Introduction: How to Clean Almost Any Game Controller

I have a handful of these Logitech Dual Action controllers that I use for a Raspberry Pi emulator which I'll be uploading an Instructable for soon.

Upon trying to use this controller (it had been in storage for over a year), most of the buttons on the right side of the controller were sticky so I decided to pull this baby apart instead of buying another.

Please leave me feedback as this is my first Instrucable.

Step 1: Preparing Your Controller and Materials

It's time to gather your materials!

Materials Needed:

1. Controller (duh)

2. Rubbing alcohol (any concentration will do)

3. Q-tips

4. Toothpick

5. Paper towel

6. A small phillips screwdriver (I used a #1) and a small flathead screwdriver for prying.

7. An ice cold can of Yuengling (drinking rubbing alcohol is generally frowned upon)

Step 2: Taking Apart the Controller

For this controller, there are 7 screws that bind the back shell to the front. 6 of them are visible and the 7th is behind the QA/Void sticker.

After removing these,make sure you store them in a safe place. (I used a bottlecap)

Once all the screws are out, make sure to keep the controller flipped over with the buttons facing down. (if you remove the back plate with the controller facing up, the buttons may fall out and will scatter. (you've been warned)

If you are unable to remove the back shell, use the flathead screwdriver to pry the back shell away from the front.

Once the back shell is removed, you should only see the front shell and the buttons. Put the back shell to the side and you can begin to work on the buttons.

Step 3: Cleaning the Buttons and Spacers

While cupping your hand over the back on the front shell, flip it over so that the buttons fall out in your hand. For this controller, there were 7 buttons and 4 spacers. The D-pad was still attached to the front. Once you have the buttons out, you can begin cleaning.

Take the rubbing alcohol and q-tips and clean the outside of the buttons. If you have any hard stuck on junk, use the toothpick to scrape it off.

Step 4: Cleaning the Shells

I used the paper towel and alcohol to clean the large areas of the shell, again if you have hard stuck on junk, use the toothpick, especially on the curves, nooks and crannies. For me at least, dead skin tends to accumulate around the seams of the shell and these were the areas that needed the most attention to cleanup.

On the back shell, you'll also see the PCB, analog sticks and membranes for the buttons. If the membranes are dirty, you can also clean these with the q-tips and alcohol.

It turns out my greatest issue was dead skin that had compacted on the sides of the buttons which was causing them to bind.

Step 5: Putting the Controller Back Together

Once all the parts have been cleaned, start re-assembling the controller by placing the buttons and spacers in the front shell while the front it is facing down. For this controller, the buttons were keyed so that they could only be placed in 1 hole.

Once all the buttons are back in place, re-attach the back plate and make sure that everything lines up properly. This controller also had 2 grip sections that detached from the shell as well, so make sure you attach these first if they fit between the 2 shells.

Start securing the shells together again using the 7 screws from step 2.

And you're done, plug in the controller to make sure everything works as it should!