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How to fix controller drift on the Switch Joy-Cons

Let’s face it, the Nintendo Switch isn’t the most durable console Nintendo has ever produced. I bought my Switch at launch in 2016 and after more than 400 hours of Warframe, my left stick began intermittently drifting left. The controller could be reset momentarily by tapping the stick, but soon it became a full-time drift to the left.

I set the grey Joy-Con aside and bought a cheaper HORI Mario-themed replacement with a D-Pad, but I missed the feel of Nintendo’s official Joy-Cons. After doing some research on how to fix Joy-Con drift, I found out that WD-40 makes a specialty electronics contact cleaner that fits the bill. You can buy a can of WD-40 Electrical Contact Cleaner on Amazon for less than seven bucks and fix your controller drift today.

Step One: Get Electrical Contact Cleaner

Get a can of WD-40 Electrical Contact Cleaner. I bought mine on Amazon for less than $7 after looking at Walmart and not seeing it in the hardware section. If you’d rather pick it up locally, specialty stores like Fry’s or Staples may have it available.

Have the troublesome Joy-Con unattached from the Nintendo Switch console before you start. The contact spray may go everywhere if it’s not positioned properly and you want to minimize contact with it on the actual console.

Step Two: Lift The Joy-Con Flap

See that thin little piece of plastic that sits underneath the Joy-Con stem? That’s supposed to keep out all the dust and detritus of carting your Switch around with you all day. But I never take mine out of the house, I hear you shouting. Don’t worry, that little flap is pretty much worthless at doing its job. Eventually, you’ll encounter Joy-Con drift if you use your Switch enough.

To apply this fix, you’ll need to lift that little plastic flap.

I used a toothpick to lift this flap so I could insert the straw that came attached to the WD-40 can.

Step Three: Apply WD-40 Contact Cleaner

With the straw in position and the can held up right, I gave it a small blast and then rotated the stick around. I left the Joy-Con alone for about five minutes to let the solution dry. The contact cleaner removes any dust and dirt that may have made it below the little worthless plastic flap we lifted. Then I went into the Switch’s Settings to have a look at the calibration menu.

Previously, the gyro would consistently pull to the left on is own. After applying the WD-40 Contact Cleaner, my Joy-Con drift problem was fixed. I re-calibrated the stick and now it doesn’t move at all.

If you have a set of Joy-Cons you’ve set aside before you’re experiencing Switch controller drift, then give this fix a try. Keep in mind that you will likely need to apply the fix periodically to keep the contacts clean. Rumors suggest Nintendo may be releasing a Switch that doesn’t include detachable controllers, which might address this problem. Until then, this electrical contact cleaner is your best friend.

I’m going to buy a used Blue Joy-Con from GameStop now. I was afraid to do so before for fear of getting stuck with one that has a pronounced drift issue. With this Joy-Con drift fix, I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

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