The best way to Sanitize a VR Headset

Aleksey Boyko/

VR’s immersive experience sometimes means immersing your face in a big cocktail of gunk and germs. Either your own, or someone else’s! Since VR headsets are such personal devices, it’s a good idea to keep them sanitary.

Why You Need To Sanitize Your VR Headset

Your headset might not seem too dirty just by looking at it, but there’s probably more here than meets the eye. VR headsets come into contact with your face and hair, leaving behind oils and other debris that can accumulate over time.

Additionally, if the headset is not cleaned regularly, bacteria and other germs can build up on the surface, leading to health problems if the headset is shared with others. Regular cleaning and sanitization can help keep your VR headset clean and hygienic, making it more comfortable and safe.

Materials Needed for Cleaning VR Headsets

Before you can get started on cleaning your headset, you’ll need some cleaning materials suitable for the job:

  • Mild soap or similar cleaning solutions
  • Soft cloths or wipes
  • Cotton swabs or toothpicks (optional)

Make sure to use a mild soap or cleaning solution safe for use on electronics. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as these can damage the headset. Additionally, it is important to use soft cloths (like microfiber cloths) or wipes to clean the headset, as rough or abrasive materials can scratch the surface of the headset. You may also want to use cotton swabs or toothpicks to clean hard-to-reach areas.

To clean the lenses on a VR headset, you will need a cloth suitable for cleaning lenses, such as those provided by an optometrist. We don’t recommend using any chemical cleaning agent unless explicitly approved by the headset maker. The lenses are most likely treated with a coating that may interact adversely with isopropyl alcohol or even with glass cleaning solutions that would be fine in other contexts.

The General Cleaning Process

Each headset is a little different from the next, so it’s impossible to give highly specific instructions when cleaning them. However, you can follow some general steps to clean your VR headset.

Turn off and unplug your VR headset before cleaning it. On a battery-powered headset, it’s still a good idea to turn it off, although you should be extra careful not to get moisture into any ingress points, such as seams between plastic panels or USB ports.

Gently brush away any visible dirt or dust using a soft, dry cloth. Avoid using abrasive materials as they may scratch the surface of the headset.

If the headset is particularly dirty, you can gently use a slightly damp cloth to wipe down the surface. Be sure to wring out the cloth well first to avoid getting any water inside the headset. Avoid getting any liquid or moisture inside the headset, as it could cause damage to the electronics.

If your headset has a removable faceplate, it may be possible to wash this faceplate and let it dry separately from the main headset. Refer to the headsets documentation to confirm if the removable faceplate is washable. The porous cushioning material in some faceplates can harbor bacteria and other nasty stuff, so sanitizing the faceplate is a key concern.

Gently wipe the lenses in a circular motion, taking care not to scratch them. Start from the middle of the lens and circle outwards. It’s most important to clean the center of the lens since this is where you’re usually looking. Use a purpose-made lens cleaning cloth such as you would get from an optometrist for cleaning prescription lenses.

Warning: Be careful not to use too much pressure when cleaning the lenses, as this can damage them.
Closeup of a person's hands cleaning the lenses of a virtual reality headset.Kira_Yan/

After cleaning, allow the headset to dry completely before using it again.

Tips For Maintaining a Clean VR Headset

Swappable face plates or silicon face covers are a good idea when sharing VR headsets because they can help to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. By using swappable face plates or silicon face covers, you can easily and quickly replace the part of the headset that comes into contact with your face, which can help to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria between users. You may even consider buying a faceplate for each user sharing a headset.

CNBEYOUNG VR Face Cover For Quest 2

This cover prevents the foam pad of the Quest 2 from getting soaked in sweat. All you have to do is wipe down the silicone cover before handing the headset to someone else or putting it away.

Make sure to clean the headset regularly, at least once a week or as frequently as required. If you’re doing daily VR exercise routines or active VR games, it’s probably best to wipe your headset down at the end of every session.

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Always Follow Manufacturer Guidelines

The cleaning advice we’ve given in this article should apply to most VR headsets and electronics. However, specific manufacturer advice for your specific headset will always take precedence!

There may be unique aspects or features of your headset that requires special care not mentioned here. Likewise, your headset manufacturer might recommend using certain cleaning solutions on their lenses, which could damage other models.

In short, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging your equipment and voiding your warranty.

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