If you’re a gamer or spend a lot of time on your computer, a mousepad is essential. A good mousepad provides a smooth and consistent surface for your mouse, enhancing precision and speed. However, mousepads easily accumulate dirt, skin oils, and debris with daily use.
A dirty mousepad not only looks gross but can negatively impact tracking and cause erratic cursor movement. That’s why regularly cleaning your mousepad is important for optimal performance. Fortunately, cleaning a mousepad is a simple process. With minimal supplies and a few easy steps, you can keep your mousepad looking like new.
This guide will walk through how to properly clean different types of mousepads, from cloth to hard pads. We’ll also cover special considerations for RGB lighting mousepads. Follow these tips and your mousepad will stay hygienic and functional for longer.
3 Types of Clean a Mousepad
There are three main types of mousepads, each with slightly different cleaning considerations.
Cloth mousepads have a textile surface, usually made of rubber, silicone, or polyester. The fabric weave gives good control for gaming and other precision work. However, the porous, flexible material easily picks up dirt, skin oils, crumbs, and spills. Keeping a cloth mousepad clean requires regularly washing the surface.
Hard mousepads have a rigid, plastic surface instead of fabric. The low-friction top resists dust and dirt buildup better than cloth. However, oils and grime can still accumulate over time. Non-porous hard mousepads are easier to wipe clean compared to cloth.
Hybrid mousepads combine a textile upper surface with a hard plastic base. The dual materials provide both speed and control. The upper cloth portion needs periodic washing like a standard cloth pad. The solid bottom base just needs occasional wiping.
Supplies Needed for Cleaning
Cleaning a mousepad doesn’t require much. Having these basic supplies on hand will allow you to thoroughly clean all types of mousepads.
- Distilled water works great for washing cloth mousepads. Avoid using tap water as the minerals may leave a residue.
- Isopropyl alcohol can disinfect and remove oils from hard and hybrid mousepads. Concentrations of 70% or higher work best.
- Mild soap, such as dish soap diluted in water, can help remove stubborn dirt and stains from cloth pads. Avoid harsh detergents.
A clean microfiber cloth is perfect for wiping down hard mousepads. The textured fabric lifts away dust and oils the washcloth or paper towels leave behind.
An old toothbrush helps scrub away stuck-on gunk and clean grooves on textured mousepads. Make sure the bristles are soft.
Distilled water mixed with a small amount of mild detergent can be used to wash cloth mousepads and loosen caked debris. Let air dry completely before using.
Cleaning a Cloth Mousepad
Cloth mousepads require regular washing to look and perform their best. Here are the steps for thoroughly cleaning a cloth mousepad.
Before washing, check the mousepad manufacturer’s instructions. Some padded cloth pads can be machine washed while others must be hand washed.
- Remove the mousepad from your desk and shake it upside down to dislodge dust and crumbs.
- Inspect the surface and note any problem areas needing extra scrubbing.
- Clear a space in your sink or tub for washing. Lay out clean towels for drying.
Steps to Clean Mousepad with Cloth
- Run the mousepad under cool water to wet both sides.
- Put a dime-sized drop of mild detergent or soap on the pad and work up a light lather.
- Gently scrub the surface with a soft-bristled toothbrush, paying extra attention to stained or dirty areas. Clean in a circular motion.
- Rinse detergent until the water runs clear. Repeat scrubbing and rinsing as needed for heavily soiled pads.
- Pat the mousepad with a towel to soak up excess water. Avoid twisting or wringing, which can damage the pad.
Follow these Instructions to Dry Clean Mouse Pads.
- Lay the mousepad flat on top of clean towels. Place more towels on top and gently press down to soak up moisture. Change towels as needed.
- Let the mousepad air dry completely for at least 24 hours before using. Drying time depends on material thickness.
- Check that the underside is also completely dry so moisture doesn’t pool when placed on your desk.
Thoroughly washing a cloth mousepad once a week will help maintain optimum glide and tracking. For convenience, keep backup mousepads on hand to rotate out between washes.
Cleaning a Hard Mousepad
Hard plastic mousepads are easier to clean than cloth since debris doesn’t get embedded in the surface. Here are tips for cleaning a hard mousepad.
- Remove the mousepad from your desk. Hold it upside down and gently shake it to dislodge any loose hairs or crumbs.
- Inspect the pad for dirt buildup, sticky spots, and stains. Heavily soiled areas may need extra scrubbing.
- Have 70% isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth ready for cleaning.
Cleaning Steps for Hard Mouse Pads
- Spray or pour a small amount of isopropyl alcohol onto the microfiber cloth, not directly on the mousepad.
- Wipe down the entire top surface using broad strokes. Apply light pressure.
- Flip over the pad and repeat on the base. This prevents dirt from transferring back to the mousing surface.
- For stubborn spots, use a toothbrush dipped in alcohol to gently scrub. Avoid abrasive scrubbing.
- Continue wiping with fresh areas of the cloth until no residue remains on the pad. Let the remaining alcohol evaporate.
How to Dry Hard Mouse Pads
The alcohol cleaning solution will air dry rapidly. Just make sure no moisture pools around the edges or bottom of the pad. Once fully dried, the mousepad is ready to put back on your desk.
For optimal performance, clean hard mousepads at least once a month. More frequent cleaning may be needed for heavy usage.
Cleaning a Hybrid Mousepad
Hybrid mousepads require cleaning both the top fabric layer and the hard plastic base. Follow these steps to clean all surfaces.
- Remove the pad from your desk and detach the cloth top layer from the plastic base, if possible.
- Inspect each piece for dirt buildup and stain spots needing special attention.
- Prepare distilled water and isopropyl alcohol for washing the components.
Cleaning Cloth Surface
- Follow the cloth mousepad washing steps above using distilled water and mild detergent.
- Thoroughly rinse away all soap residue that can affect mousing performance.
- Air-dry the fabric layer completely before reattaching it to the base.
Cleaning Hard Base
- Wipe down the plastic base with a microfiber cloth and isopropyl alcohol.
- Flip over and repeat cleaning on the bottom side.
- Ensure all moisture has evaporated before putting the layers back together.
Best Way to Dry a Hybrid Mousepad
Allow both the fabric and plastic pieces to fully air dry before reassembling the hybrid mousepad. Make sure no damp spots remain on either component. Once dry, the mousepad is ready for regular use.
For optimal performance, clean the cloth layer weekly and the plastic base monthly. More frequent washings may be needed for heavy usage.
Cleaning Mousepads Without Water
For convenience, mousepads can also be cleaned without getting them wet. Here are some simple dry-cleaning methods.
Dry Microfiber Cloth
Gently wipe down the mousepad with a lint-free microfiber cloth. This helps remove light dust and debris between full washings. Avoid rubbing aggressively on cloth pads as this can fray the weave.
Pre-moistened wipes designed for electronics can lift away dirt and oils without liquids. Check the ingredients to avoid harsh chemicals that may damage the pad surface.
Use short bursts of compressed air to dislodge crumbs and pet hair from the mousepad surface. Always spray vertically down onto the pad to avoid forcing debris further into the material.
Dry cleaning extends the time between full washings. But for deeper cleaning, thoroughly washing cloth pads or wiping hard pads with alcohol is still needed periodically.
Cleaning RGB Mousepads
For mousepads with LED lighting effects, take a few extra precautions while cleaning to avoid damaging the electronics.
- Unplug the USB connector before cleaning so moisture doesn’t reach the LED circuitry.
- Check for any manufacturer guidelines on cleaning RGB mousepads. Avoid excess liquids.
- Clean the surface using the methods above based on the pad material. But use cleaning solutions sparingly.
- Avoid soaking or completely submerging the pad. Gently scrub stains with a damp toothbrush rather than heavy scrubbing.
- Dry immediately with a towel and let air dry completely before reconnecting.
- Pay special attention to fully drying around the USB port, LED panels, and any seams where moisture could penetrate.
- Make sure no wet spots remain on the pad before reconnecting to your PC.
Testing RGB Lights
After fully drying, reconnect the mousepad and test the lighting effects before regular use. Check that all colors, zones, and brightness levels function properly. Prolonged moisture exposure can damage LED circuits.
Take caution when cleaning RGB mousepads to prevent short-circuiting that can disrupt the lighting effects. But routine cleaning keeps colors shining brightly.
Washing a Mousepad in the Washing Machine
For cloth mousepads with stubborn stains or ground-in dirt, washing by machine provides deeper cleaning.
- Check manufacturer guidelines to confirm the pad can be machine washed without risk of damage.
- Inspect for debris that could tear the fabric like staples, nails, or jammed paper clips. Remove them carefully using tweezers.
- Pretreat any heavily stained areas by gently rubbing them with diluted detergent.
- Place the mousepad inside a pillowcase or mesh laundry bag. This prevents damage from other items.
- Wash on the gentle cycle using cool water with mild detergent. Avoid fabric softener.
- Air dry flattened out on towels to prevent the pad from curling as it dries. Lay flat until fully dry.
- Lay the mousepad flat on clean towels after washing. Replace towels as needed to absorb moisture.
- Let air dry for at least 24 hours before reconnecting or using. Check for complete dryness on both sides.
- The mousepad may have a stiff feel at first but will soften after use.
When needed, machine washing provides a deep clean for cloth pads. Just take care to protect the pad and fully dry it before regular use.
Best Practices for Mousepad Hygiene
Keep your mousepad in tip-top shape by making cleaning part of your regular routine. Follow these best practices for prolonging the life of your mousepad.
- At the end of each day, do a quick wipe down of the mousing surface with a dry microfiber cloth.
- Regular light cleaning removes dust before it can accumulate.
Weekly Deep Clean
- Set aside time each week for a thorough cleaning session. Washcloth pads or disinfect hard pads.
- Periodic deeper cleaning prevents oils, dirt, and grime from building up.
- When not in use for travel or while switching mousepads, keep them inside a protective sleeve or case.
- Proper storage prevents scratches, bending, and other physical damage to the pad.
- Expect to replace cloth mousepads every 8-12 months with regular use. Hard pads may last 2-4 years.
- Look for glazing, fraying, or changes in glide signaling time for a fresh pad.
Following healthy cleaning habits maximizes your mousepad’s lifespan. And your mousing accuracy will benefit from using a well-maintained pad.
From gamers to graphic designers, a mousepad is an integral tool for anyone spending significant time on a computer. But these pads easily collect dirt and skin oils during daily use. Cleaning a mousepad regularly is important not just for maintaining a pristine desk space. A dirty mousepad actually hinders tracking performance.
Fortunately, keeping pads clean is straightforward by following basic cleaning principles for different types of mousepads. Cloth pads should be washed weekly with distilled water and mild detergent. Hard pads clean easily with isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth. For RGB lighting mousepads, take care to avoid excess moisture near the circuitry.
While mousepads improve pointer accuracy, a dirty pad causes erratic cursor jumping and reduced responsiveness. So take a few minutes each week to clean your mousepad. Not only will it look like new, but regular cleanings ensure optimal tracking and cursor control. Just be sure to let pads dry completely before putting them back into service. Proper maintenance results in a mousepad with smooth, precise control for both work and gaming.
What is a mousepad?
A mousepad is a hard, smooth surface designed to hold the bottom of your computer mouse. They’re typically made of microfiber or some other fabric, but some are plastic. They usually have a non-skid bottom so your mouse stays put when you glide across it.
How do I clean my mousepad?
We recommend cleaning your mousepad after each use by spraying it with some water and a small amount of mild dish soap, then wiping away any excess liquid with a soft cloth. If you’ve got a lot of dust on your mousepad, we recommend using an all-purpose cleaner or surface spray instead.
How should I wash my mouse pad the most effectively?
The best way to clean a mousepad is with a simple damp cloth. Don’t use anything else, as it can damage the surface of the pad. You should also avoid using paper towels or any other type of paper product because they can leave behind lint and fibers that will scratch the surface of your mousepad.
What kind of material should I use for my mousepad?
The ideal mousepad material is something that is long-lasting and won’t deteriorate with use. Some fabrics are made of cotton, while others are made of nylon or polyester. Some mousepads have different textures, such as cloth or mesh, so be sure to check out the product description before purchasing your new mousepad!
Can I wash a cloth mousepad in the washing machine?
Hand washing is recommended for cloth mousepads. The agitation of a washing machine risks fraying, damage to rubber backing, and misshaping the pad. Gently hand wash and air dry for best results.
How do I get rid of a stubborn stain on my mousepad?
For tough oily stains or discoloration on plastic, rubber, and cloth pads, use undiluted 70% isopropyl alcohol. Dampen a soft cloth and gently rub the stained area in circular motions. The alcohol will break down and lift residue. Rinse and let dry fully.
Is it okay to clean a leather mousepad with soap and water?
Avoid soap or detergents on leather mousepads as they can break down leather fibers over time. Use a specially formulated leather cleaner for best results. Condition frequently with leather treatment products too.
How often should you replace a mousepad?
With regular cleaning and care, expect to replace your mousepad every 1-2 years for optimal performance. Immediately replace if you see fraying, peeling, cracking, or any damage on the pad.
Can I use aerosol cleaners or solvents on my mousepad?
Avoid cleaners with harsh chemicals and propellants on mousepads which could degrade pad materials. Mild dish soap, water, alcohol, and microfiber cloths are safest for cleaning.