How to Wipe a Memory Stick Completely Clean

Updated February 21, 2017

When you delete a file from a memory stick, is it really gone? Not really. Deleting a file simply destroys the memory stick's map to locating the file. Until another file is placed on top of the original file, it is still there. Over time, these undeleted files can slow down the performance of your digital camera. Deleted files and photos can also be a security risk should you ever lose or want to get rid of your memory stick. But you can completely wipe the stick clean to improve its performance and get rid of sensitive information.

Place the memory stick into your camera to wipe it clean. Wiping a memory stick with a camera will keep it compatible with the camera. If you use a computer to wipe down the memory stick, you may experience problems including corrupt disk sectors or camera compatibility issues.

Open the camera's menu.

Select "format" from the list of camera options. Formatting completely wipes the memory stick. The camera will ask you if you are certain that you want to format. This is to prevent you from accidentally formatting your card and losing desirable files.

Work the right and left arrow buttons on your camera's interface until "Y" is highlighted.

Select the button marked "enter." The camera will format your memory stick. When the camera has finished formatting the memory stick, it will present a message that states that the stick is formatted.


You can also clean a memory stick or memory card using a third-party program such as Media Wiper.

Things You'll Need

  • Memory stick
  • Digital camera
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About the Author

Tracy Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Arkansas.