Unless you are an essential worker who had to go out every day, the pandemic had most of us spending more time than usual at home last year. Those of us who are gamers spent even more time with our gaming consoles, punching away at the buttons to pass the time and stay sane. According to statistics, an average gamer spends around 7 hours playing games every week, but this number must have doubled last year. While the pandemic made us more conscious about our general hygiene, washing our hands, and using sanitizers, most gamers have no idea how dirty an average console is.
Gaming consoles, regardless of the platform, have colonies of bacteria all over them. With our sweaty hands and food-smeared sticky fingers providing a fertile breeding ground, there are all sorts of germs living on these gaming consoles.
Although they may not be considered generally harmful thanks to our immune system, our consoles deserve more attention in our quest to live a more healthy life. According to the infographic above, the PlayStation has about 73 colonies of bacteria, Xbox has about 33 colonies, Nintendo has around 55, while a gaming PC has 105.
Our hands tend to be a magnet to dirt and bacteria in general, and this is the same hand with which we control our games. Naturally, bacteria on our hands are transferred to our controllers, and vice versa. Did you know that an average game controller is a lot dirtier than a toilet seat? As a matter of fact, a game controller has three times more bacteria.
The PlayStation 4 controller, for example, has about 190 colonies of bacteria on the joystick, 73 on each of the handles, and about 33 on the top buttons.
How then do you stay safe and get rid of these germs?
How to clean your console and controllers
To ensure your whole gaming system is free of bacteria, it is important to keep both the console and controllers free from dirt.
Cleaning the console
If your console gathers lots of dust, the very least you could do is ensure you dust it about once a week. However, you might want to take this a step further by using a dust cover when not in use. A bleach-free cleaner and a microfibre towel should also be used once in a while. This doesn’t only keep it clean but also ensures you are not damaging the console. It goes without saying, but try not to overdo this and letting the cleaner get inside the console.
For crevices and dusty areas that might be unreachable, using a soft brush should get rid of the dirt.
Cleaning the controllers
As these generally have more colonies of bacteria growing on them, they deserve more attention. It is advised that you should clean your controllers properly with anti-bacterial wipes. This ensures you leave no germ behind. If an anti-bacterial wipe is not available, an isopropyl alcohol-soaked cloth should do the trick. However, you should squeeze and drain the liquid before cleaning your controllers.
While most of these bacteria are unharmful, we shouldn’t take chances and assume a gaming console cannot be a medium of transmission of harmful germs. Cleaning our consoles is as important as cleaning our hands, especially in these times.