Can coronavirus live on your PS4 or Xbox controller?

PS4 Pro
PS4 Pro (Image credit: Android Central)

Best answer: Yes. COVID-19, better known as coronavirus, can live surfaces like PlayStation 4 controllers, but how long remains somewhat unclear. We recommend cleaning and disinfecting your video game controllers regularly using appropriate cleaning wipes or spray.

How long can coronavirus live on controllers?

The ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact our daily lives, making it incredibly important to halt its spread, and making hygiene more critical than ever. Whether you're self-isolating or regularly washing hands, there are several steps to avoid exposure to the virus and staying sanitary. That couples with a recommendation to clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your household, including your most-used gadgets. For many of use, that includes gaming controllers.

While the virus appears to commonly spread through close contact and respiratory droplets, viral particles can survive on surfaces, too. Touching affected surfaces and then touching your face can unknowingly transmit viruses.

We're currently unsure how long coronavirus can live on surfaces, although research suggests prolonged periods in some instances. Early data indicates the virus can survive on plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours, as reported by Live Science, stressing the importance of keeping gadgets clean.

For your video game controller, there's a chance coronavirus may find a temporary home. There are various potential causes, whether unknowingly transferring particles on your hands through insufficient washing or even if used by an infected person. And if you're not cleaning your controller (or other computer peripherals) regularly, there's always a chance this high-touch point could pose a health risk.

How to clean your PS4 controller

During these challenging times, regularly cleaning your PlayStation 4 controller and other frequently used devices is recommended. Cleaning a controller is relatively easy, using regular isopropyl or 70 percent alcohol cleaning wipes, such as Clorox and Lysol. These can be hard to obtain due to stock shortages, but rubbing alcohol also works as an alternative, by dabbing it into cloth. But as with any such chemicals, keep them away from kids, and use only in a well-ventilated space.

We previously spoke with Microsoft's hardware team for their top cleaning tips, which warned against rubbing hard to avoid damaging the controller finish, instead lightly dabbing with a cloth. Microsoft also provided insightful additional tips surrounding specific controller models, included alongside our cleaning tips.

Matt Brown