Whether you are a gamer or an office worker, a clean mousepad is essential for keeping your mouse movement consistent and your desk clear. However, it can quickly get dirty with spills, stains, and crumbs!
Luckily, cleaning a mousepad is easy when you know its material. If you have a fabric mousepad, soak it in cold water, brush it with soap, then rinse the soap out. With a plastic mousepad, you can wipe stains with antibacterial wipes before letting it air dry. Finally, you can wipe an unplugged RGB mousepad with a soapy and slightly damp microfiber cloth.
Tips to Know Before Cleaning
Identify Your Mousepad Material
Before cleaning your mousepad, you need to identify its material to avoid damaging it. Different materials require different methods, so ensure you follow the proper cleaning procedure.
Cloth or Fabric Mousepad
Most mousepads are either cloth or fabric. They are usually made up of a rubber base with a cloth cover, typically polyester, nylon, or microfiber. Rubber is naturally waterproof, so it is safe to wash these mousepads with soap and water.
Plastic mousepads provide high-precision tracking, and they include a rubber pad on the bottom to prevent slippage. It is best to clean plastic, or any hard material like aluminum, with a damp cloth.
RGB mousepads are hard mousepads designed with gamers in mind. They typically have a low-friction surface optimized for optical and laser mice sensors, in addition to rubber pads on the bottom to prevent slippage. Of course, they also have customizable RGB lights.
You should not submerge or expose the RGB lights to soap or water because you may ruin the electronics. Instead, it is best to use a slightly damp microfiber cloth.
Avoid Cleaning Sprays and Disinfectants
Avoid cleaning sprays and disinfectants because they may damage the mousepad fabric or detach its rubber mat. Many disinfectant products contain harsh cleaning agents that can completely ruin your mousepad! If you use cleaning sprays, carefully read all labels, and ensure that it is safe to use on your mousepad material.
How to Wash a Fabric Mousepad
Supplies You Need
Before washing a cloth or fabric mousepad, you will need the following items:
- Mild soap
- Washcloth, scrub brush, or soft-bristled brush
- Thick towel
To safely wash a cloth or fabric mousepad, follow these simple steps:
- Soak your mousepad in a bowl or sink filled with cold water.
- Remove your mousepad from the water and apply a small amount of mild soap.
- Use a washcloth, scrub brush, or soft-bristled brush to work the soap into the fabric.
- Thoroughly rinse your mousepad with water until no soap remains.
- Pat your mousepad dry with a thick towel. Do not wring your mousepad to remove excess water because you can damage it.
- Let your mousepad air dry completely before using it. Hang your mousepad away from direct sunlight to prevent the rubber from deteriorating.
Do not run your mousepad through a dishwasher cycle unless machine washable because it can cause irreversible damage. The mousepad will be unable to lie flat on your desk due to the harsh chemicals and high temperatures distorting its shape.
How to Clean a Plastic Mousepad
If your plastic mousepad does not have a fabric topper, it will be easier to clean than soft mousepads. A damp washcloth should be enough, but you can use antibacterial wipes for more stubborn stains. Just stay away from cleaning agents because some strong chemicals can damage the plastic.
Supplies You Need
Before cleaning a plastic mousepad, you will need the following items:
- Kitchen or paper towels
- Washcloth or antibacterial wipes
- Use a kitchen or paper towel to mop any immediate spills on your mousepad. If you clean up the spill as soon as it happens, it will not leave any stains.
- Wipe the mousepad surface with antibacterial wipes to remove dust, stains, and bacteria. If the mousepad has a printed pattern, you should be gentle when rubbing to avoid ruining the design.
- Let your mousepad air dry for about 5 minutes.
If your plastic mousepad is very dirty, you can wash it with the same method for fabric mousepads.
How to Clean an RGB Mousepad
RGB mousepads are more delicate than cloth or plastic mousepads. You need to be extra careful when cleaning them because even a little moisture can damage the electronics.
Supplies You Need
Before cleaning an RGB mousepad, you need the following items:
- Microfiber cloth
- Mild dish soap
To properly clean an RGB mousepad, follow these easy steps:
- Unplug your RGB mousepad.
- Mix warm water with a bit of dish soap and soak the microfiber cloth in the solution. Wring it out as much as possible to avoid water near your electronics.
- Wipe the mousepad thoroughly to remove any grime and dirt.
- Avoid the edges of your mousepad so you do not get any moisture on the electronics. Instead, use a dry, clean microfiber cloth for that area.
- Rinse, wring, and use the microfiber with water to wash all the soapy residue from the mousepad.
- Lay your mousepad flat with the right side up and let it air-dry for a few hours.
Why Use a Mousepad
Cleaning your mousepad might seem like a hassle, so you might wonder whether you should use one at all. Here are some reasons why you should use a mousepad.
Protect Your Desk and Mouse
Using a mouse directly over a wooden desk will cause damage to the surface over time. A mousepad, however, will protect your desk from scratches and wear.
Additionally, the mouse sliders can be damaged. The movement of the mouse will lift flecks of varnish and dush that can clog the movement sensor and cause performance issues. With a mousepad, your mouse will glide smoothly on a surface that will not chip away, so the bottom of the device will see less wear.
There are specialist gaming mousepads with a surface optimized for quick movements with the mouse. There are also extended mousepads that allow you to move your mouse over larger distances quickly. What makes these mousepads unique is their thickness, smoothing out imperfections on the desk surface.
Support Your Wrist
Many mousepads come with wrist support, but even regular mousepads can put less stress on your arm. Mousepad surfaces are soft, especially fabric mousepads. They are also more comfortable when moving the mouse, so you have less strain on your wrist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Put Your Mousepad in the Washing Machine?
You can use a washing machine to clean a mousepad, but only if it is machine washable and made of polyester, nylon, acrylic, acetate, microfiber, foam, polyurethane, or rubber. To avoid damaging your mousepad in the washing machine, follow these tips:
- Use cold water and a mild detergent.
- Change the setting to a light cycle.
- Do not use bleach or harsh cleaning products.
- Do not use a dryer. Let your mousepad air-dry.
How Often Should You Clean Your Mousepad?
You should wash your mousepad at least three times a year if you use it often. Even if it does not look dirty, cleaning your mousepad will keep it germ-free. However, the number of times you wash your mousepad depends on how often you spill or stain it.
Can a Dirty Mousepad Affect Gaming?
A mousepad with dirt and debris can interfere with mouse movements, clog the photosensor, and cause tracking issues when playing games. Any loose material in the sensor will hinder the motion detection of the mouse, so you may be frustrated when your mouse movements are not accurately detected.
Whether you have a soft cloth, hard plastic, or RGB mousepad, it is essential to clean it properly to remove any stains and buildups that can hinder your work or gameplay. Remember to wash your mousepad periodically, using the appropriate materials and techniques for your mousepad type.
If you enjoyed this guide on mousepads, you could go a step further and learn how to clean your keyboard or wipe your screen!