How to clean a PS4 without breaking it

A dusty PS4
(Image credit: Future)

If the fan on your PS4 sounds like it’s running into overdrive, it’s likely time to learn how to clean a PS4. This is something all gamers dread, but eventually must face. With everyday use, more and more dust will settle on your PS4, both outside and within. And as it accumulates, the performance of the console will suffer — overheating at the pinnacle of the best PS4 games

The difficulty is, to get at and remove this dust, you need to be prepared to take your PS4 apart. But, with everything being so fragile and exact, it's no wonder it’s an unnerving task. The good news is that it can be done, and with the right method and guidance, it’s not as tricky as you might think. Here, we will take you through everything you need to know about cleaning a PS4, so you can approach this task with care and confidence. Here’s how to clean a PS4.     

How to clean a PS4 

A photo of the PS4 and tools needed for cleaning it

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
What you'll need

Microfiber cloth

Compressed air

T8 or T9 screwdriver

Phillips screwdriver

A cotton swab

Before we take you through the steps, it’s worth flagging that as soon as you start dismantling your PS4 to clean the interior, you will void the warranty. So, if your PS4 is overheating within the warranty period (usually a year), contact customer service rather than cleaning it yourself. 

You also need to be aware that the steps are different depending on whether you have an original PS4, a PS4 Slim or a PS4 Pro. And to further complicate matters, there’s a second version of the original PS4 that was made after September 2015 and which is slightly different again. The photos here are for the first original model, but we’ve indicated where the steps differ for the others.

1. First, make sure that your PS4 is switched off and all cables are disconnected from the console’s body. 

2. Next, you want to clean the outside of your PS4. To do this, take your can of compressed air and spay bursts of air into each of the ports, front and back, as well as the vents. Make sure you keep the can upright as you spray and keep your distance so you don’t spray moisture into the PS4. If you don’t own a can of compressed air, we recommend Falcon Dust, Off Compressed Gas ($7.39, Amazon).  

A photo of the PS4 showing compressed air being sprayed into the ports

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

3. Next, run a dry microfiber cloth along the surfaces of your PS4 to get rid of obvious dust. While you have this cloth to hand, wipe the surface and around the area where your PS4 sits as well. This clears away any potential dust your PS4 may collect once back in place. 

4. Now comes the tricky part: cleaning the internals. First make sure you’ve cleared some space and have a good source of light to see what you’re doing. 

5. If this is your first time cleaning your PS4, and you have an original PS4, you’re going to need to remove the warranty stickers from the rear, not least because you'll also need to remove the screws beneath them. Remember, if it’s still under warranty, contact customer services rather than cleaning the internals yourself. If it’s still under warranty, it shouldn’t need cleaning.

6. If you have an original PS4 as pictured here, you should notice four screws on the rear of the console, beneath the warranty stickers. These hold the outer case in place, so unscrew these using a T8 or T9 Torx screwdriver — we recommend Teckman ($6.59, Amazon). Then safely keep them together and set them aside.

If you have a later original PS4, there's just one sticker and one screw. If you have a PS4 Slim or PS4 Pro, there are no screws.  

A photo of the rear of the PS4 with the screws that need removing highlighted in green circles

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

7. If you have either of the original PS4s, you'll need to turn the PS4 upside down so it's resting on its top. You should now be able to remove the base of the console by pulling the corners and edges away; this might take a little work, but don't force it. 

For PS4 Slim and PS4 Slim, keep the console the right way up and gently slide off the outer casing from the front of the console.  

A photo of the PS4 showing the case lifted up

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

8. Before setting the case aside, carefully wipe any dust away from its inside using your microfiber cloth. 

A photo of the PS4 showing the dusty case

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

9. If you own a later version of the PS4, you should now be looking at a large metal plate from the top. If you own an original console, you'll be looking at the base and will see a combination of plastic casing and the power supply, with the fan visible. 

10. Gently place your finger on the center of the fan to keep it in place, then spray a couple of short bursts from the compressed air into the fan to dislodge dust. It’s important that you keep the fan in place during this process, as forcing it to spin can damage the hardware.

A photo of the PS4 showing the fan

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

11. For the PS4 Slim and Pro, you'll need to use a Phillips screwdriver to remove the plastic case covering the metal plate at the back of the console. This should expose the smaller metal plate. Remove this too using your T8 or T9 screwdriver.

12. Now you should be looking at the full metal plate covering the majority of the surface. Remove the screws holding this in place and carefully lift away. 

13. If you own an original PS4 console, you’re going to have to remove the power supply to fully access the internals. Simply remove the five screws as pictured (they're in slightly different place on the later version), gently lift it out and set it safely aside, being sure not to disconnect the power cable. 

A photo of the PS4 power supply with the screws that need removing highlighted in green circles

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

A photo of the PS4 showing the power supply removed and the heatsink exposed

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

14. Whichever console you have, you should now be able to see the inside of your fan and the full internals. Use compressed air to carefully and gently spritz dust away in short bursts from the components, although be sure to temporarily lodge something in the fan, such as a cotton swab, to prevent it from turning. Try to aim the air so as to blow dust up and out of the fan and components. Aiming into the heatsink is also a good idea (the grille you can see exposed in the below photo). 

A photo of the PS4 showing compressed air being blown into the heatsink

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

15. Leave the console to air-dry for about an hour before reassembling.   

And there you have it, your PS4 should run much more smoothly and quietly. Don’t forget to clean the area it sits in regularly to stop dust from building up as quickly. 

How to clean a PS4 controller

A photo of a dirty PS4 DualShock controller

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Thankfully, cleaning a PS4 controller is much more simple. First, disconnect any cables, then blow compressed air all over the controller to remove any immediate dust. Be sure to reach into awkward areas such as the ports and around the analogue sticks. Then wipe it over using a dry microfiber cloth. If it’s particularly sticky or stained, you can dampen the cloth, but make sure to avoid the ports so moisture doesn’t get into the internals. Leave it to fully dry before reusing.  

When should I clean my PS4?  

You should clean your PS4 when it’s out of warranty and is showing signs that it’s full of dust. This includes noise from the fan, overheating and eventual hardware failure. That’s why it’s important that you take time to give your PS4 some TLC every so often. There’s no specific guidance on how often to clean it, just as and when necessary. Although one clean should last at least a year. 

Can I clean a PS4 myself?

You absolutely can, but be aware that if your PS4 is still under warranty, you will void it by cleaning the internals. A PS4 shouldn’t have gathered enough dust to require cleaning while it’s still under warranty, so contact customer service instead to get it looked at. If you’re too nervous to clean your PS4 yourself, you can try asking local repair shops if they’re willing to do it for you.  

Can you clean a PS4 without taking it apart?

You can clean immediate dust from the surface and ports of your PS4 as well as your controllers. However, if dust has built-up inside the console, and is causing it to overheat, it needs taking apart to clear it out.   

If you have keyboards that need deep cleaning, you can look at our guide how to clean a mechanical keyboard next.

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.