy.
    this, though occasionally i will get a really dirty one in a lot and scrub it with windex and a paper towel. not gonna bother opening it up.

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    I do like to keep dirt off of the outsides of my controllers, so it looks like a really new controller. Gunk sure seems to gather on controller text.
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    I use to just use rubbing alcohol for the front and back. I also use a toothpick to put in the line that goes around the body of the controller and just scrap all the dirt out. This is surprisingly effective.
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