If you've had your PS4 for a while now, it may be time that you learned how to clean a PS4 controller. After all, by the time you've played hours and hours worth of games, the combination of sweat, oil from your skin, possible crumbs from comestible goods, dust, and maybe even some spillages, your controller will have taken a bit of punishment.
And nobody wants their controller to break down on them. Most obviously the cost of replacing it is not ideal. But if it starts going wrong when you're at the climax of a titanic battle with an end-of-level boss, or locked in combat in an online contest, you'll wish you'd paid more attention to care and maintenance.
How To Clean A PS4 Controller
The good news is that cleaning your PS4 controller doesn't need to be difficult. We'll run you through the basics of keeping your controller clean. And, hopefully, making sure it lasts as long as possible. Just follow the steps we're about to outline, and keep your DualShock controller in peak condition.
Start With The Big Stuff
We'd never encourage anyone to eat or drink in close proximity to their hardware. It's a recipe for disaster. But, the reality is that snacking and gaming go hand-in-hand. So the chances of crumbs finding their way into your controller are fairly high.
So before getting into the think of it, remove as much of the dust and other detritus as you can. Gently shaking or tapping the controller will dislodge some of it. Alternatively, you can use a can of compressed air. But if you do this, make sure you aim carefully. Make sure you aren't blasting dirt further inside the controller, by pointing the airflow away from the controller.
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Give it a Wipe
Once you've removed as much as you can, your next step is to wipe down your controller. This can easily be done with a baby wipe.
Then it's a question of working your way around your controller, paying particular attention to areas such as the triggers and the joysticks. These will regularly come into contact with sweat and skin oil, so it's important to give these a thorough clean.
If your controller isn't too dirty, then this may be sufficient. And certainly will be once you get into the habit of cleaning regularly.
But if you have a really manky controller, you aren't done yet.
Cotton Buds and Rubbing Alcohol
For dirt that's really baked in, or in particularly difficult-to-reach places, then rubbing alcohol and cotton buds are the next weapon in your armoury. Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the tip of the cotton bud, and work your way around the controller. Focus on areas such as the buttons, and the areas below the joysticks. You can also look at cleaning the ports on the controller.
Once you've finished, let the controller dry. Alcohol will evaporate pretty quickly, so you don't need to use a cloth on it. Unless you've massively overapplied it.
Next, use a toothpick to get any dirt that your cotton bud can't reach. Go around the touchpad, around the buttons, in between the trigger buttons, and under the joysticks. Be gentle though, you don't want to push too hard or you'll risk damaging the controller.
If you want, you can finish with another wet wipe and a bit more compressed air, to get rid of anything that was dislodged during the cleaning process.
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Cleaning the Inside
Some people may want to consider cleaning the inside of their controller, especially if there was some sort of spillage, or if you know there is a lot of dust that might have got in. But if you open your controller, it will void any warranty. So only do this if you know you don't have a warranty, and if you are willing to damage the internal components.
Consider yourselves warned. But if you're going to do it anyway, here's what to do:
Undo the Screws
There are four screws on the rear of the DualShock controller. Gently remove these, and be careful not to strip the screw heads. You'll then need to use a plastic pry tool to separate the body of the controller.
Insert this into the side groove of the joypad and peel it off the rest of the body. Next, you'll need to remove a white ribbon cable that also connects the back part of the controller to the front part.
Take your time with this, as you don't want to break anything.
Removing the Battery
Use a plastic pry tool or a dedicated electrical screwdriver to remove the battery connector from the controller. You can get these in a dedicated electronics repair kit. Gently wiggle the battery to remove it, then unscrew the battery holder that's underneath.
Once this has been removed, you are left with the chipboard. This, along with most of the other internal components, can be removed as a single unit. Do this very carefully, and make sure you disconnect the blue ribbon cable at the top of the chipboard.
Having pulled apart your controller, it's up to you how much you want to do. Some people may like to strip every component, including removing the buttons and analog sticks. Others may prefer to be less thorough.
Whatever your preference, cotton buds and a small amount of rubbing alcohol are the way to go on each of those components (but not the chip board). Make sure the alcohol has dried fully before reassembling the controller.
As we said earlier, this is very thorough, and for most people, probably unnecessary. There's also a considerable risk of damaging your controller. So only do it if you are prepared to take that risk. And now you know how to clean a PS4 controller.