Think about it. Everybody, even guests, pets and children touch and slobber all over the remote controls as they sit on the couch, floors, and tables. You should clean it regularly to keep your family members from getting sick, and to keep from getting sick yourself.
Cleaning the remote is a relatively easy task. However, you have to be extremely careful with it so that you do not damage the battery contacts or the circuits. If you do, basically, it will stop working. Then you’ll have to leave the comforts of the couch every time you want to change the channel or turn the volume up, just like back in 1985.
There are two kinds of cleaning you can do: a quick surface cleaning or a more in-depth cleaning of the inside of the remote as well as the outside. They break down as follows.
Deep Cleaning a Remote Control
Warning: this is not for the squeamish! Scroll down for a less invasive method.
1. Take the remote apart
Sure, it is always fun to take things apart, but again, use extreme caution when doing so. First, open the battery compartment and take out the batteries. Then take a screwdriver and remove all of the screws that are holding the remote together. Put them in a safe place, such as bowl, so that you don’t lose them – and stick the batteries in there as well.
With the screws removed, the remote should come apart pretty easily. You can use a flathead screwdriver or knife to gently separate the two halves if it doesn’t just fall apart. If the device won’t come apart even from a gentle prying, double check to make sure there aren’t any screws still in the remote that you have overlooked.
2. Separate the buttons from the circuit board
It should be very easy to tell these two sections of the remote apart. Put the buttons to the side for now and place the circuit board on a clean and dry surface. If no such surface is available, place it on a paper towel.
3. Clean the circuit board
The key to cleaning the circuit board is to use the right cleaning solution. You absolutely do not want to use water unless you really want an excuse to purchase a new remote control. Instead, use either rubbing alcohol or a commercial contact cleaner, which you can find at most electronics stores.
Either spray the contact cleaner on the circuit board or use a cotton swab to gently wipe off any gunk with the rubbing alcohol. Be sure your swab is intact and that no fuzz ends up on the circuit board.
You shouldn’t need to dry the circuit board since the cleaning solution should evaporate on its own.
4. Clean the buttons
To clean the buttons on the remote, you can use a mixture of dish soap for hand washing and water, or you can stick with the rubbing alcohol. If you decide to go with the dish soap mixture, add about a teaspoon of dish soap to two cups of water and mix them together in a bowl until you get a uniform solution.
You can scrub the keypad with a cotton swab or an old toothbrush. Once you’re done scrubbing, let the buttons air dry or wipe them with a handkerchief, old t-shirt or microfiber cloth so that you don’t end up with lint inside your remote.
5. Put the remote back together
When everything is dry, gently stick the remote back together and put the screws back in. Then follow the steps below for the quick surface cleaning.
How to Quickly Clean a Remote
Note: If you still have the batteries in the remote, remove them at this time.
1. Clean the area around the buttons
Use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to gently clean the crevices surrounding the buttons on your remote control. (It may take several swabs to get this area completely clean). Use a toothpick to extract any gunk from the seam between the two halves of the remote, but be certain that it does not break off and fall inside the remote. If it does, you’re stuck with going to the in-depth cleaning method.
2. Wipe the rest of the remote
Using a lint-free cloth, as described in step four above, wipe down the remainder of the remote with the rubbing alcohol (or use an electronics cleaning wipe). Make sure to get both the top, bottom and sides of the remote as well as the inside of the battery compartment. Use the cotton swab for any areas that the cloth can’t reach easily.
*Make sure the battery compartment is dry before you put the batteries back in.
3. Put the batteries back in
And you’re done. Now wasn’t that easy?
Can you clean a remote in the dishwasher?
Kaman25, a contributor to funadvice.com, advocates using the dishwasher to clean your remote, citing that you can run it through the wash cycle on the top rack as long as you take the batteries out first. We don’t recommend this approach, the water can damage the internals and the heat can melt the plastic.
Keeping your remote clean
Well, it’s easy to keep your remote control clean if you throw it in a drawer and don’t use it. But that pretty much will defeat its purpose as a remote. Other than that, you’ll just have to clean it every week or so, though you don’t need to tackle it with the in-depth method much, unless your remote quits functioning normally or you spill some Diet Coke on it.