How to Clean Gunk Off of an Optical Computer Mouse
This wikiHow teaches you how to clean an optical mouse. An optical mouse has a light on the bottom that senses changes in position. Cleaning your optical mouse at least once per month will mitigate problems like stuttering, failure to track, and clicking issues.
Gather your equipment.To clean your optical mouse, you will need the following items:
- Q-tip or microfiber cloth- For cleaning gunk off of the mouse. If possible, use a microfiber cloth since it won't leave behind fibers like a Q-tip will.
- Isopropyl alcohol- For cleaning and sanitizing.Do notuse a different cleaning agent (e.g., Windex)—if you don't have isopropyl alcohol, use water.
- Clean, dry rags- For dusting and drying.
- Toothpicks- For cleaning out the dust and other matter in the crevices around your mouse.
- Screwdriver- To open your mouse's top. Check your mouse's manual or model number online for specific disassembly requirements.
- Tweezers- Optional, but helpful if you want to remove specific pieces of grit from sensitive places (e.g., the mouse's circuit board).
Unplug your optical mouse from your computer.This will prevent the mouse from shocking you if you accidentally touch an electrical component, and it will also prevent the mouse from shorting out if you spill liquid near it.
- If the mouse is battery-powered, remove the battery before continuing.
Wipe the whole mouse down with a dry cloth.This is just to remove any excess dust or grime from the mouse's exterior. You can also dampen the cloth with water if your mouse is sticky or exceptionally dusty.
Run a toothpick around any crevices in the mouse's body.Doing so will pry out any grime that might be causing problems.
- For example, running the toothpick beneath the buttons will potentially remove grit that prevents the buttons from depressing the whole way.
Flip the mouse over.You should see the following things:
- Feet- Little rubber pads in the corners or sides of the mouse's underside.
- Sensor- A red or green light covered in plastic or glass.
Chip away any residue.Using a toothpick, pry up anything that your initial wipe didn't get ride of.
Dip your Q-tip or cloth in isopropyl alcohol.You'll use this to wipe down the dirty parts of your mouse.
Wring any excess alcohol out of your Q-tip or cloth.Your cleaning tool of choice should be lightly damp, but not dripping.
Dab any dusty or grimy areas.Places to clean include the following:
- The mouse's feet
- The sides of the mouse
- Any crevices that you cleaned with a toothpick
Apply alcohol to a clean Q-tip or section of cloth.It's extremely important to use a clean surface whenever moving from one component to another.
Gently swab the mouse's sensor.Don't jab the sensor—instead, brush it with the tip of the Q-tip or a corner of the microfiber cloth. This will wash away any residue or particles that interfere with the mouse's tracking.
Let the alcohol dry.Isopropyl alcohol shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes to finish evaporating. If it does, you can use a dry Q-tip or microfiber cloth to pat away the excess.
Remove the top of the mouse.This step will vary depending on your mouse's manufacturer; some mice have a top that simply pulls up and away, while others require the removal of a screw. Check your mouse's manual or model number online to see exactly how to disassemble it.
Apply alcohol to a fresh Q-tip or cloth, then wipe down the inside of the buttons.The inside of the top of the mouse can easily gather skin cells, residue from food, dust, hair, and much more, so give these buttons a good cleaning to clear out as much gunk as possible.
Remove any foreign matter from the internals.You'll likely find hair or small specks of grit in the following places:
- The mouse wheel
- The top of the circuit board (use tweezers for this)
- the front of the mouse's body
Reassemble your mouse once everything is dry.Five to ten minutes after wiping everything down, put your mouse back together and give it a final inspection. It should be completely clean by now.
Clean your mouse pad.It doesn't matter how clean your mouse is—if your mouse pad is dirty, you'll have inconsistent performance and uneven tracking from your mouse. You can clean your mouse pad by wiping it down with a wet rag, or you can use a lint brush or roller to remove hair and dust.
- If you do use a lint roller, you'll likely have to wipe down the mouse pad afterward to prevent sticky residue from forming.
QuestionIs it okay to unscrew the bottom off of the optical mouse to clean inside?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, as long as you're careful when doing so.Thanks!
QuestionCan you do this without rubbing alcohol?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAbsolutely! Rubbing alcohol is the preferred cleaning solution because of its quick drying time and lack of residue, but water would be an acceptable substitute. If you do use water, make sure you only use a little bit at a time (you shouldn't see pools of water on your mouse), and pat any wet spots dry when you're done cleaning a part before moving on to the next.Thanks!
Unplug the mouse from the computer, and then wipe its entire surface clean with a dry cloth. Use a toothpick to pry dirt and grime from the plastic, including all crevices. Dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol and use it to remove stickiness and grime from the mouse's underside, including the sensor. Remove the mouse’s top cover, and then use another alcohol-dipped swab to remove all debris from the inside.
- If you have a cheap optical mouse that won't click anymore or that won't track properly, consider just buying a new one.
- If you use a higher-end optical mouse (e.g., a Razer), you might want to take it into a tech department to have it fixed rather than pulling the top off yourself. High-end mice have much more complex inner workings than their simpler counterparts.
- Be careful when using any kind of liquid, including isopropyl alcohol, around the mouse. Getting excess liquid on the mouse will harm it.
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The wikiHow Video Team tested these instructions during filming, and everything worked perfectly.
Mar 27, 2019
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