Dirty Video Game Consoles are a Hotbed for Bacteria

2020 got a lot of us thinking about viruses and bacteria, and wondering how clean or dirty the surfaces we use really are. In fact, you might have started particularly wondering about the video game controllers you handle every day as well as your consoles. How germ-infested are they? Let’s take a look at a study that gives us some insights into dirty video game consoles and controllers. Then we will talk about why consoles and controllers tend to accumulate germs and durst, and how you can clean them.

Here is How Many Bacteria are on Dirty Video Game Consoles

The study in question was conducted by Betway, and allowed a cross-comparison between the bacteria found on toilet seats, kitchen tables, PCs, Xboxes, PlayStations, and Nintendo Switches. Betway casino research suggests that there may be variations on average from system to system, and also from component to component.

Betway wrote, “Bad news for PlayStation fans: the top-selling console of the latest generation is also the least clean, with only PCs showing more bacteria.” Specifically, it was mice that had more bacteria than PlayStation buttons and joysticks. The casino also reported, “The Nintendo Switch offers the cleanest version of gaming with a median of only 55 colony-forming units per swab.”

The researchers also gathered data on what types of contaminants are most common on gaming systems. These included bacillus SPP, staph, micrococcus SPP, and mold.

Why Do Video Game Consoles and Controllers Get So Dirty?

There are some surfaces we tend to think about more than others. We know our toilets can get dirty because of what we do there. So, we tend to clean them often. We know we prepare meals in our kitchens, so we tend to wipe down countertops. But we don’t necessarily worry about hygiene with respect to gaming. So, we just don’t think to clean our consoles and controllers as often.

Then again, a lot of people snack while they game. This is potentially concerning for two reasons. First of all, greasy foods make for popular snacks while gaming. It should not be surprising that the food we deposit on our controllers fosters bacterial growth. Secondly, we keep touching our controllers while we eat. So, we are not exactly eating with clean hands while we game if we have not wiped down our controllers of late.

How Can You Clean Your Devices?

Don’t want to keep handling dirty controllers? That’s good, because there is no reason to keep letting bacteria grow out of control. And as for your consoles, you should be cleaning them to get rid of dust anyway. That way, they are less likely to overheat. They also will perform better and last longer.

Xbox actually has a page that provides detailed, official instructions on the care and cleaning of Xbox consoles and game discs. The tips that Microsoft offers are pretty much applicable to any system you are using, so let’s go over them briefly.

First, you should turn off your console or computer. Then, you should get a dry cloth and wipe down the console or computer. Do not dampen the cloth, and stay away from solvents, detergents, and so forth. As far as controllers go, a damp cloth should be okay for those. But try to use a dry cloth if you can, or at least make sure that your damp cloth is on the drier side. You do not want any moisture seeping into your controllers.

Can you clean the interiors of your consoles? Opening them might void your warranties, so watch out for that. If you happen to want to clean your PS4 fan, you can find instructions here. The PS4 runs notoriously hot and loud, so a lot of gamers want to do something about dust on the fan.

Probably the least risky approach to getting dust out of the interior of a computer or console is to use a can of compressed air. You can spray into the vents. But make sure that you do not hold the can at an angle that will cause liquid to spray out. You do not want that getting on or inside your system.

How to Prevent Bacterial Build-up on Your Console and Controller

There is really not a lot you can do to stop dust, mold and bacteria from getting on your console or controllers altogether. But there are a few things you can do to reduce the build-up. For example, you can wash your hands before you pick up your controller or mouse to play a game. Also, you can make sure you are not storing them somewhere that mold tends to form.

You should come up with a schedule for cleaning your devices so that the build-up doesn’t ever get to be too much. You also can make it a habit to wipe down your controllers or mouse following every session. If that seems like more work than you want to do, at least make a commitment to do it if you have been snacking while gaming.

That wraps up our in-depth look at bacteria on consoles and controllers. You now know which bacteria are most common, and which devices get dirtiest on average. Regardless of the system on which you play, keeping your systems and controllers clean will protect your health as well as the health of your devices. It only takes a few minutes to wipe everything down now and then, so make it part of your routine.