Computer Repair

Replacing PC Parts

Starting Your Own Computer Business

Questions? Comments?

Copyright 2010 by Morris Rosenthal

All Rights Reserved

How to Clean a Mouse

Copyright 2010 by Morris Rosenthal -All Rights Reserved contact info

How to Clean Mouse Rollers so it Moves Properly

I can't tell you how many people have mentioned to me that they bought a new mouse because the old one died. Some people even buy multiple mice at a time, since their mouse fails on a regular basis. In my experience, mice almost never break, they just get dirty. If your mouse only moves in one direction (on one axis) on the screen, it means a roller is dirty. If it stutters and is hard to control, it means the rollers are wrapped in lint. It takes two minutes to clean a mouse and get it back into perfect working condition, and the first step is to remove the plate that retains the ball. Just twist it in the direction of the arrow.

Rotating Mouse Ball Lock

Exposed Mouse Ball

The first thing you'll see when you remove the mouse ball retainer is the tracking ball. If you're holding the mouse on an angle, the first thing you may see is the tracking ball rolling under the desk, but it's pretty bulletproof. Here's the whole key to mouse repair. YOU DON'T HAVE TO WASH THE BALL. I remember somebody telling me they cleaned their mouse a half dozen times and it didn't help a bit. It turned out that somebody was washing the ball! The purpose of the ball, which is heavy, is to mantain contact with the desktop and mouse pad and transfer the motion to the rollers. The rollers are the key.
With the mouse ball removed, you can just see both rollers at the same time, the black shapes at 10:00 and 1:00 in the picture to the right, with the lint wrapped around them. The enemy of the mouse is lint, or dust, which eventually spins itself into fairly solid strings that eventually gum up the mouse motion. Some mice use more spring loading ticks than others to keep the rollers in contact with the ball, so keep an eye on springs popping out, but in most cases, mice are built pretty rugged and there's nothing to hurt during a cleaning. The cup shape in the center is just to help position the ball in the mouse.

Inside View of Mouse

Lint on Mouse Roller

Alright, not the nicest photo I've taken in my life, but your should see pretty clearly the double rope of lint wrapped around the roller to the top of the picture. The other roller was just as bad, it usually works out that way. The rollers are pretty sturdy, I've never had one break on me when cleaning a mouse. The ideal tool for the job is tweezers, but like most people, I don't have a clue where any of the tweezers I've bought over the years are and when it comes to cleaning mice (or removing splinters) I invairably end up using a needle, or a knife.
In this case, I'm using a steak knife to loosen the lint on the roller. You just peel a little off, pull it out if you have small fingers, or use a finger against the tip of the knife (disclaimer, I don't recommend this unless you can guarantee you won't cut yourself and bleed all over the works) to pull the loosened lint out. You can also let it drop to the bottom then flip the mouse over and tap it out on your hand. If you loose some lint into the mouse, it's no big deal, just blow it out of the way. You don't need to start cleaning the rollers with a cu-tip (spelling) and alcohol, just getting rid of the majority of the lint will fix any problems.

Cleaning Mouse Roller

Replace Mouse Ball

Don't have a contest to see how high above the mouse you can drop the ball from and have it go into the hole. I get the ball as close to the mouse as I can and sort of roll it into place off the wall that doesn't have a roller, but in any case, I've never broken one. If it looks to you like the ball is sitting too low in the socket once you drop it in, it's because the mouse is upside down. Once you reinstall the ball retainer and flip the mouse upside up, the ball with be regulated to the proper height by the tapered round hole in the retainer plate.The ball retainer is locked into place by turning it the opposite of the direction you turned it to open the mouse. Wallah! The mouse cleaning operation is finished, and if your mouse still doesn't work properly, at least you know that it's not because the rollers are dirty:-)

Install Mouse Ball Locking Plate

Troubleshooting eBook instant download for $12.95 - For troubleshooting computer hardware, see Computer Repair with Diagnostic Flowcharts