How to Properly Clean Your PS4 Controller

Keeping your PlayStation 4 controller clean and in good condition can be a challenging task, especially with sweaty palms, crumbs, and dust constantly building up. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of cleaning both the outside and inside of your PS4 controller. Whether you simply need to wipe down the surface or take it apart for a thorough clean, we’ve got you covered. However, it’s important to note that opening your controller may void any warranty, so proceed at your own risk.

Cleaning the Outside of Your PS4 Controller

Removing Crumbs and Dust

Before diving into the detailed cleaning process, it’s best to remove any loose crumbs and surface dust from your PS4 controller. Start by using a can of compressed air to blow away any debris. However, be cautious while using compressed air around the controller’s crevices, as it can push crumbs deeper into the device. It’s crucial to direct the air stream away from the controller to prevent this from happening. Although this step may seem insignificant, it sets the stage for a more thorough cleaning process by eliminating larger particles.

Wiping Down the Controller

Now that you’ve removed crumbs and dust, it’s time to sanitize the surface of your controller. Baby wipes are the ideal tool for this job, but if you don’t have any, a microfiber cloth works too. In that case, combine equal parts water and isopropyl alcohol, then lightly dampen the cloth. Make sure to use a microfiber cloth or a similar material, as paper towels may leave your controller looking dirtier than before.

With your chosen cleaning tool in hand, carefully wipe down the controller. Pay close attention to the area under the triggers, as this is typically where most dirt accumulates. Remember, this step mainly focuses on cleaning the controller’s surface rather than reaching every nook and cranny. For controllers that aren’t heavily soiled, a simple wipe down and using compressed air should suffice. However, for more stubborn dirt, additional attention to detail is necessary.

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Tackling the Smaller Details

After giving the controller a general sweep, it’s time to address the smaller and dirtier details. For this stage, set aside water and instead opt for isopropyl alcohol, cotton swabs, and toothpicks. Isopropyl alcohol is non-conductive, so if it accidentally gets inside the controller, it won’t cause any electrical issues.

Begin by saturating a cotton swab with isopropyl alcohol and carefully clean the face buttons and the area beneath the thumbsticks. Allow the controller to dry naturally after completing this step, as alcohol evaporates quickly. Before discarding the cotton swabs, soak a new one in alcohol and gently clean the micro USB, headphone, and EXT ports on the controller. Be cautious while doing this to avoid leaving cotton fibers inside the ports.

Once everything is dry, use dry toothpicks to remove any remaining dirt from the creases of the controller. Pay attention to areas like the touchpad, the trigger gaps, and where the controller body meets. You can also use a toothpick to clean the speaker grille on the front, but be careful not to push any trapped debris further inside.

With all the debris removed, you’ll be surprised by how much oil from your hands builds up on the controller. To finish up, give the entire controller a final wipe down with a baby wipe and pass a can of compressed air over it. For most people, this should be sufficient. However, if there is still grime inside the controller, you’ll need to move on to the next step.

Cleaning the Inside of Your PS4 Controller

Removing the Screws

Opening your controller comes with the risk of voiding the warranty, so proceed at your own discretion. However, if you’re confident in your abilities, the process isn’t too difficult. Start by using a small Phillips head screwdriver to carefully remove the four screws on the back of the controller. These screws are delicate, so be extra cautious not to strip them. It’s advisable to keep them in a magnetic parts tray to avoid losing them.

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In addition to the screws, the controller’s body is held together by plastic tabs. After removing the screws, insert a plastic pry tool into the side groove of the controller and slowly separate it from the rest of the body. Take your time during this step, as there is a white ribbon cable connecting the back of the controller to the rest of the body. Gently remove that cable using the plastic pry tool.

Removing the Battery

Now that you’ve accessed the inside of the controller, disconnect the power cable to remove the battery. Use a plastic pry tool to carefully peel the battery away from the adhesive strip. Avoid using a screwdriver for this task, as it may create a circuit with the metal tip and cause damage. Handle the battery delicately, wiggling it until it comes loose. Take note that there is one screw securing the battery holder on the back of the board. Remove this screw and keep it in your tray along with the battery holder. Lift up the board, analog sticks, triggers, rumble motors, and touchpad as a single unit. This middle section is essentially the heart of the controller, so handle it with care. Pay attention to the ribbon cable that connects the touchpad and remove it to fully detach the middle section.

Cleaning the Inner Components

At this stage, you should be left with the front and back sections of the controller, along with all the buttons. Use the cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol method mentioned earlier to clean the inside components. Ensure everything is completely dry before proceeding with reassembly. While cleaning the plastic shell, it’s advisable to use isopropyl alcohol instead of water to prevent any moisture from damaging the electronics.

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Congratulations! You’ve successfully cleaned your PS4 controller, inside and out. Remember to reassemble the controller carefully, following the reverse order of the disassembly steps. If you encounter any difficulties during the process, it might be best to consult a professional technician.

For more information on PlayStation-related topics, check out the OnSpec Electronic, Inc. website.


Properly cleaning and maintaining your PS4 controller is crucial for ensuring its longevity and performance. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can remove dirt, dust, and grime that accumulate over time. From basic wipe downs to more intensive internal cleaning, you now have the knowledge to keep your PS4 controller in great shape for all your gaming adventures.

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