do you know how to clean the mouse sensor? We’ve all been there when our mouce start behaving strangely in the middle of a game or office work. We know how frustrating it can be! It is usually caused by the accumulation of dirt and grime, whether it is dry or sticky, disables your mouse sensor and makes it sluggish.
Whether you use a mechanical or optical mouse, wired or wireless, they are all susceptible to the accumulation of dirt and grease from the trackpad, mouse, and palms. So when the movement becomes sporadic and it starts jumping for no reason, you know it’s time to clean the mouse sensor.
Before we start learning how to clean the mouse sensor, let’s briefly look at how the mouse sensor works and why it’s so important to keep it clean.
Work of an optical and mechanical mouse
In the case of an optical mouse, it depends on light (integrated light-emitting diode) to track the movement of the cursor. It uses an optical sensor and LED light to move the cursor. The differences under the mouse lens are captured as the mouse moves. The direction and movement are also calculated.
When an external object such as hair or dust particles get in the way of light communicating between the LED and the sensor, it results in an expected or sudden behavior.
The mechanical mouse, on the other hand, uses a set of three rolling sensors to calculate direction and movement. It is the inner ball that makes the rollers turn. Each scroll sensor is calculated at a different angle, and when these scrolls rotate, it creates electronic signals.
When dust particles get in the middle of the rolling sensors that detect the movement of the mouse, this affects the movement of the mouse. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure that the sensors and rollers in the mouse remain clean.
How to clean the optical mouse sensor
Compared to a traditional ball-oriented mouse, the optical version requires less maintenance. Even then, sometimes you need to clean it thoroughly to keep it in good condition. It only takes about five minutes to clean, so make it a point to do it at least once a month to make sure it works properly. Here are some steps that can help you:
Turn off the computer and unplug the mouse cable from the USB port for the wired models. This prevents unfortunate accidents. For the wireless models, you can skip the first step.
Then flip the mouse and look for the area where you can find LEDs and lenses. Use a dry cloth to gently blow dust and dirt away from this room and clean it well. If there is smearing, use a cotton ball to gently rub the smudge on the lens.
You can take and run it around the slots in the mouse to remove dirt. Also, remember to run it under the mouse buttons to get rid of gravel that prevents it from working well.
Now examine the area that the mouse is working on, and if you find an intricate pattern under the mouse, it will be difficult for sensors to determine the exact movements.
Take a cotton swab and dip it in isopropyl alcohol. Wring out the excess liquid and then wipe the outside of the mouse with it to remove stubborn traces of dirt that stick to the body. The most important areas to be cleaned include mouse feet, sidewalls, and any cracks.
Take out the top of the mouse. However, check the manufacturer’s details and instructions before doing so. Some mice come with tops that can simply be pulled out or removed with a screw. So always check before disassembling the device.
Inside the mouse, a lot of skin cells, dust, hair, and residues accumulate from food that can be easily removed. Use an earplug or cotton ball to clean the cluster as much as possible.
You will find dirt in the mouse wheel, the top of the circuit board, and the front of the mouse body. Use tweezers to remove the strands of hair that are stuck inside the circuit board. When finished, allow the parts to air dry a bit before reassembling them.
If you use a mouse pad, we strongly recommend that you replace it every year to keep it clean. You can clean it by simply wiping it with a wet cloth or using a lint brush or roller to get rid of dust particles and strands of hair.
How to clean a mechanical mouse sensor
If you use a mechanical mouse, here are the steps to help you keep it clean and always work in optimal condition:
Start by turning off the computer and disconnecting the mouse from the USB port. Then rotate the mouse to clean the lower part of the mouse.
Remove the baseplate that holds the ball and remove it completely. Now use a damp cloth to wipe the ball and remove traces of dust and dirt.
To clean the sensors inside the mouse, we suggest using tweezers and a can of air. You will see a lot of dirt accumulated around the rollers. A knife will be handy for removing the stubborn dirt.
Also remember to clean the cavity around the ball to remove traces of hair, food debris, and nails. When done, restart the ball and reconnect the mouse.
Long-term safety precautions for your mouse
As with any electronic product, you can only ensure a longer life if you take good care of the product. Here are some safety precautions that you can follow to ensure that the mouse lasts a long time.
You need to make sure that the mouse battery is always out. If you are using a wired mouse, always remove the cord from the USB port on your computer.
Never spill liquid in the area where you store the mouse, and also be careful not to spill it near the charging hole. If there is an excess of fluid in this area, the mouse will be damaged.
Although this is a common practice, we strongly recommend that you avoid cleaning the mouse using rubbing alcohol. This not only removes paint from your mouse but also causes a lot of damage. Read the tips below for more information on how to keep the mouse sensor clean.
Tips for cleaning the mouse sensor
We suggest you clean the mouse at least once every month or every 20 days to prevent problems like error tracking, stuttering, and click issues. If you use more frequent mice, you may need to clean more often.
If you are using a low-budget mouse that does not work well even after cleaning thoroughly, consider buying a new one. A poorly functioning mouse can take away the fun from your gaming experience and make your work frustrating.
If you use a good quality mouse, we would suggest that you take it to the service center to have it fixed instead of trying to repair it yourself. Even the good-quality mouse tends to slow down after a while, but you can adjust it by changing the settings.
For a slow-moving mouse, open System Preferences and then go to Mouse. This helps you change scrolling direction, sensitivity, smart zoom, and tracking system speed. As you increase the tracking speed, the cursor tends to move faster than the movement of a physical mouse. When playing with the settings, this can help you adjust the sensitivity to suit the requirements.
Should I avoid snacking while working with a mouse
Using a mouse while snacking means that you are transferring the food and oily residues are accumulating on the mouse. Although it is better than avoiding this practice, try to clean the mouse once a week to keep it disinfected and clean if it even requires you to snack while working.
Can I use cloths to clean a mouse?
Yes, there are cleaning wipes, such as Lysol or Clorox wipes, that you can use to thoroughly clean an entire mouse. While these wipes are safe to use, always follow the steps above to clean the inside thoroughly. If you regularly clean the mouse with a damp microfiber cloth, there is no sign of dust, dirt, and residue.
What is the best way to disinfect a mouse?
If you want to use a disinfectant for your mouse, we suggest you choose a solution that is 99% alcohol. Using anything stronger can result in damage to the mouse.
How often can you clean an optical mouse?
Keep in mind that an optical mouse can be extremely sensitive, so do not mess with it too much when it comes to cleaning. While it is important to clean and disinfect, overdoing it can cause more harm than good.