How to Clean a Remote Control
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How to Clean a Remote Control

May 29, 2024

Remote controls are among the most-touched objects in many households, right up there with doorknobs and toilet handles. They’re also known to migrate from the coffee table to the floor to the dog bed to the black hole between couch cushions. But can you remember the last time you cleaned your remote? Let us walk you through it.

For a basic cleaning:

For a deep cleaning to address performance issues:

A basic cleaning of a remote control requires only 10 minutes and common household supplies.

If one or more of your remote’s buttons has stopped working properly, a deep cleaning may help … though it can also damage the remote if you’re not careful, so we only recommend deep-cleaning a non-touchscreen remote when absolutely necessary. You can expect this process to take anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour, depending on how hard it is to take apart your remote.

You should only do a deep cleaning to salvage a remote whose buttons aren’t working properly. This method requires you to open the remote to clean the buttons and contacts from the inside, which could damage the remote’s parts or functions. Do not use this method on a remote with a touchscreen.

This article was edited by Amy Koplin, Brittney Ho, and Sofia Sokolove.

Adrienne Maxwell

Adrienne Maxwell is the supervising editor of Wirecutter's audio/video team, covering everything from headphones to TVs. She has been a writer, editor, and reviewer in the consumer electronics industry for 20 years, and previously served as the executive editor of Home Theater Magazine and the managing editor of

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For a basic cleaning:For a deep cleaning to address performance issues:Wash and dry your hands.Remove the batteries.Clean the body of the remote with soap and water. Sanitize the remote (optional). Clean the crevices around the buttons. Do this every few months.Remove the batteries.Open the remote. Separate the inner parts and clean them. Clean the contacts on the circuit board. Reassemble the remote. Reinsert the batteries andtest the buttons.