So I have this habit of watching T.V. while I eat and last night I used the remote with my ketchup smeared hand (absent mindedly :p).

There's no way I could wash it as it would damage the internal circuitry so I just wiped it with a towel, it looks cleaned but it's still sticky and has a slight ketchup smell on it. Is there anyway I could completely clean it without water?

  • Did you try wet wipes? If you are good at handling the electric equipments, try opening up the body of the T.V. remote which will let you detach the circuit board from the body. Once you have the body and the keypad with you, you should be able to wash it safely with water. Put it back after dry.
    – GC 13
    Jan 2, 2020 at 17:23
  • I used an antibacterial wet wipe as mentioned in the answer below.. it did do the trick but your method sounds something I'd definitely try next time I'm binging breaking bad with french fries, thanks GC
    – Sujay
    Jan 3, 2020 at 4:46
  • Sounds good. Feel free to upvote the comment if you find it helpful.
    – GC 13
    Jan 5, 2020 at 23:48
  • My rep on this site seems too low for upvoting comments, Sorry.
    – Sujay
    Jan 6, 2020 at 4:35

2 Answers 2


Yes - use a household cleaning wet wipe such as Dettol antibacterial cleansing surface wipes, but do it carefully initially - they start out quite wet, so clean the back and flat areas first to remove a little of the moisture before cleaning round, between and over all the buttons. I do this regularly with all my remote controls to keep the bacterial/viral load down even if they haven't got obvious food smeared on them.

  • If you take out the batteries and wait for any capacitors to discharge, there should be no power remaining to zap itself. Of course, replacing batteries when circuits are still wet would be unwise. :)
    – Lawrence
    Dec 28, 2019 at 2:12
  • 1
    I never remove the batteries from mine, and I clean them monthly as a matter of course... never had a problem, so long as I follow the method I described.
    – Bamboo
    Dec 28, 2019 at 11:53

Believe it or not, electronic circuits aren't instantly ruined when they come into contact with water. There are two primary problems with getting electronics wet:

  • the water probably isn't pure distilled water alone, but has plenty of dissolved minerals (just take a look at the "dry residue" breakdown of a bottle of mineral water) that, once the water on your electronic circuit evaporates away, are left behind upsetting the conductivity/introducing paths for current to flow where there were formerly none

  • for circuits that feature a battery supplying power to the circuit at the time it gets wet, the now-wet circuit board forms a mini electrolysis experiment (because the water contains dissolved salts it's slightly conductive and when a current is supplied, parts of the circuit form anodes and other parts form cathodes) that causes some parts of the circuit to corrode, and other parts to suffer deposits of material. Left long enough a powered circuit in water will become ruined

It would be perfectly possible, even with complex electronics like a cellphone, to remove the circuit boards, wet them with distilled water, dry them out promptly and have them survive. The problem you'll have in just dunking your battery-less remote in the sink is that the water won't be distilled, and even if it were, it will rapidly become contaminated with tomato ketchup and no longer be pure water, but if there were enough water then the concentration of dissolved salts wouldn't be very high.

Most of the remotes I have come apart with a couple of screws; I'd open it up, remove the circuit board and then thoroughly wash the rest of the case. If that's not possible for you, remove the batteries and using a wet cloth hold the remote so the dirty part is facing down, clean it thoroughly keeping it held that way (gravity helps prevent water running inside it) then bang it on the desk a few times to knock the largest water droplets off and leave it to dry out. Remember that if you get water inside the case it will take longer to dry; leave it somewhere warm. It's not a train smash if it gets wet inside, as noted, so long as the water is relatively clean and free of dissolved salts. If it gets a lot of dirty water inside (because you do decide to wash it in the sink) then give it a good rinse with clean tap water then another rinse with distilled water (to wash the salty tap water off), and leave it to dry completely before putting the batteries back in.

It'll be fine; when my old XBOX clock capacitor leaked everywhere and wouldn't power on, I had no choice but to wash the circuit board in the sink with dish soap and a toothbrush , then rinse with tap water (distilled wasn't available) and used compressed air to blow the tap water off. It still works, 6 months on

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