You might have heard there’s currently a global pandemic going on. As a result you might be using things like alcohol and disinfect wipes to clean off your stuff, including your Switch. Nintendo says don’t, at least if your priority is not damaging the system’s finish. For many, it probably isn’t.
“Recently, customers have been asking whether they can disinfect their Nintendo Switch consoles and Joy-Cons with alcohol,” Nintendo Customer Service wrote on Twitter yesterday based on a translation by Kotaku. “We’re very sorry to say please avoid using alcohol as it may cause the plastic parts to fade in color or deform.”
But not just alcohol. The company went on to say that other cleaners were potentially risky as well. “We also cannot recommend using non-alcoholic disinfecting sheets, as depending on the ingredients, they may damage the plastic parts,” wrote Nintendo.
This isn’t necessarily surprising news to anyone who’s tried to mod their Joy-Con or use weird chemicals to clean them in the past. The finish is extremely fickle and easy to rub off. The spread of covid-19 is serious, though, and wanting to keep your electronics from potentially being carriers for the virus is smart, especially for anyone frequently sharing their Switch with roommates or loved ones.
“Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily,” the CDC says. “This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.” To this end, Apple updated its support page for the iPhone last month to tell users that, contrary to its previous recommendations, it was okay to “gently” wipe-down their devices with certain alcohol and Clorox-based wipes.
So what can you use to wipe down your Joy-Con? “For cleaning purposes, please use a soft dry cloth,” the company wrote, advice which you should definitely ignore if you’re worried that your Switch might be contaminated. No one’s going to be winning awards for the most pristine looking special edition Joy-Con when this whole thing is over.
Nintendo didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.