How to Clean n64 Cartridge?

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The Nintendo 64 game cartridges may be too dirty if your game does not work. You can quickly fix this by cleaning them, and if you don’t know-how, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s take a look at how to clean an N64 cartridge.

How to Clean n64 Cartridge?

Because of their grooves, game cartridges are prone to attracting dust, debris, and lint, which may cause malfunction after prolonged use and no maintenance.

Before cleaning the N64 cartridge, make sure you follow all of the procedures for disassembling it. A mistake at this point could cost you the cartridge itself.

Console with a Super Mario N64 in the Cartridge Slot

Step #1: Disassemble n64 Cartridge

This is the first step to help cleaning it efficiently, quickly, and thoroughly. 

  • Using a 3.8 mm Gamebit screwdriver, separate the cartridges and the panels to break apart two parts of the former.
  • Access the circuit board by removing the shielding.

It’s super essential to be delicate and follow the right procedure when disassembling the N64 cartridge

Step #2: Clean the n64 Cartridge

Once you disassemble it, start cleaning. You can do it in three different ways.

Method #1: Try an Air Duster

Even though there is a warning against it, it will work. 

  • Blow the length of your N64 cartridge slot using an air duster.
  • Try and see if the game plays after that.

Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t work. That’s because it is more of a maintenance procedure than a cleaning method. It removes dirt and germs that often harbor themselves in the insertion slot.

If you don’t have an air duster, go ahead and use your mouth to blow. However, avoid sending too much moisture while at it since it can destroy the game in the long run.

Method #2: Use Alcohol

This method is more effective than the other one. Grab these tools to get started:

  • Alcohol
  • Cotton swabs

Once you have them, follow these steps:

  1. Damp the cotton swab with alcohol but ensure that you only use a small amount.
  2. Insert the damp cotton swab in the N64 cartridge insertion gap.
  3. Use the cotton swab to scrub the interior of the N64 cartridge as well.
  4. Swipe them along with the copper contacts of the cartridge.
  5. Continue replacing one cotton swab with the other until it remains clean despite swapping it in the N64 cartridge.
  6. Once all dirt is out, let it dry for 5 to 10 minutes.
  7. Try the game to see if it works.

Tips when using the method:

  • Don’t use too much alcohol when dampening the cotton swab.
  • Rectangular motion when wiping the copper contacts.
  • Be firm yet careful during the entire cleaning process.
  • Don’t use a hairdryer to dry the cartridge.

Method #3: Use Metal Polish

This method is similar to that of using alcohol but relatively effective. The necessary tools are:

  • Metal polish such as Brasso
  • Q-tips Cotton swabs

Once you have them, follow these steps:

  1. Add just two drops of the metal polish on your Q-tips cotton swab.
  2. Insert the damp cotton swab in the N64 cartridge insertion gap.
  3. Scrub the interior of the N64 cartridge using the cotton swab.
  4. Ensure to run it through the copper contacts of the cartridge too.
  5. Continue this process by replacing the cotton swab until one comes out clean 
  6. Try the game to see if it works.

Tips when using this method:

  • A pencil eraser can make the process faster
  • Later, use one dry Q-tip cotton to remove dirt, dust, and any other particles that may have built up.

Step #3: Reassemble Your n64 Cartridge

Once it is clean, this is how you restore it:

  • Return the metal shield and screw with a screwdriver to cover the pins and the circuit board.
  • Put the metal shielding back to one-half of the cartridge.
  • Once in, put the two cartridge halves back together.

This video will guide you deep clean your N64 cartridge.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Clean the n64 Cartridge Circuit Board Effectively?

To clean the N64 cartridge circuit board, use a bottle of electronic dust remover to clear debris and dust off the board. As you spray it, maintain a distance of 9 – 12 inches between the remover and the circuit board.

How Do You Clean the n64 Cartridge Pins?

To clean N64 cartridge pins, all you need is rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab. Damp the latter using the former and clean the pins thoroughly.

What Should I Avoid When Cleaning the n64 Cartridge?

You should never use Windex when cleaning a N64 cartridge. This is because it will leave deposits on the N64 cartridge contacts. Similarly, it also avoided when cleaning stained glass as Windex can be too strong. Equally important, don’t use sandpaper because it will destroy it.


You don’t need to throw away your Nintendo game just because it is not working. Instead, clean it using the above methods, and don’t forget that some are more effective than others.

As you clean, heed the advice and don’t ignore the tips. Never forget the dos and don’ts when cleaning an N64 cartridge, lest it does more harm than good.