How To Clean Your Remote Control (6 Easy Steps)

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

We all know how frustrating it can be when our remote control isn't working properly. In this guide, I'll show you how to clean your remote control quickly and easily.

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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Remote controls are a necessary evil in today’s world. We all know that they can be sticky and difficult to clean. Sometimes, they are just gross. In this post, we will outline some tips for cleaning your remote control.

How to Clean Your Remote Control

If your remote control is looking a little grubby, there are a few simple steps you can take to make it look  – and work –  its best.

Step 1: Remove the batteries from the remote if applicable 

If your remote control has batteries, be sure to remove them before cleaning. This keeps the remote from operating while you are cleaning it.

Step 2: Wipe Down the Remote Control with a Dry Cloth 

Use a soft dry cloth to gently wipe down the outside  of the remote control. Make sure to focus on the areas that receive the most use, such as the buttons and surface where the buttons are located. 

If the remote control still looks dusty, consider using a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to help clean it. Be sure to use caution while cleaning, as too much force may cause damage.

Step 3: If the Remote Control Has a Screen, Remove the Screen Protector

If you have a screen protector on your remote, be sure to remove it before cleaning. Screens protect the remote control’s screen from scratches, so be sure to clean it first.

Step 4: If the Remote Control Has Buttons, Gently Scrub Them With a Toothbrush and Water 

If the remote control has buttons, gently scrub them with a toothbrush and water. If the remote control doesn’t have buttons, you can try these other tips:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to clean the dust and debris that accumulates on the buttons.
  • Wet a cloth and wring it out. Lightly scrub the buttons clean.
  • Use some q-tips and rubbing alcohol to clean soiled or stubborn buttons.
  • Make sure to get into all the crevices and corners

Step 5: Wipe Off Any Debris You Scrubbed Up And Dry It Thoroughly

Once the cleaning is complete, dry off the remote with a dry cloth and let the remote air-dry for a few hours before using it again.

Step6: Place the Batteries Back in the Remote and Test it to Make Sure it Works Properly

It’s a good idea to go ahead and put in a fresh set while you are at it.

How to Clean a Sticky Remote Control

If your remote control is feeling a little sticky, you may be able to clean it with a little bit of water and a microfiber cloth. Start by soaking the cloth in water and wringing it out. Then, use the cloth to gently wipe down the surface of the remote control. Be sure to go around all the edges and corners.

If the water isn’t working, try using a little bit of dish soap or even rubbing alcohol. Once the remote control is clean, let it air-dry for a few hours before using it again.

How to Clean a Remote Control After a Battery Leak

If your remote control has been affected by a battery leak, there are a few things you can do to make it easier to clean. You should always wear gloves when dealing with battery acid or corrosion. 

First, try to dry the area where the leak occurred. If that’s not possible, try to blot as much of the liquid as possible with a cloth or paper towel. If that’s not possible, you can use a vacuum cleaner with the hose attachment to suck up as much of the liquid as possible.

Scrub off any remaining battery corrosion residue with a mild abrasive cleaner such as a toothbrush and baking soda. 

Then clean the entire remote using the instructions above.

Sometimes, battery corrosion will keep a remote from ever working again. Test it afterwards to make sure it is working correctly. If not, you can see my recommended remote controls for seniors and the elderly in this post.


By following these simple steps, you can clean your remote control and have a smoother – and less sticky – entertainment experience!

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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