How to clean an optical computer mouse

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How to clean an optical computer mouse
How to clean an optical computer mouse

An optical mouse has a light sensor that senses changes in position. Clean your optical mouse at least once a month to fix response latency issues or click issues.


Clean Gunk Off of an Optical Computer Mouse Step 1

Step 1. Gather your materials

To clean your optical mouse, you will need the following items.

  • A cotton swab or microfiber cloth to clean the mouse (if possible, use a microfiber cloth that will not leave fibers unlike a cotton swab).
  • Isopropyl alcohol (to clean and sanitize). Do not use another cleaning agent (eg glass cleaners) if you don't have isopropyl alcohol, but take water instead.
  • Clean, dry rags (to dust and dry).
  • Toothpicks to clean up dust and other residue that has accumulated in the hollows around the mouse.
  • A screwdriver to open the mouse cover (check the user manual or the model number on the internet for how to disassemble it).
  • Tweezers (this is optional, but it can be useful if you want to remove pieces of dirt stuck in sensitive areas, for example in the mouse circuit board).

Step 2. Unplug your mouse from your computer

This will prevent you from taking a “juice shot” if you accidentally touch an electrical component, and it will prevent the mouse from shorting if you spill liquid nearby.

If the mouse is battery operated, remove them before continuing

Step 3. Wipe the mouse with a dry cloth

This only serves to remove the surface layer of dust or dirt. You can also moisten the cloth if your mouse is sticky or particularly dirty.

Step 4. Pass a toothpick through the hollows

This will allow you to loosen the accumulated dirt which may cause problems.

For example, run the toothpick under the buttons to remove the layer of dirt that prevents you from pushing the button all the way in

Clean Gunk Off of an Optical Computer Mouse Step 5

Step 5. Flip the mouse over

You should see the following things:

  • the feet, that is, small rubber stamps in the corners of the mouse;
  • a captor, either a green or red light covered with plastic or glass.

Step 6. Remove residue

Still using a toothpick, remove anything that you could not remove with the cloth.

Step 7. Dip your cotton swab or rag in isopropyl alcohol

Use it to wipe dirty parts of your mouse.

Step 8. Wring out the excess alcohol from your cotton swab or rag

Your cleaning tool should be slightly damp, but should not drip.

Step 9. Scrub dusty or dirty areas

Clean the following areas:

  • mouse skates;
  • the sides;
  • the hollows you cleaned with the toothpick.

Step 10. Apply alcohol to a clean cotton swab or piece of cloth

It is extremely important to use a clean surface when moving from component to component.

Step 11. Gently clean the sensor

Do not lightly tap the sensor. Rub it with the end of the cotton swab or with a corner of the microfiber cloth. This will help remove any residue or particles that interfere with the tracking of the mouse.

Clean Gunk Off of an Optical Computer Mouse Step 12

Step 12. Let the alcohol dry

Isopropyl alcohol should not take more than two minutes to evaporate. If so, use a dry cotton swab or microfiber to soak up the excess alcohol.

Step 13. Remove the top of the mouse

This step is not the same depending on the manufacturer. On some mice you just need to pull on this part while on others you have to remove a screw. Check the user manual or the model number on the internet to find out exactly how to disassemble it.

Step 14. Apply alcohol to a cotton swab or rag

Then try the inside of the mouse buttons. Skin cells, food residue, dust, hair, etc., can build up under mouse buttons. Clean to remove as much of this residue as possible.

Step 15. Remove foreign material

You will surely find hairs or small specks of dust in the following places:

  • wheel;
  • the printed circuit (in this case, use the tweezers);
  • the front of the mouse.
Clean Gunk Off of an Optical Computer Mouse Step 16

Step 16. Reassemble your mouse once all of the items are dry

Five to ten minutes after you've wiped everything down, gather your mouse and inspect it one final time. It should be quite dry.

Step 17. Clean your mouse pad

Even if your mouse is clean, it won't perform as well if your mouse pad is dirty. You can clean your mouse pad by wiping it with a damp cloth or you can use a brush or lint roller to remove accumulated hair, hair and dust.

If you use this tool, you may need to wipe down the carpet afterwards to prevent any glue from remaining


  • If your optical mouse is inexpensive and you can't click or move it properly on the screen, consider purchasing a new one.
  • If you are using a high-end optical mouse, instead have it cleaned by a specialist rather than taking it apart yourself. High-end mice have more complex technology than others.

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