Purchasing the latest gaming console is always exciting. However, serious gamers know that the same passion they invest in playing should find its way into console maintenance. There’s nothing enjoyable about having a dirty, dust-covered console or controllers that are sticky and unresponsive due to excessive wear. How you care for your gaming console now will play a huge role in determining its performance in the future. Fortunately, there are five easy ways to keep your shiny new console protected.
1. Keep Beverages Out of the Play Area
Keeping your console protected starts by limiting what you allow near it. Although there’s probably nothing better than playing your game while munching on your favorite snacks and sipping on a cool beverage, a single spill can leave your gaming equipment unusable. Establish firm rules about eating and drinking near your gaming console and be sure to follow these rules yourself. If you host gaming parties or other events that bring lots of people into the area, set up a separate snack table so that no one is tempted to bring food and beverages over.
Although this is a simple, obvious strategy for avoiding console damage, it’s one that countless gamers overlook. Consoles are regularly lost as the result of spilled beverages. Sudden exposure to large amounts of soda or other liquids can short circuit a console’s electronic parts and cause permanent damage.
2. Install a Surge Protector
All costly electronics and appliances need surge protection. Without it, your console could be damaged by a sudden power outage. When storms and other events cause the power in your home to go off, the sudden return of the power supply may cause electrical problems.
Surge protectors keep gaming consoles shielded from these events. They also protect consoles from regular, minor disruptions in the power supply. For instance, weather events that cause your lights to flicker but don’t actually make the power go off are causing short, rapid, and repeated power surges that gradually undermine the health of electronic equipment. If you’ve got lots of expensive gaming equipment to protect, you may even want to consider investing in whole-house surge protection.
3. Protect the Console’s Casing
A console’s casing is its first line of defense against airborne particulates like dirt, dust, dander, and pollen. It’s also what makes it look good. When shopping for your gaming console, you likely had access to a variety of sleek, colorful designs. However, far better than limited-edition looks are protective coverings like Xbox Series X Skins.
These coverings are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Often sold as part of console bundles, these additions add an extra layer of protection to a console’s hard exterior. With one in place, you can avoid scuffs, dents, cracks, and other impact or abrasion-related problems. You can also limit the amount of dirt that’s able to get onto your console’s interior components.
4. Clean the Inside and Outside of Your Console
Covering or no covering, it’s always a good idea to wipe your console down from time to time. You can do this with a soft microfiber cloth. If there’s an excessive amount of dirt to remove, you can lightly dampen your towel. You should additionally use a cotton swab to remove dirt and grime from any fan openings and crevices. To clean the interior of the console, invest in a can of pressurized air. Compressed air will blow dirt out of areas that you cannot reach with your cotton swab or towel.
One of the most difficult parts of a gaming console to clean is its Blu-Ray/DVD/CD player. Given that you should never touch the lens inside of this component, you want to avoid cleaning it manually. Instead, look for a good CD cleaner and use it once every six to 12 months according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Store Your Console on a Hard, Stable Surface
Not only is it important to keep beverages and other liquids away from your console, but you also want to make sure that the console itself is stored in an appropriate location. Don’t place your console on a carpeted floor or on any other soft surface. This can cause the unit to overheat. Storing it low to the ground may result in the unit being accidentally kicked or knocked over.
Consoles should always be installed on hard, stable surfaces. The area that you choose should also be relatively clean and dry. Storing these units in dusty areas or in areas with high levels of humidity will affect their performance and diminish their lifespans. Finally, make sure that your console isn’t too close to any heat-generating appliances. For instance, if you keep a lizard or any other reptile in your home, you don’t want the tank and its heat-generating lamp to be within close distance of your console.
Any outside factors that might cause your gaming console to overheat should be moved or permanently turned off. Keep in mind that any console placement that puts your gaming equipment in direct sunlight for a large portion of the day will prove detrimental as well.
You can always get console-specific maintenance instructions from your owner’s manual. However, regular cleaning, proper placement, and good casing protection should be the foundation of your ongoing console care. With these strategies, you can keep your gaming console looking good and performing optimally.