How to clean remote controls

Follow along in the weekly cleaning series where I give you a task along with steps on how to clean an area/item in your home.  Most of these tasks will be easy, from light switches to toys, towels to stinky shoes, cleaning many of the forgotten areas or things in your home.  View previous cleaning tasks here.

Set yourself up with a cleaning kit to help you through the challenge, you will find what I keep in my cleaning kit here and use these cleaning checklists to help you remember regular cleaning tasks and create a routine to suit the time you have available.

How to clean remote controls

Remote controls are touched by everybody in the house, well ours is I presume yours would be too, even the cat tends to sit on it.  As you can imagine like all other items in the home, the remote control does get a build up of dust, dirt and even germs over time.  Think when somebody is sick and touches the remote, then a healthy family member touches it, they just picked up the germs.  So it’s a good idea to regularly clean remote controls.

How to clean a remote control

Steps to clean remote controls

You do need to take care when cleaning your remotes as you do not want to damage the buttons or batteries.  So removing the batteries before cleaning would be a good idea.

  1. Check to see if your TV manual have included instructions on how to clean remote controls, if so you can follow their directions; or
  2. Spray a lint free cloth (found in supermarkets) with all-purpose cleaner, find my recipe for homemade all-purpose cleaner here.
  3. Wipe over remote.
  4. If there is a build up of dirt use a cotton tip or toothpick.  Be careful not to break the toothpick as this may damage the remote.
  5. Remember to clean it each month.

This task shouldn’t take any longer than 5 minutes, do it during an ad break during your evening TV viewing!!

How did you go with this task, please let me know!

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Diane August 15, 2010 - 7:41 PM

Can you use the alcohol on the laptop or computer keyboard as well?? My ten year old has his own laptop and a school computer that I am constantly trying to keep clean.. he sneezes on it.. and well, you know they just get everything on them

Katrina - The Organi August 15, 2010 - 10:34 PM

lol…boys are just great aren't they. Yes cleaning alcohol with a cotton bud is recommended for cleaning laptops/keyboards. Remember to disconnect from the wall before cleaning. Turn keyboard upside down trying to get out all dirt. Try using your vacuum cleaner to gather all dust between keys, or alternatively use your hair dryer to blow out the dirt.

Leila September 11, 2010 - 12:37 AM

Phones are another thing that should be cleaned regularly. Both home and mobiles as they pick up lots of germs and dirt.

Katrina - The Organi September 12, 2010 - 7:26 PM

Yes phones, I should definately do a random job post on cleaning the phones!! Thanks Leila!!

Danielle October 1, 2013 - 9:19 PM

We have a tv in the kitchen so we wrap our remote in glad wrap to keep it clean. It works really well.

Marelize September 4, 2014 - 2:47 PM

Just saw the phone’s cord… Yagh! Will get toe the phones as we don’t have a TV remote.

Katrina September 5, 2014 - 12:56 PM

It is amazing how quick the dirt and grime builds up on our everyday items, such as phones.

Jeanette MCDONALD July 28, 2015 - 9:34 AM

Hi Katrina. Your web site is awesome! I use a disinfectant spray eg Glen 20 on my remotes, keyboards, door handles etc. Any where germ laden fingers make contact.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife July 30, 2015 - 8:42 AM

Thank you Jeanette!

Reply July 28, 2015 - 8:47 PM

Remote controls, once a cool piece of technology, now an annoying place holder on our coffee tables! I wonder what kinds of advancements our kids will have when they are older…hopefully someone will have thought up something to replace remote controls 🙂

Bev Lange May 19, 2018 - 4:27 PM

Hi Katrina, I also found it necessary to take cover off and EXTREMELY GENTLY wipe over the green board with metho using a tissue, and you would be surprised how much black stuff comes off and when you put it together again the buttons work much much better. Care is needed tho in prising off cover and making sure the batteries stay intact .

5 surprising places we always forget to clean – and probably shouldn’t! July 27, 2022 - 10:42 PM

[…] with a snack or two? It’s part of the viewing experience right? But what isn’t so pleasant, is the build-up of bacteria on that TV remote. When we eat we lick our fingers, and then we touch the remote, we’re […]


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