How do I clean my HTC Vive?

The face cushion on your HTC Vive gets awfully close to you and everyone else who wears it. Think about the bacteria, sweat, and makeup that's not only transferring from one person to the next, but is also forming gross layers that just stay on the cushion from one day to the next. Stop the microbial madness, people; start cleaning that headset before the germs take over your VR fun.

What's it made of?

The face cushion on your HTC Vive is a foam-padded strip that surrounds the upper portion of your face: around your hairline, your eyes, and cheekbones and towards the bridge of your nose. Basically, it covers all the areas that are most prone to sweat. The three-point adjustable head strap is made of flexible fabric that secures with strips of velcro, and that gets pretty grimy, too.

Cleaning the face cushion

Simple water and a clean cloth are the best tools you can use for cleaning the cushion, since chemicals can damage the integrity of the foam. Gently scrub the foam with cool water and a non-abrasive cloth, but do not submerge the cushion in water; making a habit of soaking it will cause the foam to dry out and harden over time, resulting in a less-than-comfortable cushion. Let it air dry completely before wearing the head set again, and don't be tempted to do something crazy like take a blow dryer to it. Just don't.

Cleaning the head strap

The head strap on the HTC Vive is pretty involved; it's all up in your hair (or all over your scalp, if hair isn't your thing these days). Either way, that's a fairly greasy zone, and that means the strap should be cleaned regularly.

You can use the same cool water and clean cloth that works for the face cushion. An alternative cleaning method would be a non-abrasive, alcohol-free antibacterial wipe; if you use wipes that scrub too hard or contain alcohol, you run the risk of removing color from the strap or drying out the fabric so that it stiffens too much.

Cleaning the lenses and camera

No matter how delicate you try to be when putting the headset on or removing it, you're probably going to end up with fingerprints and particles on the lenses. Nobody needs to deal with those distractions when they're trying to enjoy an immersive experience, so let's just get rid of them.

The go-to tool for lens and cleaning on the HTC Vive is a microfiber cloth. As a rule, you should begin from the center of the lens and work your way out to the edges in a circular motion. In the case of the HTC Vive, you can use a damp microfiber cloth if you really need to clean like it's going out of style; dampen it with either cool, clean water, or with an alcohol-free lens cleaner solution.

Cleaning the controllers

The best thing to use to get hand grime off of your controllers is a non-abrasive, alcohol-free antibacterial wipe, the very same kind you may have used to clean the head strap. If you're in a hurry to play again right after cleaning, use a dry paper towel to absorb any moisture that may remain on their surface.

Extra helpful tips

If you regularly clean and maintain your HTC Vive, you'll stay ahead of the possible bacteria nastiness that comes from wearing something on your face for hours on end. There are a few more things you can do:

  • Remove your makeup before putting on the headset, especially foundation.

  • Wipe your face with a cosmetic, skin safe antibacterial cleansing cloth and let it dry before you play. The bonus to this is you're not only stopping bacteria and sweat from transferring onto the face cushion, you're stopping your pores from clogging with grime while you play.

  • If you know you're going to play some pretty intense games for a prolonged period, wear a sport headband to keep sweat from dripping down your forehead and into the face cushion.

  • Consider buying a VR headset cover. A number of companies have begun to manufacture cotton covers for face cushions that are removable and machine washable.

  • Invest in the right accessories, such as headphones, for a totally immersive experience.

Squeaky clean machine

How do you keep your HTC Vive sparkling new? Share your tips in the comments below!