How to clean your Nintendo Switch

We’ll show you how to clean your Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, and Nintendo Switch OLED

Man holding a Nintendo Switch
(Image: © Shutterstock/Niphon Subsri)

Quick steps

  • Like any electrical device, make sure your Nintendo Switch is turned off
  • Remove the Joy-Con and any other accessories
  • Slightly dampen a cleaning cloth with water. Wipe down your Nintendo Switch and Joy-Con controllers carefully
  • Apply a dry cleaning cloth to both, removing any leftover moisture. Reattach the Joy-Con controllers and you’re good to go

Tools and Requirements 

  • A damp cleaning cloth
  • A dry cleaning cloth
  • A cotton swab or toothpick
  • A Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Switch Lite, or Nintendo Switch OLED

How to clean your Nintendo Switch 

Green and pink Joy-Con sitting on top of the back of Switch

(Image credit: Shutterstock/Proxima Studio)

The build-up of dust and grime is a problem for all modern hardware, including the Nintendo Switch. It can lead to overheating if left unattended, causing component failure. Some games also utilize the Switch’s touchscreen but unlike the Nintendo DS, there’s no official stylus support, so you’ll have to use your hands. The end result? Good old fingerprints. 

At least Nintendo’s hybrid console is easier to take care of, compared to the PS5 and Xbox Series X. If you prefer handheld play to docked, a screen protector and a carrying case will prevent scratching and dirt build-up. Make sure it's got cartridge pockets too. Nintendo previously issued official console cleaning advice, which isn’t too comprehensive, but fear not. If you’re looking to keep your console in top shape, here are the steps you should follow.

Steps 

  • Turn off your Switch, do not leave it in sleep mode. Once done, undock it and remove any accessories, including the Joy-Con controllers.
  • Place your Switch on a clean table, do not put it on the floor.
  • Dampen a cleaning cloth with water, and gently apply it to the Switch screen and Joy-Con controllers. If your screen is sticky and requires disinfectant, Nintendo recommends wiping it down with a “consumer-grade disinfectant,” containing 70% alcohol.
  • Once done, wipe down the Joy-Con with a damp cloth, scrubbing the controllers' plastic gently.
  • Apply a dry cleaning cloth to both upon completing, removing any leftover moisture. Reattach the Joy-Con controllers and you’re good to go.
  • As for the metal rails which connect the Joy-Con, use a microfiber cloth to remove any dust. If some spots are tricky to reach, use a cotton swab or toothpick instead. We’d recommend the same approach if the USB-C port has a build-up of dust or dirt. Nintendo advises not to use a vacuum or compressed air to dislodge any residue.

How often should I clean my Switch?

Close-up of Joy-Con controller

(Image credit: Nintendo)

Unless you’re getting really good use out of the Nintendo Switch's touchscreen, a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth to remove any fingerprints always helps – we can’t imagine you’d need to do this particularly often, but if you frequently play in docked mode, make sure you dust your Switch dock too.

Nintendo doesn’t offer any official guidelines as to how frequently you should clean your Switch, but giving your hardware a deep clean every few months is good practice. If you’ve felt your console getting hot, or simply isn't looking its best, it's probably time to pick up those cotton swabs and clean out the ports.

Final thoughts 

As always, we’d argue prevention is key with long-term console maintenance. Being a hybrid console, upkeep is more unique on Nintendo Switch than its rivals. You’ll have to consider the touchscreen, detachable Joy-Con, handheld play, and if you prefer playing on your TV, the Switch Dock.

If playing in handheld mode, keep your console safe through a travel case, we can’t ever recommend just throwing it into your bag. Invest in a good one with cartridge cases built into it, Switch cartridges are tiny and quite easy to lose. Otherwise, if you’re more for docked play, give it space on your table or TV cabinet, that’ll help avoid dust building up.

Don't own a Switch? Here's how to clean your Xbox Series X and how to clean your Xbox Series S. Prefer PlayStation? Here's how to clean your PS5.

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Henry is a freelance writer based in Bournemouth, United Kingdom. When he's not wandering in VR or burning through his RPG backlog, he's probably planning his next D&D session.