How to clean your optical mouse and keyboard


An optical mouse is an advanced computer pointing device that uses a light-emitting diode (LED), an optical sensor, and digital signal processing (DSP) in place of the traditional mouse ball and electromechanical transducer. Movement is detected by sensing changes in reflected light, rather than by interpreting the motion of a rolling sphere. 

Optical Mouse Cleaning:

You should exercise more caution when cleaning an optical mouse. You do not want any cleaning products to come in contact with the optical sensor on the bottom of the mouse. If anything does come in contact with the sensor you may experience difficulties when attempting to move the mouse cursor. It is also very important that you don?t use any paper towels or non lint-free materials when cleaning the mouse. Lint or paper fibers could find their way to the optical sensor and impair mouse precision.

Optical Mouse

Cleaning an optical mouse shouldn?t take more than five minutes. Turn the mouse over and inspect the light-emitting diode “LED” area to make sure it is clean. In practice, an optical mouse does not have the issues with debris build-up that the older, mechanical ball mice experience. However, if you experience some erratic mouse behavior, here a couple of things you can do: 

  1. Disconnect the optical mouse from the back of the computer.
  2. Dampen one of your lint-free cloths with some isopropyl rubbing alcohol.
  3. Clean the outside of the mouse with the cloth. If there is a smudge on the lens area, gently clean with a plain cotton swab or plain q-tip.
  4. Reconnect the optical mouse to the back of the computer.

Test the optical mouse without using a mouse pad. When using an optical mouse with a mouse pad you may experience poor tracking or responsiveness. Due to the nature of optical mice, you should avoid mouse pads that are very glossy or highly reflective because they may cause poor tracking. You should also avoid very dark mouse pads. If you are not sure if your mouse pad is causing tracking issues, try a plain piece of white paper to see if the optical tracks better.

Keyboard Cleaning:

Keyboards also collect the oils off hands. The keys may become harder to read over time because they tend to collect brownish colored grime where you would usually place your fingers. Cleaning your keyboard can rid yourself of sticky keys. This entire process should take no longer than five minutes.

  1. Disconnect the keyboard from the back of the computer.
  2. Hold the keyboard upside down over a desk or counter and smack the bottom of the keyboard to knock out any filth.
  3. Lay your keyboard back down on a table.
  4. Use compressed air and shoot it between the keys to get out anything loosened, but not removed from the good smacking you gave it. We recommend shooting the compressed air into the keyboard using a crisscross pattern. This way you will get both the rows and the columns of keys.
  5. Use your isopropyl rubbing alcohol dampened cloth and clean the surface of each key along with the surrounding areas of your keyboard. This should restore the natural brilliance of your keyboard!
  6. Reconnect the keyboard to the back of the computer.

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