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Remote controls need cleaning, too

All kinds of electronics come with remote controls that get handled by everyone in the household, which means they can end up sticky or dirty and possibly a source of germs. So, it is a good idea to clean them every so often, especially when someone has been sick.

There are two ways to clean a remote control: wiping off the outside and cleaning both the inside and the outside. Either way, care should be taken to not damage the battery contacts and the circuits inside.

To do a quick cleaning, remove the batteries first and then apply rubbing alcohol with a cotton swab around the sides and between the buttons. A lint-free cloth should then be used to clean all surfaces of the remote with rubbing alcohol, including the inside of the battery compartment. The batteries can be put back in when the battery compartment is totally dry.

Deep cleaning a remote includes taking it completely apart with a screwdriver after removing the batteries. All screws should be put in a cup or bowl so they won’t get lost. After taking out the button panel and setting it aside, put the circuit board on a clean, dry surface or on a paper towel. The circuit board can be gently cleaned with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs, making sure that no stray threads are left behind.

Next, the keypad can be cleaned with the cotton swab or a toothbrush and allowed to air dry or dried with a lint-free cloth. When all the pieces are dry and the remote has been screwed back together, the outside can be cleaned as described above.

To keep a remote clean, there are several options. Some people place their remotes inside clear plastic bags (Ziploc or newspaper bags) and just replace the bags when they are dirty.

Other people regularly wipe them off with sanitizing wipes, while some keep them in caddies to cut down on how often they are touched.

Another good tip is to take a bag or wipes when traveling or going into a hospital to cover or clean the remote in one’s hotel or hospital room.

These are all ways to reduce contact with germs where most people don’t think to look for them.


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