How to Clean a Computer Mouse - dummies

By Gary Hedstrom, Peg Hedstrom, Judy Ondrla Tremore

If you still have a trackball on your computer keyboard or a roller ball under the mouse, they may start performing erratically. That’s usually because they and the rollers beneath the balls need cleaning. You need a lint-free cloth, rubbing alcohol, a sponge swab, and compressed air or a hair dryer to blow dirt out of the housing. Here’s how to clean a roller ball:

  1. Unplug the mouse from the back of the computer.

  2. Turn the mouse upside down.

  3. Remove the bottom panel.

    It will either rotate clockwise or push forward. Look for instructions on the bottom of the mouse.

  4. Take out the roller ball.

  5. Dampen the lint-free cloth with the alcohol.

  6. Wipe the roller ball clean and let it dry.

  7. Scrape off accumulated crud (don’t use anything sharp because you’ll damage the spongy ball) and wipe the rollers underneath it clean with rubbing alcohol.

  8. Blow out any loose dirt and dust.

    If you have great lung capacity, marvelous; otherwise, use the canned air or a hair blower.

  9. Put the roller ball back in and reassemble the mouse.

Never use a knife or any other sharp tool to clean the roller or any other plastic parts. If you scratch them, they’ll pick up dirt faster. If grime doesn’t come off with a cotton swab the first time, keep swabbing with the rubbing alcohol, gently.

Here’s how to clean a trackball:

  1. Pop the trackball, made of hard plastic, glass, or marble, out.

  2. Clean it with alcohol as described in steps 5 through 9 above.

  3. Roll it around in your hand to lubricate it with the oil in your skin. If your hands are dry, rub in some lotion. Then lubricate the trackball.

  4. Pop the trackball back in place.