Do Optical Mice Need Cleaning?


macrumors G5
Original poster
Jun 6, 2003
Solon, OH
I got Apple's Optical Mouse with my iMac G4 on February 6, 2004. It has performed pretty much to design specifications to this day without cleaning the mouse, which I'm impressed by. (I'm also pleased to report that I've been kernel panic-free for over 350 days.) Does anyone know if an optical mouse ever needs to be cleaned, and if so, how best to clean it?


macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
Cape Cod
The only thing I've had to clean on my optical mouse are the slippery things that line the edges. Sometimes they get dirt on them. I just usually scratch them off with my fingernail.

If you have to clean the lens (which I've never had to do) I guess you could just use a q-tip and a small amount of rubbing alcohol.... but I'm not to sure on that.


macrumors 603
Aug 15, 2001
The Cool Part of CA, USA
The slippery plastic pads pick up gunk as they always have, but I have yet to find an optical mouse that needed its lens cleaned.

I suppose if you use your mouse on a very dirty surface the recessed lens might build up some lint or something, but you could probably just blow on it to clean it out. I'd think you'd need to go out of your way to get the lens dirty enough to actually affect its performance.

Were it to get dirty, though, I agree that a Q-tip and maybe some rubbing alchol would be the way to go.

Tip: If your optical mouse is skipping, try using a different surface or rotating the grain of your mousepad relative to the mouse and see if that helps--I had a mousepad that if it wasn't "straight" relative to the mouse would skip like crazy, which I first mistook for dirt.
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