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How to clean your Xbox or PS4 controller — advice from Microsoft

Xbox PS4 controller
(Image credit: Future Publishing / Contributor)

Pandemic or not, you should be cleaning your Xbox or PS4 controller often. But given the risk during the coronavirus outbreak, you're going to want to be extra careful about not leaving any kind of bacteria on it.

The novel coronavirus, or any bacteria, can live on surfaces for up to 72 hours. If you pick up your gaming controller before washing your hands, then touch your face within that 72-hour period after exposure, you could get infected.

Recently, WindowsCentral reached out to Microsoft about how to best clean Xbox controllers, but the following advice is applicable to most controllers. First, you'll need either regular isopropyl or 70% alcohol cleaning wipes, from brands like Clorox or Lysol. You can also use your own solution with rubbing alcohol and water. Whichever your use, make sure to dab it onto a clean cloth.

First, wash your hands before touch your controller. Wipe everything! Keep in mind that alcohol dries quickly, so pay attention to ensure you get everything, especially the seams between the plastic covers. Owners of the Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 should remove all of the detachable objects before cleaning. And if you intend on cleaning under the battery door, ensure that you dry it off before placing the batteries in.

According to Microsoft, you should avoid scrubbing the Limited Edition controllers and Elite controllers, as they have coatings on them that can get easily damaged if you scrub too hard. And of course, after you're done, let the controller air-dry for a while before you go back to using it.

If you're like me and have sweaty hands, you should probably be doing this regularly anyway. Stay clean and stay safe.