5 Ways to Clean Your Computer Mouse and Keyboard

There has been this talk going around for years that your computer mouse and keyboard might have more bacteria than your toilet seat. The thought itself is gross. Add in the amount of time we spend touching these two objects, and sometimes even eating while at it, and the horror increases tenfold. 

Thankfully, all hope is not lost. You can still keep the computer mouse and keyboard clean by routinely following up with some cleaning. This article will talk about 5 ways you can clean your computer mouse and keyboard.

But first, there are some steps to follow to ensure a proper cleaning process. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Disconnect 

We are dealing with electronics here, so the first step should be to unplug. For plugged-on keyboards, unplug. If it’s wireless, switch it off. In case of laptops, shut down the device and make sure to disconnect the power. And if you can remove the battery from the laptop without much hassle, remove it as well.

Computer Mouse and Keyboard

The same tactics apply for the mouse as well. Unplug from the computer, take out the batteries, whatever it is. We are doing this is to prevent damage as well as electric shorts. 

Step 2: Shake  

Giving a good and proper shake to your keyboard can take care of any loose waste. Tilt it upside down and shake. A lot of debris will come out from this step alone. 

Step 3: Blow 

You can go the extra step if you have the right tool. If you have a compressed air bottle, blow it on the keyboard to take away some more loose matter and dust.  Now that you have the steps out of the way, let’s talk about the ways you can clean your mouse and keyboard.

Cleaning the Mouse 

The computer mouse mainly comes in two types: optical and mechanical. You can clean them in the same ways; however, a mechanical mouse requires a bit more attention. 

An optical mouse doesn’t need any internal cleaning. But the light emitter might get sticky over time. This can result in inconsistencies in cursor movement, which can be annoying. It’s even more crucial if it’s a gaming mouse, as sudden erratic movements can entirely spoil the fun.

Cleaning the Mouse

As for a mechanical mouse, dust and other particles tend to gather on the inside, so you need to clean it up in a timely manner. Here are 5 ways to clean a computer mouse.

Method 1 

Once you have unplugged the mouse, keep it aside. Take a clean and soft cotton cloth. Moisten it with some rubbing alcohol. Now use this cloth to clean the top and bottom part of the mouse properly. 

Method 2 

In the case of a mechanical mouse, remove the tracking ball. You can do this easily by turning the cover counter-clockwise. Clean the tracking ball with a cotton cloth and rubbing alcohol, as mentioned earlier. 

Method 3 

For some quick and easy cleanup, put the mouse over a clean sheet of paper, and move it back and forth. Doing so will help some of the dust and particles to rub off onto the paper. 

Method 4 

Use an old t-shirt or sock to clean the mouse. The texture of the t-shirt and sock will give it a better cleaning unless it needs some more thorough cleaning, in which case you can also dip those in rubbing alcohol. 

Method 5 

This one is about cleaning your mouse pad. If the mouse pad is dirty, the mouse will get dirty even faster. You can easily wash the mouse pad with some dishwashing liquid and warm water. Make sure it has completely dried before placing your mouse on it. 

Tip: Some mousepads are machine washable, so look into it. If you have one that is machine washable, toss it in a washing machine with some washing powder for fast and easy cleanup. 

Once the mouse and mouse pad are dry, plug it back on and enjoy. 

Cleaning the Keyboard 

Cleaning the keyboard is a tiny bit harder than the mouse, as there are many crooks and crannies for dust and debris to hide. It can be a little frustrating to clean one if we are completely honest here. But with some effort, it’s entirely possible.

Method 1 

Unplug the keyboard first, for safety reasons, as mentioned earlier. Next, take a cotton swab. Dip it in some rubbing alcohol. Now brush it in between each key. Doing so might seem time-consuming and repetitive, but the result is worth it.

If you have more dirt in between the keys, use a toothpick to take them out. Sometimes food gets lodged in there, and using a toothpick will be easier to take those out.

Method 2 

Take a clean piece of cloth or towelette. Dip this into rubbing alcohol and brush it all over the keys and the entire top part of the keyboard. Scrub on the Enter key and the Spacebar, as those are the keys most used. 

If you have a lint-free cloth, use that to remove the dust and debris off of the keyboard. You can also use it to polish the keyboard to give if some of its natural shine back. 

Cleaning the Keyboard

Tip 1: Depending on the amount of dust and debris, you might need to use more than one cotton swab, so keep them handy.

Tip 2: If you don’t know how strong the rubbing alcohol is, test it out on a small area first. Otherwise, there might be some discoloration. It might even remove the lettering on the keys, so be careful.

Method 3 

You can use this method to clean the keyboard if you are using a removable desktop keyboard. Most of these keyboards let you remove the keys with a blunt tool. You can either use a flathead screwdriver or butter knife to do so. Place the tool of your choice near the corner of a key, and push it off. 

Caution: A lot of manufacturers discourage you from removing the keys, and doing so might void the warranty. If you are still within your warranty period, don’t do this. 

Once you have accumulated all the keys, you can use water and soap to wash them. Or you can dip them on rubbing alcohol as well. After washing, make sure to dry them. To ensure they are completely dry, leave them out by placing them over a towel overnight. 

Tip 1: If you are unsure whether or not the keys are really removable, consult the manufacturer’s guide. Don't damage your keyboard while trying to clean it. 

Tip 2: Using a towel to dry will make sure that the keys stay in place. 

Tip 3: Once dried, the keys should fit into place with some gentle pressure.

Tip 4: If you are unsure where each key sits, take the help of a keyboard map available online. Alternatively, you can take a photo before taking them off to keep track. 

Method 4 

Using the previous method, you will have access to the entire area underneath the keys. You can use compressed air to blow this area if you have one in hand. Or, use rubbing alcohol and clean cloth to wipe it off thoroughly. 

Method 5 

This one is a bit out there, but many people do like to use this one for easier cleanup. You can use slime to take off the dirt and dust sitting between the keys. Just ply your slime in a keyboard shape, and place it over the keyboard, making sure you are reaching in between the keys. 

You can either buy slime from a store or order online. Or, if you are someone who likes making things, make your own slime following one of the thousand recipes available online. 

Once the keyboard is dried, plug it back on, and enjoy your pristine new keyboard. 

Tips 

The computer mouse and keyboards tend to get dirty fast, as those are in use continuously. Follow the simple tips to get better at cleaning these.

  • Don't wait too long in between cleanups. The longer you wait, the dirtier it gets. Rather than getting it all done at once, keep at it regularly. Cleaning both the mouse and keyboard once a month is good practice.
  • Get an optical mouse. This way, you don’t need to deal with the internal cleaning at all. Using an optical mouse makes your life easier, and if it’s a gaming mouse, you get more time for gaming. 
  • Shake off the extra dirt and dust from time to time by shaking the keyboard. It doesn’t take a ton of effort and time, and you will be happier in the long run. 

Keep Your Computer Mouse and Keyboard Clean!

With a bit of effort and time, it’s easy to keep the computer mouse and keyboards clean. The same tactics go for the mouse pad as well. With the right tools, you can get a germ-free mouse and keyboard in no time.

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