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 comfort 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.
How to Quickly Clean a Remote
You Will Need:
- Dish liquid
- Cotton swabs
- A toothpick
- A lint-free cloth
- White vinegar
Steps to Quickly Clean a Remote:
- Remove the batteries from the remote.
- Clean the area around the buttons.
– Mix some dish liquid in water to make suds, then dip a cotton swab in the soapy water and blot it on a cloth to remove the excess fluid. It is important to blot off the excess fluid so that it does not drip into the remote electronics while you clean.
– Use the cotton swab 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.
- Wipe the rest of the remote.
– Using a lint-free cloth, wipe down the remainder of the remote with either the soapy water or with a mixture of one part white vinegar in two parts water. Soapy water is best for cleaning off debris and sticky gunk, whereas vinegar works better for killing bacteria and germs. Both will work well for cutting through the oily residue that is deposited by your fingers.
– 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.
- Put the batteries back in.
– And you’re done. Now wasn’t that easy?
Deep Cleaning a Remote
Warning: this is not for the squeamish!
You Will Need:
- A Phillips-head screwdriver
- A flat-head screwdriver or knife
- A bowl
- A paper towel
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cotton swabs
- Dish liquid or white vinegar
Steps to Deep Clean a Remote:
- 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 flat-head 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.
- 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.
- 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 quickly.
- Clean the buttons.
– To clean the buttons on the remote, you can use a mixture of dish liquid and water, or you can use a mixture of one part white vinegar and two parts water. Do not use the rubbing alcohol that you used for the circuit board because it can remove the ink writing on the buttons, as well as cause the rubber to dry out and deteriorate.
– 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 if needed. 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.
- 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.
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.
Can you use Clorox Wipes to clean a remote?
Using Clorox wipes on a remote control is not a good idea because the chlorine bleach can cause the rubber buttons to deteriorate over time. However, for a cleaning after being sick when you really need to disinfect the remote, it will probably be fine as long as you wipe the remote with a damp cloth afterward to remove the bleach residue.
Keeping your Remote Clean
An easy way to keep your remote clean is to wrap it with cling wrap. The cling wrap will protect it from liquid spills, prevent it from gathering dust around the buttons, and it can easily be changed if it tears or gets dirty. If you don’t have cling wrap or if it comes off your remote too easily, you can keep it in a plastic bag instead. Other than that, the only option is to clean it every week or so to avoid having to tackle it with the in-depth method, unless your remote quits functioning normally or you spill some soda on it.