How to Clean Your Nintendo Switch Games Safely


Keep your Nintendo Switch cartridges in good condition with these steps.


The Nintendo Switch uses a cartridge format for its games. This gives them a much longer lifespan compared to game disks. If a game disc is scratched or creased, that data is permanently missing from the game and cannot be replaced.


While Nintendo’s cartridges are certainly more durable than game discs, they still need care to function properly. That means you need to clean and care for them just like you would any other valuable item.


How do I know when to clean my Switch games?

Since the Nintendo Switch is a portable system, you will most likely take your Switch games with you as well. This can lead to them getting dirty over time if you’re not careful.

A good way to avoid this is to buy a case to carry your Switch and games in. Check out the best travel cases for Nintendo Switch if you’re in the market.

If your Nintendo Switch game cartridge is dirty, your system cannot read the data properly. You may find the game freezes, performance drops, or doesn’t work at all. If your game cartridge is too dirty for your Switch to read, you may see a notification on your screen stating that the game card could not be read and that you should remove and reinsert it.

Close-up of someone playing the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode

But that doesn’t mean your game is broken. You can easily clean your Nintendo Switch game cartridges and get them working again in no time.

How do I safely clean a Nintendo Switch game cartridge?

Cleaning your Nintendo Switch game cartridges is easy, but you must be careful to ensure you don’t risk long-term damage to your game. To safely clean your Switch games you will need:

  • rubbing alcohol.
  • A Q tip.
  • A dirty game cartridge for Nintendo Switch.

Accessories needed to safely clean Nintendo Switch games with alcohol and cotton swabs

Using a lower rubbing alcohol means there is more water in the formula. This water can become trapped in your game cartridge and damage it. Because a high percentage of rubbing alcohol evaporates very quickly, it’s much safer to use on your game cartridges.

Once you have your supplies, to safely clean your Nintendo Switch game cartridges, all you have to do is dip your cotton swab in a very small amount of rubbing alcohol and gently rub the contacts. These are the pieces of metal on the back of your game cartridge that your Switch uses to read the game data.

Gently rub the Switch game with a cotton swab tip to safely clean it

After removing dirt and debris from the contacts, rub them with the dry part of the cotton swab to remove excess liquid. Then let the game sit for a few hours to ensure it is completely dry before playing.

Keep your Switch games in pristine condition by keeping them clean

Dirt and debris on your game cartridge’s contacts means your Nintendo Switch may not be able to read your game properly. But with just a cotton swab and rubbing alcohol, you can get your dirty Nintendo Switch cartridges back to working order in no time.