Cleaning a Remote Control

Remote controls take a lot of abuse from sticky fingers and other contaminates; cleaning and keeping them clean can improve their operation. This is a guide about cleaning a remote control.

January 27, 2009 Flag
1 found this helpful

I've noticed people mentioning grease from hands entering their remote control. No cleaning of remote controls, if you wrap remote in Saran Wrap. The wrapped remote works perfectly well. Replace the wrap when changing batteries.

By George from Portarlington, Victoria, Australia

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January 28, 20090 found this helpful

Good idea - and I'd bet you could use different colors for remotes that belong to different TVs, too!

I wonder if Glad Press-n-Seal would work as well?

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June 22, 20110 found this helpful

You are so right about saran wrap-it works wonders keeping tv controls looking like new. Saran wrap keeps white refrigerator door handles looking like new too!

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September 20, 20160 found this helpful

It is not finger grease. The silicone keypad is made with a silicone oil that is impregnated into the silicone itself. It keeps the silicone supple and flexible. Repeated physical pressure (pressing the buttons) will physically squeeze the lubricant out of the silicone like water out of a sponge. Eventually, after repeated cleanings all of the lubricant will be squeezed out. This can take years.

This is not to say that other oils and greases can't get in there. But there is really no way for accumulated finger grease to go straight through the silicone or around the edges of the silicone pad.

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December 30, 2014 Flag
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I have an old remote that is made of a rubber type material. It is sticky. Tried using rubbing alcohol on it, but not any better. Any suggestions?

By Robert S.

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January 8, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

Alcohol is a great cleaner for sticky things like this. I have used it to clean remotes in the past. If you are using rubbing alcohol, it is most likely 70% alcohol. Get the 91% isopropyl alcohol and try that.

I have found in my area that the supermarkets no longer carry it, they only have rubbing alcohol. So I have to go to a pharmacy store to buy the isopropyl alcohol.

Having a lower alcohol content is also means having less water in the solution. This makes isopropyl alcohol much safer to use on electronic devices such as TV remotes.

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December 7, 2006 Flag
3 found this helpful

If you have kids, you can prevent gooey and dirty hands from gumming up your remote control by placing it in a ziplock bag. They can still see the controls but can't gum up the buttons.

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June 12, 2012 Flag
2 found this helpful

I've always used alcohol and Q-tips to clean the remote. It's worked for me.

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February 19, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

How do I fix my TV remote? Some buttons work and some don't. Are there contacts in it that can be cleaned?

By Gene from IN

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February 20, 20110 found this helpful

Chances are that you simply pressed some button that negates the others. Remotes are tricky creatures (too often their instructions are not written in plain English) and often need feeding from Engineer savvy type family or friends.

Cleaning the contacts can sometimes make all the difference, but not always and too often when us amateurs try to clean the contacts other connections become inadvertently compromised.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but sometimes all you can do is go back to the place you purchased said electronic and be courteous and kind in asking them to help you solve the problem. The good ones will help, the bad ones will alert you of brand names and stores you shouldn't patronize again. Good luck, Gene.

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February 24, 20110 found this helpful

Try putting some new batteries in your remote!

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March 1, 20110 found this helpful

I have seen a friend clean my remote, with just water. He opened it up, rinsed it out, dried it off, then had to dry it three time, and then it worked like a charm. And has done so for 3 years now. However, I don't know if I would try it myself. I suppose you have nothing to lose.

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February 19, 2011 Flag
0 found this helpful

My TV Remote has some buttons that don't work anymore. I took it apart and cleaned the contacts, but certain buttons barely work, the ones used most often.

Does anyone know how to get those button contacts, on the underside, to make good contact again with the PC board inside the remote?

DoctorBill from Spokane, WA


Fixing Unresponsive TV Remote Buttons

Why bother fixing it? You can buy a new universal remote for $10. (09/20/2007)

By me

Fixing Unresponsive TV Remote Buttons

When my TV remote had the non-functioning buttons, I found a "free" one through an electronic retail store. Watch the Sunday circular ads, many times one of the stores will have a multi-function remote that is free after rebates (yes, you pay sales tax and sometimes a stamp for the rebate offer). BTW great job fixing the one you have. I am not sure if you tried a pencil eraser, but they tend to be the best way to clean contacts. (09/20/2007)

By Remote Control

Fixing Unresponsive TV Remote Buttons

We bought a new universal remote at Big Lots for $6.00. (09/21/2007)

By Carol in PA

Fixing Unresponsive TV Remote Buttons

There are repair kits available for your problem. Please follow link: (12/18/2007)

By Ben

Fixing Unresponsive TV Remote Buttons

I had my remote apart and discovered the greasy substance doctorbill mentioned. My repair guy told me that grease comes from our hands. It goes through the rubber buttons by osmosis. That's why you notice it mostly under the buttons you use the most. The remote I took apart is one we've used for years. You can clean it, if you're careful, with an ammonia/detergent solution (mild). What I don't know yet is whether I should treat the cleaned surface with anything. (12/24/2007)

By Harold

Fixing Unresponsive TV Remote Buttons

My new digital TV quit working after 8 mos. and I was devastated. One of my friends told me to clean around every button on my remote because sometimes if something is there, it can cause these newer TV's not to work. I thought they were crazy. But I took a toothpick and went around every button very carefully and found some sticky substance under one of the buttons. I cleaned them all and tried it, and guess what? Yep, my TV came on and hasn't given me any more trouble at all. Try this first because it's cheaper than the repair shop! (01/12/2009)

By Cynthia M.

Fixing Unresponsive TV Remote Buttons

By me (Guest Post)

"Why bother fixing it? You can buy a new universal remote for 10." Because universal remotes often leave out key features unless programmed from the dedicated remote. I have this pain of a problem with my DVDR where to get the skip chapter function or toggling among 480p, 720p, 1080i are absent without programming a key directly. I use a universal remote for TV, DVDR, and stereo system but miss those nice features. (12/09/2010)

By rickevans033050

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