Glass Creatures

How To Clean Your Old Ball-Style Computer Mouse

Solve Your Mouse Pointer Problems. Fix Sticking Or Jerky Cursors

Have you ever found your mouse cursor "sticking" or behaving in a jerky, unpredictable manner? Time for a cleaning! Note that this tutorial is intended for mice with a little ball on the underside, not for wireless or optical mice.

Do this when your computer is off. Turn your mouse over on its back. You should see a circular plastic piece surrounding a rubber ball in the bottom. Turn the plastic piece (usually clockwise) and take it out.

Remove the ball. Put it someplace where it won't pick up extra dirt. The ball tends to stay clean even when everything else is dirty, but double-check. Remove hair, dust or lint by lightly pressing office tape to it and quickly pulling the tape off.

The challenge is inside your mouse. You'll see 2 or 3 small rubber rollers inside the hole for the ball. There is probably dirt built up on the center of each roller. This keeps them from working properly. Very gently scrape the dirt off with a fingernail, a tiny screwdriver or a similar object. Take care not to damage the fine wires surrounding the rollers.

I recommend against using alcohol to clean rubber parts. It dries out the rubber, causing it to crack and crumble over time. Likewise, don't use cotton swabs. Bits of cotton tend to get caught in the tiny wires near the rollers, causing tracking problems.

Angle the mouse so that dirt won't fall deeper into it once it's scraped off. You can tap the mouse right side up on a flat surface occasionally to knock out any accumulated dirt.

When done, simply replace the ball and slide the plastic retainer back into place. Before testing your mouse, make sure that your mouse pad is clean and on a flat surface. Your pointer should now work properly.