How to clean a Fightstick

I recently went over to a friend’s house to play some street fighter V. As usual, I’m kicking his ass when, from the corner of my eye, I see a familiar object.

It’s a Mayflash F300 fightstick but it looks pretty beat up. You see, my friend isn’t a stick player, he plays on the pad, so it was a surprise to see a fightstick right there in his living room.

What was even more surprising was the condition of the stick. The fightstick was filthy, covered with scratches/marks and what I could only describe as residue.

“When did you get this?”

“A couple of days ago from eBay. it doesn’t work.”

“Why, what’s wrong with it?”

“The buttons stick and the joystick is messed up.”

On closer inspection of the stick and by testing it out, I could confirm this was the case. Luckily, I knew exactly how to fix it.

“Looks like it needs a deep clean.”

“Will that really make a difference? Anyway, I only paid like 15 bucks for it, just leave it, I’m going to give it back.”

“Yes, it will make all the difference. I’ve had this happened to me before. Let me take it home and it will be as good as new.”

After taking the fightstick home, I gave it a deep clean. It was now working as good as new.

I returned the fightstick to my friend who was extremely pleased and probably embarrassed at how simple the solution was. He’s now happily using his fightstick — although he still has a long way to go before he can beat me.

It’s clear that my friend’s fightstick was a rejected stick that the previous owner had no intention of cleaning or maintaining — which is kind of sad.

Hopefully, your fightstick is in much better condition. If not, don’t worry, in this article, I am going to break down exactly how to deep clean your fighstick and how to properly maintain it.

Why you should clean your fightstick

Apart from obvious aesthetic reasons, there are also practical reasons for cleaning your fightstick.

Firstly, to prevent the buttons from sticking. Yes, this is a common problem after long term use. You’d be surprised at actually how much dirt and dust get can in the buttons.

Its a similar story with the joystick. Having a dirty joystick means it can become less responsive over time. And that’s not good if you want to have the quickest responses from your stick, especially when playing online.

Finally, I don’t know about you, but I take pride in my fightstick. It’s an expensive piece of kit and so deserves to be properly maintained.

How often should you clean your fightstick

Honestly, it depends on how much you play. If you’re playing for a few hours a day, then you’re more likely to get your fightstick dirty. If you’re playing only once in a while, then it is less likely to get dirty although, depending on how you store it, it may get dusty.

As a general rule, I would say give your fightstick a deep clean every 12-18 months. After that, you can dust off your fightstick weekly to prevent any buildup of dirt/dust.  In my experience, this has been a good rule of thumb to follow.

What should I use to clean my fightstick?

You shouldn’t need anything more than a damp microfibre cloth and maybe some compressed air to clean the inside.

Is alcohol safe to use on my fightstick? I would personally avoid using alcohol to clean your fighstick. It can cause damage to plastics. If you’re fightstick has plexiglass then I would recommend using plexi cleaner solution to clean the glass.  

If your fightstick has residue that is hard to get rid of with just plain water, make a solution with 10 parts water and 1 part alcohol and then use that. This shouldn’t cause any damage to the stick.

How to clean your fightstick method

Ok, let get started. Have a damp (water) microfiber cloth ready and make sure that it’s damp and not wet. As with cleaning any electronic, water could damage the hardware.

The first thing we have to clean is outside of the fightstick. Let’s start with the joystick.

  1. First off, if your arcade stick is quite dusty use the compressed air to blow away the dust. Make sure you get all parts of the stick.
  2. Take your damp cloth and gently wipe over the joystick, buttons, front/back and sides of the stick.
  3. Now to clean the inside. You’ll want to open up the fightstick so you can get inside.
  4. Take your compressed air and blow on the inside of the stick to get rid of any dust. Do not blow on it yourself, this could create moisture which could damage the electrics.
  5. If you’re feeling confident, you could take apart the buttons and joystick and give them a clean with your cloth. Although this step is optional.
  6. Close up your fightstick, give it a final wipe on the outside and enjoy your shiny clean arcade stick.

If your buttons were sticking before this deep clean, just hit them about 50 times. They should now be fixed.

How to prevent your fightstick from getting dirty and maintaining it

I think it goes without saying, but keep it clean. Wipe down the stick about once a week. Avoid spilling water, coffee or anything like that on your stick.

If possible, store your fighstick in a bag. Any plastic bag will do, although I know this isn’t always convenient. If you regularly clean your stick then you won’t have to do this.

I know I make it sound like a chore but it really isn’t. Just do a deep clean every 12-18 months and a wipe down every week and your stick should be well maintained.

In the end, these fightsticks are solid pieces of kit that should be cared for properly. Your fightstick will thank you for it.