How to clean a mouse to ensure proper operation

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Pat O. write s:

" Dear Dennis,

Could please you explain why my mouse has become resistant to my direction, and maybe advise of a remedy? It is particularly hard to handle when required to click on specifics like buttons and tabs when it then feels strongly like it is being pushed aside. Any ideas? "

Similarly, Rick D. asked:

" My pointer/mouse, is locking and jumping all over the screen. I was told to lower the acceleration, so I did. It still kept doing it. I am out of ideas, so any suggestions that you can give would be more than appreciated. "

My response:

I recommend getting an Optical (no ball) mouse. Logitec makes great optical mice, and you might even be able to get a "generic" version (cheaper, same quality) if you look hard enough. At any rate, here are some suggestions for ensuring proper operation of a mouse:

RE: Optical mice

The reason why an optical mouse might jump around sporadically might be due to lint that is blocking the optical eye. In that case, just blow the lint off at bottom of the mouse, near the "laser eye". The surface that is used to operate the optical mouse may also cause the mouse to go senile. Ensure that the surface is: lint-free (no dust), smooth, flat, and only 1 color. I use my optical mouse on my desk surface which is made of a dark-brown plastic-like laminate and it works great.

RE: Non-Optical (old style, with a ball) mice

The wheels in a mouse get caked with dirt and lint over time and make it difficult to navigate the mouse.

To clean a "ball" mouse, look at the bottom of your mouse. You should see a small ball on the bottom of the mouse. Open up the mouse on the bottom and take the ball out. If you look inside the mouse, there are little wheels that touch the ball (where the ball used to be).

To clean the wheels, grab a small flathead screw driver (the real small ones) and chisel the dirt off. If you don't have a small flathead screw driver, grab a knife that is small enough to fit inside the mouse. I found that knives with teeth on the end grab the dirt better.

Anyway, proceed to clean the wheels, little by little, until it is relatively clean. Try not to drop the lint/dirt/goo back in the mouse or it will end up back on your mouse ball, and eventually find its way back onto the wheel.

The next thing would be to clean the mouse ball -- usually Window cleaner will do. Just spray some into a glass and carefully drop the ball inside the glass... swish it around a bit. Take it out and dry it off with a clean sheet of paper towel.

After you're finished, put the mouse ball back in the mouse and close the cover. Next, check the surface area that the mouse sits on when in use. Make sure it is relatively clean (lint-free, dirt-free if possible). If your mouse pad is battered from years of hard use, consider purchasing a new one. If you don't have a mouse pad for a "ball" mouse, you should buy one because they usually make a big difference.

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