Solution 2: Contact Cleaner

What You’ll Need:

  • The offending Joy-Con
  • A small pair of tweezers
  • Electrical contact cleaner

This is an effective solution for many, and the great thing is it doesn’t involve opening up the Joy-Con. You’ll be using contact cleaner – ironically also known as 'switch cleaner' – to eliminate any tiny blockages or build-ups inside the stick mechanism itself.

You'll need to make a trip to your local hardware store or online equivalent if you don't have any in the house - do not be tempted to use any old aerosol, grease or lubricant. REPEAT: DO NOT spray random chemical compounds into your Joy-Con! Use electrical contact cleaner.

1. Detach the Joy-Con from the console and hold it so you can see the ‘stem’ of the stick. There’s a rubber ‘skirt’ that rests over the spherical mound that goes inside the controller – use a pair of tweezers to gently lift this ‘skirt’ (steady).

2 1 Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Left Stick
Image: Nintendo Life

2. You should be able to see the white plastic of the internal mechanism inside (skip to Solution 4 if you want a clearer picture of what's going on inside the stick unit). Using the contact cleaner, spray a tiny drop or two inside using the tube that came with the cleaner. DO NOT use too much as there's very little space for the cleaner to evaporate inside. If in doubt, use less than you think you need.

2 2
Image: Nintendo Life

3. Now massage the stick in all directions to get the cleaner all over those internal contacts. AVOID pressing any buttons as you do this. After a minute of massaging, leave the controller in a well-ventilated area to dry out for a couple of hours.

4. Hopefully this will have dislodged any debris and returned the Joy-Con to full working order. Test the controller and repeat if necessary.

If this has done the trick, you can get back to your favourite game. If the stick is still drifting, more drastic measures are required…