Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons should not be cleaned with alcohol

As expected, different people respond differently to the COVID-19 threat and advice on how to keep yourself and your family alive. Unsurprisingly, the opposite extremes are the ones highlighted in the media. On the one hand, you have your devil-may-care people who laugh and cough in the face of danger. And there's the other kind who will obsessively wipe down every surface with alcohol. If you're the latter and own a Switch, Nintendo has just one piece of advice for you: don't.

The CDC and many health authorities recommend regularly wiping down surfaces that get exposed to a lot of people or those that you take out with you when you need to go. Some have taken that as a license to wipe every surface with disinfectant wipes or wipes with alcohol, regardless of the material the surface is made of. That may indeed be deadly for the virus but according to one of the world's biggest console makers, it's also deadly for your Nintendo Switch Joy-Con.

Nintendo Japan's customer service responded to questions on Twitter about cleaning the handheld's controls with the recommended material. It explained the Joy-Con's plastic parts may fade in color or even get deformed using such abrasive materials. For console modders, that's nothing new. For people trying to survive both quarantines and COVID-19, it's a dilemma.

Nintendo's recommended way to clean Joy-Cons simply wiping them with a soft dry cloth, which does nothing to kill any virus that may be sticking around. Owners now practically have to choose between keeping their consoles looking pristine or ensuring their own health and safety.

Of course, if you aren't going out much, the chances of the virus sticking to your Switch is even lower. That's no assurance, however, especially if you and the Switch get exposed to people who might have brought something along with them. The decision is entirely in owners' hands, literally and figuratively, and many will hopefully consider that a faded but completely functional Joy-Con is still easier and cheaper to replace than a hospital bill or their lives.