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How to clean a mouse mat: Wash away dust, dirt and debris

Our handy guide to getting your mouse mat looking and feeling fresh

It may be a chore you tend to put off before forgetting about entirely, but your mouse mat needs the occasional deep clean for the sake of hygiene and performance. Aside from the oils, sweat and bacteria that rub off from your hands, mouse mats are also likely to be exposed to a ton of dust, plus any crumbs and spills from food or drink you consume at your desk.

Thankfully, cleaning your mouse mat is a relatively quick and simple process that doesn’t have to involve any expensive or particularly specialised tools. Most wisdom suggests a dip in warm soapy water with a bit of scrubbing will do the trick for a cloth mouse mat. For a hard-surface mouse mat, it’s even easier. A good rub down with a wet wipe should be enough.

Why is it important to clean a mouse mat?

In terms of functionality, a dirty mouse mat can cause tracking issues by interfering with the mouse’s tracking sensor. Dust, dirt, grease and any other debris can detach from the mouse mat and block the optical eye on the bottom of the mouse. When this happens, you might notice your cursor moving unpredictably, jumping around the screen and generally not responding as it should. This is a frustrating inconvenience, and if you use your PC for gaming then this unreliability can have a significant impact on your performance.

READ NEXT: The best gaming mouse pads to buy

What should I avoid doing?

Although there are differing opinions on putting your mouse mat in the washing machine, we advise that you don’t risk it, especially if you’re cleaning a relatively pricey mouse mat or one you’re anxious about damaging. If you decide you want to try it, definitely avoid putting it on a hot cycle. Go for the coldest, gentlest wash possible. Broadly, be wary of subjecting your mouse mat to high temperatures. That means don’t clean it with boiling water and avoid drying it using a hairdryer, a microwave, or in direct sunlight. Excess heat could cause the rubber and plastic in your mouse mat to melt or warp, distorting the flat surface.

READ NEXT: How to clean a PC monitor

The best products for cleaning your mousemat

Q-Connect Screen and Keyboard Wipes: The best wipes for mouse mats

Price: £1.72 | Buy now from Amazon

For cleaning hard-surface mouse mats and giving cloth mouse mats a quick once-over, a suitable wipe should be all you need. We promoted these wipes in our how to clean a PC monitor article, and they’re a great choice for your mouse mat, too. At just £1.72 for 100, they’re good value, plus they’re designed to cut through grease whilst being non-abrasive. They also have the added benefit of being suitable for cleaning all your other electronics as well, so you’re sure to make good use of them.

Mr Siga Microfibre Cleaning Cloth: The best for delicate surfaces

Price: £12 | Buy now from Amazon

Microfiber cloths are a versatile and reusable tool, perfect for taking care of all manner of household cleaning tasks. If you buy a pack to help clean your mouse mat, you’ll quickly find yourself using them for dusting surfaces, wiping down kitchen counters and everything else in between. These are ideal for scrubbing a mouse mat in particular because they’re super soft, meaning you don’t have to worry about wrecking the mouse mat’s smooth surface.

How to clean a mouse mat: Step by step

As we said above, this is a pretty simple process, but we’ve broken it down for you to ensure you manage to give your mouse mat a proper clean without damaging it.

If you use a wired RGB mouse mat, it’s important you don’t follow the steps outlined below as submersion in water will cause some serious damage. Instead, use a damp, cloth paired with some mild soap to wipe the surface, taking care not to get any water near the electrical elements. Then use a clean cloth to wipe off any excess suds and leave to dry. After that, you’ll be good to go. Feel free to repeat these steps if it seems necessary.

For those of you with cloth or fabric mouse mats, just follow our neat guide below.

Step 1: Fill a sink or bathtub with warm – but not hot – water. It doesn’t matter what you use here – sink, mixing bowl, or whatever else you’ve got handy – it just needs to be big enough to fit the mouse mat.

Step 2: Submerge the mouse mat briefly. There’s no need for a significant soak, it just needs long enough that the water has penetrated throughout.

Step 3: Add a touch of dish soap to your cleaning implement of choice. We recommended a microfiber cloth for this because they’re known to be gentle, but anything that isn’t going to potentially rip the surface of the mouse mat would be suitable. Just don’t go shredding your mouse mat with steel wool or a brush with very stiff bristles.

Step 4: Give your mouse mat a good scrubbing. Take a few minutes to ensure you’re getting as much dirt out as possible. Remember, the better the job you do, the longer it will be before your mouse mat needs to be cleaned again.

Step 5: Rinse thoroughly with cold water and allow it to air-dry away from direct sunlight. Once your mouse mat is completely dry, it’s ready to be used again. It should smell, look and feel as good as new.

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