This wikiHow teaches you how to clean an optical mouse. An optical mouse has a light on the bottom that can detect changes in position. Cleaning your optical mouse at least once a month can help reduce stuttering, tracking, and clicks.
Step 1. Gather your stuff
To clean your optical mouse you need the following products:
- Cotton swab or microfiber cloth - For cleaning gunk from the mouse. If possible, use a microfiber cloth as it will not leave any fibers on it, such as a cotton swab.
- Isopropyl alcohol - For cleaning and cleaning. Usage no other cleaning agent (such as Glassex) - if you don't have isopropyl alcohol, use water.
- Clean, dry cloths - For dusting and drying.
- Toothpicks - For removing dust and other particles from the seams in your mouse.
- Screwdriver - To remove the cover from the mouse. Check your mouse manual or model number online for specific disassembly instructions.
- Tweezers - Optional, but useful if you want to remove specific bits of grit from sensitive areas (e.g. from the mouse circuitry).
Step 2. Unplug your optical mouse from your computer
This prevents the mouse from shocking you if you accidentally touch electrical components, as well as possible short circuits if you spill liquid on it.
If the mouse is battery powered, remove the battery before continuing
Step 3. Wipe the entire mouse with a dry cloth
You do this simply to remove the excess dust and dirt from the outside of the mouse. You can also dampen the cloth with water if your mouse is sticky or exceptionally dusty.
Step 4. Run a toothpick along any seams in the mouse
This will allow you to pry off any dirt that could be causing problems.
For example, by rubbing the toothpick under the buttons, you may be able to remove debris that prevents the buttons from being fully depressed
Step 5. Flip the mouse
You should see the following:
- feet- Small rubber pads in the corners or along the sides of the bottom of the mouse.
- A sensor- A red or green light covered with plastic or glass.
Step 6. Pick off residue
Use a toothpick to remove any dirt that you didn't get rid of with the first sweep.
Step 7. Dip your cotton swab or cloth in isopropyl alcohol
You use this for wiping the dirty parts of your mouse.
Step 8. Wring the excess alcohol from your cotton swab or cloth
Your preferred cleaning tool should be slightly damp, but not soaking wet.
Step 9. Dab dusty or dirty areas
Clean the following areas:
- The feet of the mouse
- The sides of the mouse
- Any seams you cleaned with a toothpick
Step 10. Apply alcohol to a clean cotton swab or area of the cloth
It is extremely important to use a clean surface when moving from one component to another.
Step 11. Carefully remove the sensor from the mouse
Do not push the sensor - brush it with the tip of the swab or a corner of the microfibre cloth. This will remove any residue or particles that interfere with the tracking of the mouse.
Step 12. Let the alcohol dry
Isopropyl alcohol evaporates in a few minutes. If it takes longer, you can wipe the rest with a dry cotton swab or microfibre cloth.
Step 13. Remove the cover from the mouse
This step depends on the mouse brand -- some mice have a top that you can just lift on and off, while others require you to unscrew the cover first. Check your mouse manual or look up the model number online to find out how to disassemble the device.
Step 14. Apply alcohol to a fresh cotton swab or cloth, then wipe the insides of the buttons
The inside of the mouse's lid quickly collects skin cells, food scraps, dust, hair and more, so give these buttons a good clean to get rid of as much gunk as possible.
Step 15. Remove anything from the inside that doesn't belong
You are likely to find hair or small grit in the following places:
- The mouse wheel
- The top of the circuit board (use tweezers for this)
- The front of the body of the mouse
Step 16. Reassemble the mouse once everything is dry
Five to ten minutes after cleaning all parts of the mouse, reassemble it for the final check. The mouse should now be completely clean again.
Step 17. Clean your mouse pad
It doesn't matter how clean your mouse is - if your mouse pad is dirty, it will impact performance and mouse tracking will be erratic. You can clean your mouse pad by wiping it with a damp cloth, or use a clothes brush or roller to remove hair and dust.
If you're using a clothes roller, you'll probably need to weigh the mouse pad afterwards to prevent a sticky residue from forming
- If you have a cheap optical mouse that no longer clicks properly or whose tracking falters, you can consider buying a new mouse right away.
- If you have a more expensive optical mouse (for example, a Razer), you can have it checked by a repair service, instead of taking the cover off yourself. Advanced mice have a much more complex interior than their simpler counterparts.