VR headsets allow us to insert ourselves into incredible experiences and games, but that does come at the cost. Aside from the occasional nausea, there’s also sweat, hair, and dust that can get trapped in the headset during usage… and that’s without even factoring in the current pandemic, so you’ll definitely want to know how to clean your VR headset thoroughly.
Since it’s something you’ll be in close contact with your extended periods of time, it’s incredibly important to keep the VR headset, and any controllers you’re using, clean and sanitary. The best VR headsets are expensive, so it’s worth looking after them to increase their longevity too. Still, with so many expensive components, some high-quality lenses, and plenty of buttons, it can be tricky to work out how to give your VR setup a clean safely.
All headsets should be powered down before you start cleaning. If your headset is wired, be sure to unplug it first. If your headset comes with a glasses “spacer,” such as the Oculus Quest 2, be sure to remove that and clean it, too.
You’ll also want to check the manufacturer’s guidance for cleaning. Some will recommend using more specific methods on certain parts, whereas this guide is more of a general overview. Use the two in conjunction, just to be safe.
Finally, we’d also recommend washing your hands before you start cleaning and do the same once you’re done. In fact, this is a good practice to get into when using your headset in any case. Nitrile gloves are also handy when cleaning, but they’re not a must.
Use your alcohol-free wipes to wipe around the headset, paying close attention to the parts that come into contact with your face during use. That includes all around the “eye” portion, with a focus on the nose part, too.
With external cameras on VR headsets, use the microfiber cloth approach to ensure no smearing of the sensors.
We’d also recommend focusing on the front of the headset, particularly the top and the bottom of the outer shell. This is because it’s here that you’ll likely put your hands on the headset to put it on or remove it.
If your headset has a fabric head strap, you can still use your alcohol-free antibacterial wipes on those, but you’ll need to leave the fabric to dry out completely before using again. We’d advise against leaving the VR headset to dry outside, since direct sunlight can wreak havoc on the lenses.
Speaking of the lenses, don’t forget to use the microfiber cloth we recommended earlier. Using this will help minimize friction on the lens, while still picking up anything that may be there. It doesn’t matter what brand of headset you’re using, the cleaning process is the same whether you’re looking to clean Oculus lenses or your Valve Index’s lenses.
Use circular motions rather than up and down strokes, starting at the center of the lens and gently working your way outwards. If your lens has dirt or marks that requires a bit of assistance to remove, you can also look at camera lens cleaning fluids, though these can be a little pricey.
It’s also worth remembering that whether you have a fancy stand for your VR gear, or you’re just setting it on a table, it’ll collect germs from those surfaces, too. With that in mind, be sure to give those areas a clean regularly.
If you don’t use your VR headset all that often, consider a carry case, or even the original box as a place to store it away from bacteria. In fact, this will also help keep it out of direct sunlight, helping ensure the sensors and lenses last longer.