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How to Clean a Mouse

A Mouse on a computer can sometimes play up and become a bit sticky or not move around properly on the screen. So here's some helpful advice on how to fix it is this happens.

Firstly, if it's a laser mouse with a glowing light underneath, just give it a wipe with a cloth, and don't try to open it up and clean the ball and rollers, as it has no such components inside! The rest of this page is about cleaning mice which have a heavy rubber ball inside.

Put the computer into a state such that doing things to the mouse can't affect it. "Off" will do.

Turn the mouse upside down and find out how to get the ball out. Sometimes there is a rotating clip and sometimes a slot which moves, but there are usually instructions in the form of lines and arrows to help you to get the ball out.

The mouse ball is actually a steel ballbearing covered in rubber.

Clean the ball, making sure it's equally rough all over. You can even wash this with soap and water, but make sure it's been dried properly before putting it back in the mouse!

There's something more important than cleaning the ball. Take a look inside the mouse and you'll see that where the ball fits there are rollers. Usually there's one for the horizontal movement and one for the vertical movement. After a few weeks of use these can get covered in fluff which forms in a clump in the middle of the roller. It's easy to remove the fluff with manicure equipment, or a small screwdriver, or cotton buds. Make sure both rollers are clean and can rotate smoothly.

Also, it's worth checking any other items inside the mouse, for a example a rolling wheel or bearings. These just need a brief checking-over. It's the rollers which are the most important parts.

If you feel like blowing the dust out, this may be worth doing too. There's no shame in there being dust in a well-used computer mouse. On a slightly different topic, if it had been a violin and had accumulated dust inside over many years this would be considered a positive thing as it would show it was a genuinely interesting old instrument. Ironically, such a dust ball inside a violin, viola, or other stringed musical instrument, is known as "a mouse". If your violin has a mouse in it, don't lose the mouse!

Meanwhile, back to the computer mouse: Having given the rollers a good clean and checked them over to make sure they rotate smoothly, put the ball back in, and put the lid back on again. The mouse should now function much better and probably won't need cleaning again for a few weeks.

For cleaning many other computer components and other things too, an old toothbrush is quite useful. Just put a label on it so it doesn't get used for teeth!

Cleaning a mouse may seem a bit of a faffing-about job, but it's more satisfying and more environmentally friendly than just chucking out the old mouse and putting a new one in. Besides, if you haven't got time to clean your mouse, what's gone wrong with your lifestyle?! Time to take things a bit easier, maybe.

Many other helpful pages exist at this website which is well worth having a good look around if you have the time. See a full list of thousands of pages, some of them very odd, at the full site index