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Like keyboards, mice are devices that are handled a great deal and are therefore subjected to a fair bit of abuse--and dirt. Most mice are much more sensitive to dirt than keyboards are, however. The reason is of course simple: the ball that rolls on the surface of the desk to provide movement. If the ball becomes dirty then it doesn't roll properly, and your cursor won't move smoothly. And of course, these balls are designed to have "traction" to grip your desk or mousepad, and as a consequence they grip most dirt and dust well too.

While most mice are cheap enough to practically be considered throw-away items, they get dirty enough to stop functioning properly far too often for the "disposable mouse" to ever become popular. I recommend the following be done to care for the mouse:

  • Clean the Mouse Regularly: I recommend cleaning the mouse on a monthly basis. This includes cleaning the mouse ball, and also the rollers on the inside of the unit. Rubbing alcohol is the best thing to use for the mouse ball (don't pour alcohol into the mouse body though.)
  • Check the Cable and Connector: Make sure that the cable does not get stuck in any part of your desk or workspace, to prevent damage. There should be slack in the cable as well; if it is pulled too tight this can damage the mouse, the cable, or worse, the plug on the motherboard where they keyboard connects to it. PS/2-style mice that use the round DIN connectors are probably more susceptible to damage than the 9-pin D-connectors used by serial mice. In either case though, damage is easily avoidable.

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