Deep Cleaning a Game Boy Color

January 23, 2022
2 minutes

I’ve been using my old Game Boy Color a lot more now that I’m programming a GB game, so I wanted to clean up the handheld! This tutorial is the culmination of a few YouTube videos from The Retro Future and Odd Tinkering. I liked a lot of their tips, so I decided to add them and my own to this post.

GBC Before Cleaning



  1. Unscrew the 4 Tri-Wing screws on the back of the GBC 1.5. Unscrew 2 more screws under the batteries
  2. Remove the back plate
  3. Unscrew the 3 Phillips screws holding the motherboard
  4. Disconnect the screen’s ribbon cable from the top of the motherboard
  5. Lift the motherboard out of the casing
  6. Slide the IR cover and power switch slider out of the case
  7. Remove the buttons and membranes
    • D-pad
    • A + B
    • Start + Select
  8. Lift the screen out of the case
    • It comes loose by flexing the chassis back and forth
  9. On the back plate, unscrew the 4 Phillips screws holding the cartridge slot
  10. Slide the metal battery contact out of the case

Disassembled GBC



  1. Dip the cotton swabs in isopropyl alcohol
    • If the board is really dirty, use the tooth brush to scrub with the alcohol
  2. Clean everything on the motherboard with the swabs
    • Focus on the metal connectors
    • Thoroughly clean all button contacts
  3. Clean the surface of the speaker
  4. Dab alcohol around the volume dial and power switch
    • Actuate them to spread the alcohol inside
  5. Use alcohol to clean the headphone jack
  6. Swab the battery terminal with alcohol


  1. Prepare a hot soapy water to submerge the case
  2. Wash and brush the plastic in the water
  3. Clean the speaker holes
  4. Scrub the plastic screen protector


  1. Wash the buttons and their rubber membranes in the water
    • Use a toothbrush to clean
  2. Also clean the IR cover

Battery Contact:

  1. Let the metal battery contact sit in vinegar until it shines like new


  1. Read the Disassembly section backwards 😂
  2. Screw in a sequence that evenly distributes the force


GBC After Cleaning

Now that the GBC is all cleaned up, it should last a few more decades!