How do I clean my GoPro SD card slot?

Keeping your GoPro’s SD card slot clean is important to ensure your camera continues capturing crisp, clear footage and photos. A dusty or dirty SD card slot can cause connection issues between the camera and memory card, potentially corrupting files or making them unreadable.

What causes a dirty SD card slot?

There are a few common causes of a dirty GoPro SD card slot:

  • Normal wear and tear – After repeated use, dust and debris can build up inside the slot over time.
  • Using the camera in dusty/dirty environments – Using your GoPro for outdoor sports or activities can expose the SD card slot to more dirt, sand, or mud.
  • Inserting dirty SD cards – An SD card fresh with dirt or debris on it can transfer some of that into the camera’s card slot.

How can I tell if my SD card slot is dirty?

Here are some signs that your GoPro’s SD card slot may need cleaning:

  • SD card not fitting properly or ejecting itself – Dirt buildup can cause improper connections.
  • Error messages about the SD card – Errors like “SD card error” or “SD card locked” can indicate a dirty slot.
  • Corrupted files – Videos/photos not properly saving or appearing corrupted/unreadable.
  • Visible debris inside the slot – Peer inside the slot and look for any obvious dust or dirt buildup.

How should I clean the SD card slot?

Here is the recommended process for safely cleaning your GoPro camera’s SD card slot:

  1. Power off the camera – Always make sure your GoPro is powered off before inserting any cleaning tools into the SD card slot.
  2. Use compressed air – Use a can of compressed air (ideally one made for cleaning electronics) and spray it a few times into the SD card slot. The powerful air will help dislodge any loose debris inside.
  3. Insert a dry cleaning card – Use a dry cleaning card, which is made of a special material that cleans inside card slots as you insert/remove it. Insert it in and out of the slot several times.
  4. Use isopropyl alcohol – Dampen a cotton swab with some isopropyl alcohol and carefully insert it into the SD slot, twisting gently to clean. Let it fully dry before using again.
  5. Check for any remaining debris – Visually inspect the SD card slot again for any remaining dirt or dust that needs removed.

Tips when cleaning your GoPro SD card slot

  • Take your time and don’t force anything into the slot to avoid damaging it.
  • Only use cleaning solutions designed for electronics – avoid water or household cleaners.
  • If compressed air or a cleaning card don’t fix the problem, try isopropyl alcohol on a cotton swab.
  • Ensure the slot is fully dry before reinserting an SD card.
  • If debris is lodged deeply in the slot, you may need to take it to a camera repair shop for service.

How can I prevent future buildup in the SD card slot?

While periodic cleaning will likely be needed after prolonged use, you can take steps to prevent excessive buildup of dust, dirt, and debris in your GoPro’s SD card slot:

  • Always close the housing door when not swapping memory cards.
  • Avoid changing SD cards in excessively windy or dusty conditions.
  • Gently wipe down SD cards to remove loose dirt before inserting into camera.
  • Keep the camera stored in a protective case when not in use.
  • Use compressed air to blow out the slot occasionally after very dirty shoots.

When should I seek professional cleaning/repair?

If you’ve tried the cleaning methods mentioned in this article but your GoPro’s SD card slot still isn’t functioning properly, it may be time to enlist the help of the professionals. Here are some instances when you’ll want to take it to an official GoPro repair center or camera shop:

  • Visible physical damage or bent pins inside the SD card slot.
  • Significant dirt/debris buildup that you cannot remove yourself.
  • Moisture or liquid damage inside the camera housing.
  • Camera not recognzing SD cards at all, even after cleaning attempts.
  • You accidentally inserted a foreign object into the SD card slot.

Specialized camera technicians have the proper tools and expertise to safely clean and repair sensitive components like the SD card reader. This is definitely the way to go if DIY cleaning methods have failed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to use compressed air to clean my GoPro?

Yes, using compressed air is generally safe for cleaning a GoPro SD card slot, provided you follow precautions. Make sure to only spray short bursts from a decent distance away. Also, never tilt the can itself – hold it straight up to avoid propellant dripping into the camera.

Can I damage my GoPro if I insert something into the SD slot?

Possibly yes. You never want to insert anything hard, sharp, or abrasive into your GoPro’s SD card reader, as this risks causing scratches or damage. Stick to soft, non-abrasive cleaning tools designed for this purpose.

How can I dry out my GoPro after getting it wet?

If your camera housing has gotten moisture inside, power off the camera immediately and remove the battery and SD card. Wipe down the housing exterior with a dry cloth and allow the inside to fully air dry for at least 24 hours before reinserting the battery or memory card.

Should I use a can of compressed air made for computers?

Yes, a can of compressed air designed specifically for cleaning electronics like computers and cameras is recommended. General compressed air may contain additives you don’t want sprayed onto sensitive camera components.


Keeping your GoPro camera’s SD card slot clean is an important maintenance task for capturing flawless footage and photos. Remember to be gentle when cleaning, don’t force anything into the slot, and use specialized cleaning tools and solutions designed for the job. Refer to this article any time your GoPro’s SD card reader needs a quick cleaning!