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Xbox 360 - Cleaning your Controller

Xbox 360 - Cleaning your Controller

Making sure your XBox 360 controller is nice and clean not only makes it look good but it can also help towards making it last longer and avoid annoyances like sticky buttons.  Plus years of sweat and dirt lodged in all it's crevaces just can't be good can it? :)

Even though we protect ours with our (shameless plug) excellent skins dirt and grime can still find their way in to your buttons and other exposed areas. While I was testing something recently I took the skin off of one of our controllers and saw in what a bad state it was and realised this faithful old pad needed a bit of a scrub up!

You need some cotton buds, toothpicks (though I resorted to a kebab skewer due to the lack of tooth picks in Control Blast Towers) and a slightly moist cloth/sponge. Moist means verrrry slightly damp, the last thing you want to do is to drizzle water inside your controller! Be firm but don't force anything because a broken controller is much worse than a dirty one.

Also we're always happy to provide tips and advice but you do this at your own risk.

So here she is, looking pretty bad! From here on it's going to get grim as most of the dirt is embedded in.



Before you start take your battery pack out.  It shouldn't be necessary but it's annoying turning on your Xbox when you are trying to clean!

Triggers and LB/RB

As you can see from the pictures dirt will build up round the edge of your triggers, LB/RB Buttons and in the lettering pretty quickly. The idea for most of the cleaning is to get as much of the dirt out with your tooth pick then clean up with your cotton bud.

2dirtytrigger.jpg  2dirtytrigger2.jpg 

Clean around the edges with your tooth pick by sliding it in as shown in the pic.  Don't push any dirt further into the controller, you want to think more about 'scopping' the dirt out rather than pressing it in.  Run around the lettering with your tooth pick to get out any dirt and finish up by cleaning it with your cotton bud.

2cleantrigger.jpg 2cleanbumper.jpg

Having the bud slightly moist will help pick up dirt and clean any that remains.

2cleanedtrigger.jpg 2cleanedbumper.jpg


Thumb Sticks, D-Pad and Buttons

Because you're pretty much always touching or hammering on these they'll get dirty very quickly.  As you can see the underside of your analog sticks will also get dust and dirt on them which can make their way into your controller.


Take your cotton bud and give the thumbstick a good clean. Just as the picture shows make sure you get underneath it.  Rotate the stick around so you get to every area to make sure it's properly clean.


Do the same for your D-Pad and buttons, get the bud in there and move it around the edges in a circle to pick out any grime that is embedded in.  This might solve any problems you have with sticky buttons without the need to take your controller apart, at the very least it'll help stop any build up that can cause your buttons to stick.

4cleanbuttons.jpg 4cleandpad.jpg

Edges, Holes and Crevaces

Any gap in your controller is going to get dirt in it.  The edges of your controller where the front and back of the shell meet can be cleaned by carefully running your toothpick along the edges to scoop out any dirt.  Make sure you do all the edges and then use your cotton bud to clean up any leftovers. 

7cleanedge.jpg 7cleanedge2.jpg

Your bud should also fit neatly in your screw holes to jab it in there and swivel it around to clean up.



You can use your cotton bud to clean the case but I use a slightly moist cloth as it's quicker.  Have some tissue, kitchen roll or something absorbant handy just in case any water drips off.  Give the case a good scrub and most grime and dirt should come off. Stubborn stains can be tackled with some white spirit or cleaning fluid, just be careful with it and wipe it all away when you are done.

Wipe your controller down with a dry cloth and it'll be all ready for many more hours of sweat, dirt and gameplay fun!