How To Clean A Sticky TV Remote Control

Updated byPenny
How To Clean A Sticky TV Remote Control

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Your TV remote control is often used several times a day by multiple people.

It tends to be a magnet for dirt, and it’s the perfect way for germs to spread.

How many times do you sit in-front of the TV eating something sticky or greasy and then go to change the channel?

I am definitely guilty of that.

One of the things I love about a new TV is how responsive the remote control is.

The channels change effortlessly, and there is no need to aim at the screen like you are trying to shoot it down!

So in my post today, I am going to show you the best way to clean and sanitize your TV remote control, plus how to keep it that way.

If you have sticky, unresponsive buttons, I also show you how you can make them work again like new.

If you are looking for a quick method to use now, grab a microfiber cloth and spray it with some rubbing alcohol mixed with water and give your TV remote control a good rub. Most of the dirt should come off.

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Why clean your TV remote control?

I’m not fussy about the state of our TV remote.

I don’t rush to clean it every week, but over time it gets sticky and greasy.

When I find dust sticking to the dirt, I know it’s time to clean it because it isn’t very nice to use.

A dirty remote can lead to the buttons not working so well, and bacteria can grow.

If you have family members in your household that are elderly or have compromised immunity, then you will want to make sure you clean and also sanitize it regularly to stop germs spreading.

How to clean a TV remote control

Here I give you general instructions that should be fine for all types of remote control.

However, always check the manufacturer instructions and clean according to their directions.

This cleaning method will remove sticky residue, grease and will also disinfect your TV remote.

Things you will need

Here are the materials you will need to get your remote control sparkling:

Step 1 - Remove the batteries

removing batteries from tv remote

Start by removing the batteries if your remote has them. Usually, you can slide off the back cover and then pull them out.

Step 2 - Remove loose debris

rubbing tv remote with a toothbrush

Take the toothbrush or a microfiber cloth and rub over the entire remote to remove any loose dirt.

Step 3 - Spray the cloth and rub

Make up a spray bottle of one part rubbing alcohol and one part water.

Spray the microfiber cloth and then use it to rub all surfaces of the remote, including the back and sides.

Most of the dirt should now be gone.

Step 4 - Clean around the buttons

rubbing around the buttons with a cotton swab

If there is still dirt present around the buttons, take the cotton bud and dip it in the rubbing alcohol and gently clean around each button.

Step 5 - Dry

Let the remote air-dry. It shouldn’t take too long.

Step 6 - Put the batteries back

The last step is to put the batteries back and slide the cover back on.

Step 7 - Test

Make sure the remote is working. If it doesn’t work, you may have put the batteries in the wrong way, so do check that first.

If you are still finding that you have to press buttons a few times to make them work, you will need to do a deeper clean.

The good news is this isn’t hard to do.

Read on for more details on that:

How to clean sticky remote control buttons

Things you will need

Are your remote control buttons sticking and don’t seem to be responsive at all?

Maybe you are finding that when you go to change a channel, the button doesn’t work, or takes a few tries to make it work?

If that is the case, then you will need to do a deeper clean, and that involves taking the remote apart and cleaning it inside.

Before we start, do check the batteries first. If the buttons have stopped working properly, changing the battery may fix it.

Step 1 - Remove batteries

First off, make sure you remove the batteries.

If your remote is self-charging then, then you can ignore this step.

Step 2 - Remove the top cover

removing the top cover of the remote control with a spudger
remote taken apart with the buttons showing along side the top cover

How you remove the cover will depend on the type of remote control. There may be some screws to remove. In other cases, the cover will pop off using a spudger.

If it has screws, find a suitably sized screwdriver and take them out.

Then, use a spudger or a flat-edged screwdriver to prize apart the top cover from the bottom.

Step 3 - Remove the rubber buttons and wash

washing the rubber buttons and top cover in hot soapy water

Once the top cover is removed, you should find the rubber buttons come off.

Take the rubber strip of buttons and the top cover and wash in warm soapy water.

You may need a toothbrush to scrub off any stubborn dirt.

Dry with some kitchen towel or a microfiber cloth and then leave to air dry.

Step 4 - Clean the circuit board

rubbing the circuit board with a cotton bud

Now take a cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol and gently wipe the whole circuit board.

Step 5 - Reassemble

Put the rubber button strip back and then the top cover and snap back into place.

If you took out some screws, put them back in.

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How to keep your remote control clean

Now you know how to clean and sanitize your TV remote. What can you do to stop it from getting so dirty again?

Here are some tips for keeping your TV remote control clean going forward:

  1. Avoid touching your remote whilst eating.
  2. Put it away when not in use. This will prevent dust and dirt from settling on it.
  3. If you don’t intend to use your remote for a while, remove the batteries.
  4. Regularly wipe with a dry microfiber cloth to remove dust and grease.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if you wash a TV remote?

You can wash your TV remote in hot soapy water, but not the whole thing!

Remove the top cover and the rubber button strip, and then wash just those parts in warm soapy water.

Dry thoroughly and then reassemble.

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Sparkling Penny

Penny | Sparkling Penny

Penny’s expert cleaning advice has been featured repeatedly by Homes and Gardens Magazine, and also at wikiHow, The Daily Express Newspaper, and Glam Magazine to name a few! was founded in 2019 and has since helped millions of people achieve a cleaner living space.

Share your thoughts

On  November 11, 2023   Carole Stewart  said:

I cannot remove cover from tv remote. May this is something to do with corroded batteries? Tv model LG oled, about 3+ years old.

On  November 12, 2023   Penny  said:

Could be. Can you find the manual for your TV? You can usually find it online. Good luck!

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Find out how to clean a TV remote control. Directions for cleaning sticky buttons, plus how to keep your TV clean.Find out how to clean a TV remote control. Directions for cleaning sticky buttons, plus how to keep your TV clean.Find out how to clean a TV remote control. Directions for cleaning sticky buttons, plus how to keep your TV clean.