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How dirty are your gaming consoles?

19 Apr | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
How dirty are your gaming consoles?

Ever wondered just how dirty your beloved games console is? We've analysed swabs from 4 of the most popular consoles to discover which console is the dirtiest.

The video gaming industry has skyrocketed recently, and so has rivalry between players testifying against which gaming console is the best.

One thing no gamer would want to rank worst for however, is the cleanliness  of their console. From food waste, to personal hygiene, many gamers never consider the need to clean their controllers or keyboards – despite how much time they spend touching them.

To highlight just how much bacteria gathers on different parts of your devices, the minds at Online Casino Betway have conducted an experiment analysing 12 sets of randomly selected consoles and computers, as well as a kitchen table and toilet seat, and the findings are astounding.

Mould, yeast, and bacteria – This is how dirty your gaming consoles really are

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Bad news for PlayStation fans: the top-selling console of the latest generation is also the least clean, with only PCs showing more bacteria.

Overall, the sample PlayStations analysed had 72.5 colony-forming bacteria units per swab taken. That’s 2.4-times more than you would find on a toilet seat.

The worst part of the console for bacterial growth are the buttons and the joysticks, where the median number of colony-forming units was 190: higher than the equivalent on any other platform. In the worst cases among the sample set, this reached as high as 650 units: more than double the number you would expect on a kitchen surface.


One of the cleaner gaming platforms, the Xbox consoles tested showed a median of 62.5 colony-forming units per swab, more than double that found on a toilet seat.

But while the number on the triggers was the lowest across all platforms tested at only 15, the controller handles showed the highest, at 82.5.

The Xbox also showed some of the most dirty samples, with the worst console tested having 5,614 colony-forming units on the controller’s buttons, though this wasn’t a common occurrence across those tested.


The PC is often an outsider in discussions about games consoles, but in terms of bacteria it’s the worst by a significant margin.

Though keyboards show plenty of signs of colony-forming units with a median of 165 per swab, it’s actually the mouse that picks up the most bacterial material.

A median mouse swab shows 247.5 colony-forming units: that’s only 27.5 fewer than a kitchen surface, and it likely doesn’t receive the same level of regular cleaning with disinfectant products due to the risk to the electric components.

Even a PC’s “on” button is significantly worse than the majority of places tested across all platforms, with a median of 115 colony-forming units per swab.


The Nintendo Switch offers the cleanest version of gaming with a median of only 55 colony-forming units per swab.

Though this is still 25 more than you would find on a toilet seat, it was one of the lowest numbers throughout all platforms tested.

The Joy Cons (controllers) tested registered the same number throughout, while the buttons were only marginally higher at 62.5.

Controllers under the microscope

The analysis has clearly revealed that our consoles do get quite dirty. However, when you’re deep into a gaming session, making sure your hands are clean before picking up the controller is probably not something you’re thinking of. There are many opportunities for germs to spread, whether they come from picking your nose, or little spit particles from shouting at your TV.

As a result, we took an even closer look at the controllers and mouse to reveal which areas collect the most germs, so you know the areas that definitely needs a clean. 

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PlayStation vs Xbox – The rivalry continues

For years PlayStation and Xbox have been fighting for dominance, with the rivalry only further ignited with the recent launch of the new PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. And who doesn’t love a bit of competition? However, we’ve put it to the test to find out which gamers truly are the dirtiest. Take a look below to find out just how many germs were found on average across the different parts of the two console brands.

What types of bacteria grow on your devices?

As if it’s not horrifying enough, that our gaming consoles are on average three times dirtier than a toilet seat, we have found out what types of bacteria are most common. From human skin to mould, we bare it all:

The truth about cleanliness

This testing shows that even for the cleanest platforms, there’s a large degree of bacterial build-up. Only Xbox controller triggers had a lower number of colony-forming units than a toilet seat, meaning buttons, handles, controllers, keyboards, and mice are all generally in need of serious disinfecting.

While most of this bacteria is generally harmless, some can be harmful if inhaled in sufficient quantities, and it’s best to maintain a minimal amount of yeast, mould, and bacteria on items you touch regularly.

Aim to clean your equipment at least once a week as part of your normal cleaning routine in order to keep your home clean and safe.

How to clean your console

To avoid a build-up of bacteria and mould, it’s important to regularly clean down your games console.

It doesn’t take much effort to keep it quite clean:

  1. Start by unplugging your console to avoid any accidental damage.
  2. Then, using a small amount of bleach-free, plastic-friendly cleaning solution, dampen a cloth and wipe carefully around the controllers, or the keyboard and mouse if using a PC
  3. To clean the console itself, only use a dry cloth, such as a microfibre cloth to remove any dust or fingerprints. It’s important to not use any solution on the actual device, to prevent any moisture from getting into the device and causing damage
  4. Make sure to wipe the surface underneath your console as well, to remove any dust

For the controllers, try not to use too much liquid to ensure you don’t accidentally damage your system. A small amount is fine.

For keyboards, it’s possible to get specialised cleaning solutions like deep-reaching gel or a spray that goes between the keys, allowing better access to hard-to-reach spots. This may also be useful for the buttons of games controllers. 

A closer look at how our devices compare to everyday items

For a deeper look at how each part of the different consoles compares to the average amount of germs found on a kitchen table or toilet seat, take a look below…

It’s interesting to see how different areas of each console compare to everyday items. What may even come as a surprise is that our study found that a kitchen table actually holds the most bacteria out of any of the swabbed items. 

One thing that is for certain, however, is that at a time where we are hyper-focused on germs, it’s more important than ever to ensure we’re cleaning items such as controllers to avoid any potential health-risks that they may present. 

Full data

Colony Forming Units per swab



Buttons/ Joystick










Nintendo Switch





On Button








Whole Console

Nintendo Switch




Kitchen Table

Toilet Seat

Median Colony-Forming Units








Full findings available upon request.