Your Nintendo Switch is probably filthy. Since the Switch pulls double duty as a shared family console and a handheld gaming console, it has extra opportunity to get dirty fingers all over it. Here’s how to clean all the parts of your Switch without getting it wet or ruining it.
According to Nintendo’s official support page, you should avoid submerging your Switch in water (duh), using any cleaning solvents, or putting water directly on the screen. Instead, to clean your Switch, you’ll need a few non-destructive materials:
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- A microfiber screen cleaning cloth. This comes up every time we talk about cleaning gadgets, and with good reason. A microfiber cloth can clean your screen without leaving scratches or lint.
- Cotton swabs or pads. We’ll use a few cotton swabs to clean some of the harder to reach crevices.
- A small cup of water. While you don’t want to pour water directly on your switch, you may need to lightly dampen a cotton swab. Get a small glass of water that you can dip into.
If you don’t have a microfiber cleaning cloth, you can substitute with a soft t-shirt or other piece of fine threaded fabric. Just be sure not to use a bigger fluffy towel that can leave more lint than you clean off.
Wipe Down Your Main Console and Screen With a Microfiber Cloth
The touch screen on your Switch can end up just as smeared with fingerprints as your phone. Having a microfiber cloth can come in handy for this. Microfiber cloths are designed to avoid scratching screens and leave no extra lint. To clean your screen, simply wipe the cloth across the surface of the screen in long strokes. Don’t use circular motions, as this can catch dirt particles and rub them over the screen. Never use cleaning products on the Switch screen. If you have any caked on gunk, very lightly dampen the cloth with water when you wipe it off. Be sure to squeeze out any water so it doesn’t leave drops that can find their way into cracks between the screen and the case.
If you don’t already have one, it may be a good idea to get a screen protector—you can usually get one for less than $10. In addition to the normal wear and tear that screens normally go through, the Switch also gets placed into an HDMI dock. This shouldn’t be a problem if you place it in gently, but if you’re too rough with it (or if a child uses the dock) you can end up scratching the screen on the dock itself. A screen protector should solve this problem, as well as keep your device looking good through normal use.
Scrub the Joy-Con Controllers With a Damp Cloth
The Joy-Con controllers on your Switch will get a ton of gross gunk all over them as your kids play in the back seat while sloppily eating chips and spilling Coke on their fingers. At least they’re quiet, though. To clean the controllers, you can whip out that handy microfiber cloth again. This time, though, get it a little damp. Squeeze out any excess water until it’s not dripping any more, and then squeeze it a little bit more. Then, scrub the plastic of your controller with the cloth.
Use a Cotton Swab to Reach the Hard-to-Clean Spots
Some spots on the Switch may be a little too difficult to reach with your microfiber cloth. In those cases, some cotton swabs can come in handy. The metal sides of the Switch where the controllers latch in, or the USB-C port on the bottom are nesting grounds for dust and dirt that can jam up the parts of your console. Rub the swab along the inside, or in between the small crevices. If there is gunk built up, you may need to dip the cotton in water, but remember to make sure you squeeze any excess out before you put the cotton into any ports or cracks. Even a small drop of water could enter the console and cause a short, so don’t use water unless you absolutely have to and, even then, use it very sparingly. Give your whole console another once over to wipe down all the parts you may have missed, like the speaker grill or underneath the kickstand on the back.
If you wipe off the parts of your Switch that see the most use regularly, then you shouldn’t need to do too much hardcore cleaning. There’s a lot of opportunity to get dirt and grease all over your Switch, but it only takes a few seconds to wipe the whole thing down and keep it looking shiny and new.