How to Clean your Mouse

by: Ray Geide
If your mouse is working sluggishly or not at all, don't go out and buy another cheap mouse. The cause is probably just a dirty mouse. A quick cleaning could fix the problem.

First, you need to identify which kind of mouse you have. If you turn your mouse over and part of a ball is showing, you have a ball mouse. If you see a lens, you have an optical or laser mouse. Each type of mouse requires a different type of cleaning.

The optical or laser mouse does not need to be cleaned near as often as the ball mouse, but it and the surface it runs on can still get dirty. If you do not clean the surface that the mouse moves on, it will soon turn black. So about once a month or so, wipe the surface off with a wet rag. The lens probably never will get dirty, but if it does, take a soft cloth, cotton swab, or q-tip wetted with window cleaner or alcohol and clean the lens.

The ball mouse may need cleaning quite often, so you should get well acquainted with the following cleaning procedure. The dirtier the ball mouse gets, the harder it is to get it to move the cursor on the screen smoothly. If you have to move the mouse across the mouse pad several times to get the cursor to move halfway across the screen, it needs to be cleaned.

The mouse does not need to be disconnected to clean it, but you should close all of the programs that are running, so that you don't accidentally click on something and mess it up. If you do decide to disconnect the mouse, be sure to turn off the computer first. The mouse cord should never be unplugged from the computer while it is running. Doing so could ruin your motherboard.

Turn the ball mouse over and find the cover that holds the ball in. Look for arrows on the cover to show which way it needs to be turned. Place two fingers on the cover and push in the direction of the arrows. Once the cover has been turned about an inch, cover it with your hand and turn the mouse back over to the upright position. The ball and cover should fall into your hand. If it doesn't, shake the mouse gently.

Wipe the ball off with a wet rag.

Now look in the ball well and find the three rollers. Start by cutting across the buildup on the rollers with your fingernail (a knife or steel dental pick may also be used gently), then turn the roller and remove the buildup as you go along. If you do this correctly, you will end up with one curled strip of buildup for each roller. Make sure to remove the buildup from the well. If it falls inside somewhere, blow and gently shake it until it comes out.

Take a wet rag and clean each of the rollers by wiping across it, then turning it and wiping again. Continue until the entire roller is cleaned. Put the ball back in the ball well and lock the cover back in place.

If the mouse still has problems once it is assembled, try cleaning it again. If that doesn't work, you may need to buy a new mouse.

It is a good idea to regularly clean the surface that the mouse is on because the cleaner the surface, the less dirt will get inside the mouse and the less often you will have to clean it.

If your mouse is shared by many people (especially if one of them is sick), you may want to disinfect the top of the mouse between users.

Follow these instructions and your mouse will be up and darting again in no time.