How to Clean Your Mouse and Keyboard

Mice and keyboards get grimy fast — because your PC’s keyboard and pointing device are continually in use, and they get pawed by human hands. (Of course, you could always wear surgical gloves, but what about your kids?)

Never fear. Here’s a list of guidelines that help you keep your pointing device and keyboard clean and working:

  • Buy an optical mouse or trackball. (You’ll thank me.) If you’re still using an old-style mouse with a ball — how very 1980s — clean it once a month as well. Unscrew the retaining ring on the bottom, remove the mouse ball, and use a cotton-tipped swab dipped in tape-cleaning alcohol (which is 90+ proof and leaves no residue) to clean the rollers inside.

    Also, make sure that your mousepad is clean and dust-free to prolong the life of your rodent. An optical mouse or a trackball doesn’t need to be cleaned anywhere near as often (if ever).

  • Do the Keyboard Shake! No, it’s not a new dance craze, but it is the best method of cleaning accumulated gunk from your keyboard, and you should do it at least once per month. Turn your keyboard upside down and shake it vigorously back and forth; prepare to be amazed (or grossed out, especially if the whole family uses your PC).

    A number of manufacturers sell swabs premoistened with alcohol that work great for cleaning keys, and there are dusting contrivances especially made for keyboards that can help keep your keyboard pristine.

  • Find another use for your compressed air. Your keyboard can collect debris that can’t be shaken free. If so, using compressed air will likely blow it free.

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