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The need to clean your gaming gear has never been so apparent

Regardless of if you’re a PC gamer, console gamer, or even a mobile gamer, the chances are that your controllers need a good cleaning.

video gaming controllers sitting on table
Image: Unsplash

Whether it’s PC or console gaming, our hands wring around the controllers for hours on end, often in between or while eating. Strangely, many of us don’t think to regularly clean or even wipe down gaming gear after use.

Having a dirty computer internally wouldn’t stand, especially with malware on the rise across Macs, so why is it acceptable externally? After you’ve seen the statistics, cleaning consoles and PCs may become more of a priority.

Are gaming PCs filthier than consoles?

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You’d be forgiven for thinking that mouse and keyboard aren’t as dirty as a console controller given that an Xbox, PlayStation, or Switch controller makes contact with both full hands. Still, as detailed by PC Mag in its keyboard cleaning guide, it gets loaded with dust and even residual snacks. It’s easy enough to pat away a few crumbs and wipe away built-up dust, but that doesn’t do anywhere enough to sort the problem.

According to the findings of a Betway casino study into the cleanliness of all gaming controllers, PCs were the worst, with around 528 colonies of bacteria across the on switch, keyboard, and mouse. Luckily, there are several ways to cure this, with one of the go-to solutions being the mighty goo. This cleaning gel offers a quick dab fix to clean away a great deal of grub. A more high-tech, reusable option would be an air duster, with one of the most popular right now being the OPOLAR Battery Operated Air Duster.

For the mouse, some gel and an air duster probably won’t do the trick, with the cleansing surface wipes being the better option, especially if they’re Dettol’s biodegradable cleansing surface wipes.

Console controllers still aren’t off the hook

According to VGChartz, there are nearly 100 million current-gen console owners, with 83.95 million on the Nintendo Switch, 7.75 million on the PlayStation 5, and 4.66 million on Xbox Series X|S consoles. This isn’t to mention the tens of millions of gamers still on an Xbox One or PlayStation 4. The issue of dirty controllers is a known one, with Microsoft even detailing how to disinfect Xbox controllers, suggesting the use of disinfectant wipes. Of the big three, Xbox controllers are the cleanest but still have a median of 161 colonies of bacteria.

Next is the Switch’s Joy-Cons, 173 colonies. Showing a drastic increase, though, was the PS4 controller, with some 296 colonies of bacteria across its L1 button, left analog, and right grip. Even if you’re digging into the latest games on the Xbox Game Pass, you’re bound to have a grubby controller that’s in need of a cleaning.

As shown in the video above, the key to cleaning console controllers is having household tools, like cotton swabs and cocktail sticks, to get into the crevasses and lightly applying some rubbing alcohol. In fact, Healthline states that rubbing alcohol is a viable cleaning utensil for your smartphone, which has become the biggest gaming platform of them all.

Regardless of if you’re a PC gamer, console gamer, or even a mobile gamer, the chances are that your controllers need a good cleaning.

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Chris has been blogging since the early days of the internet. He primarily focuses on topics related to tech, business, marketing, and pretty much anything else that revolves around tech. When he's not writing, you can find him noodling around on a guitar or cooking up a mean storm for friends and family.

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