How To Clean A Mouse

You’d be surprised at just how much dirt and filth can build up around your mouse. Given that it’s something you touch every day, there’s plenty of opportunity for bacteria and germs to get stuck to the surface and build up inside the mechanisms.

How To Clean A Mouse

That’s why cleaning your mouse is so important and should be done regularly to maintain proper hygienic conditions at your desk.

This is our definitive guide to the best possible methods for cleaning your mouse and keeping it fresh!


The first thing you absolutely must do is unplug your mouse if it has a wire. The last thing you want is to be cleaning electronic equipment while there’s a current still flowing through it.

Similarly, if you have a wireless mouse, you should certainly remove the batteries for the same reason.

Some of the other equipment you’ll need is paper towels, canned air, a toothpick or sharp skewer and alcohol wipes. If you can’t find all of these things, don’t worry- there’s probably a similar item you can substitute just laying around your home.

Step By Step Process

  1. The first thing you’ll want to do is lay out your paper towels or a cloth to catch any dirt in so it doesn’t get all over your desk or table. Once you’ve prepared your working area, you can get started with cleaning.
  2. Use a toothpick or sharp skewer to dig out any obvious bits of dirt and gunk that could have built up between the mouse buttons and its casing. Commonly, you’ll find that most of this dirt builds up around the mouse wheel, between the two buttons, and in the space between the buttons and the side casing. It’s very important to remember that you shouldn’t use any sharp objects like these on the sensor at the bottom of the mouse as this can cause serious damage to the way it works.
  3. Now, you’ll want to use your can of compressed air to blow out any leftover dirt and gunk in these little crevices. Of course, you can just blow with your mouth, but this won’t be nearly as effective and runs the risk of getting the dirt in your mouth. If you are using a can of compressed air, you should make sure it’s set up properly so you don’t end up spraying liquid all over your electronic mouse!
  4. Finally, use the alcohol wipes to wipe down the surface, aiming to remove any leftover dirt and grease. Again, you should avoid using this for the bottom surface of the mouse, where the sensor is. This surface is probably the least likely to pick up dirt from your hands so it isn’t really necessary to clean this thoroughly. Also, using any kind of liquid around the battery or any removable compartment is generally a bad idea.

It really is that simple! This whole process shouldn’t take more than five minutes and doesn’t necessarily require any fancy equipment.

Mouse Cleaning Kits

As well as cleaning your mouse manually, using the method we’ve outlined above, you can also purchase mouse cleaning kits online that provide all the necessary brushes and tools you’ll need to do some routine cleaning.

Most kits will consist of a series of brushes in different sizes and strengths. The smallest ones will be good for clearing out some of the dirt that gets stuck in between the parts of your mouse, but others can be good for cleaning other parts of your setup.

Computer keyboards accumulate a similar amount of dirt to mice and can require a similar manual cleaning process. Many of the brushes included in these kits can be used effectively on keyboards as well- helping to clear out some of the more noticeable dirt on the surface, between the keys.

What Is The Stuff That Builds Up On Your Mouse?

Be prepared, this is pretty gross! The gunk and dirt that builds up around your mouse mostly consists of dead skin particles and flakes of hair.

Unknowingly to anyone, skin can flake off of you while using your mouse and latch onto it. These particles build up over time and end up producing a layer of stuff that becomes visible after a while.

Similarly, grease from your hands and fingers can produce an almost invisible layer on the surface of your mouse.

Whilst this type of dirt often isn’t an issue for the working condition of the mouse, it can make it less hygienic and spread bacteria more easily throughout your home or office.

Can You Use Water To Clean A Mouse?

Using water to clean a mouse is pretty much always a bad idea. Computer mice are made up of some pretty complex electronic systems that don’t react very well to water so you generally shouldn’t combine the two.

You should absolutely never submerge your mouse fully in water as this would likely destroy it completely.

How Often Should I Clean My Mouse?

There’s no set guidelines for how often everybody should clean their mouse and it’s largely down to how often you use it.

For example, if you use your mouse consistently, every day, you might want to clean it once every couple of weeks to ensure it stays clean and has a long lifespan.

However, if you don’t use it often, you could get away with not cleaning your mouse for months at a time. The best indicator for when you should clean your mouse is when you start to see a visible build up of dirt on the surface.

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Mouse?

The majority of people who use mice, even on a regular basis, don’t ever bother to clean them. That’s because a build up of dirt won’t have any real effect on how well it works until it builds up a serious amount.

Eventually, you might notice that the mouse buttons and scroll wheel will stop being as responsive as they used to be. This is always a good indication that it needs to be cleaned.

Similarly, if the sensor on the bottom of your mouse becomes too covered in dirt, a quick wipe with an alcohol wipe will be enough to have it back in working order again.

Final Thoughts

That was our definitive guide to cleaning a computer mouse.

As we said before, there isn’t too much risk of mice not working if they’re not cleaned regularly but for the sake of personal hygiene it’s probably a good idea to do it every now and then.

Richard Jones
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