SUMMARY: Cleaning mouse pads

From: Philip Ross (
Date: Thu Aug 04 1994 - 06:57:49 CDT

A while back someone asked about replacement pads for Sun optical mice.
Since I have recently been plagued by users complaining about 'sticky' mice
I needed to do something about them and purchasing new pads is a hassle for
me so I thought I would try cleaning them.

I went to a one of the chemists in my department and he came up with a
'Mouse Cleaning' solution. Since my mice now work as new I thought I would
share my findings with the list.

The 'Mouse Cleaning' solution is a mixture of iso-propyl alcohol (propan-2-ol)
and water with a small amount of detergent added. The iso-propyl alcohol
will dissolve the grime (mostly human sweat and grease I guess) without
dissolving the glue holding the pads on (so don't use ethanol!). The water is
needed because otherwise the alcohol is highly inflammable and the detergent
helps lift the grease once it is dissolved. The presence of the water does
mean it takes about 10 minutes for the pads to dry again after cleaning - but
once they are dry they're as good as new.

The most effective way of cleaning the pads was to use a cotton wool pad.
This worked well because you can squeeze it to properly wet the pads and then
it will soak up the muck as you wipe the pads.

The 'Mouse Cleaner' mix

    50% iso-propyl alcohol
    50% water
      + a small quantity of detergent.

This mix can be used quite safely to clean keycaps on keyboards as well
(I.E. it doesn't lift the legends!!).

We now have mice that glide again and brilliant keyboards.

Philip Ross
Computing Officer


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