That buildup you see isn’t just dust. It’s a combination of sweat, oil, and dead skin. A dirty mousepad also creates unnecessary friction for your mouse which can impact gaming performance.
Luckily, learning how to clean a mousepad is easy and you likely already have all the supplies you need. Follow the instructions below for your type of mousepad and it’ll look brand new again in no time.
How to Clean a Cloth Mousepad
Cloth mousepads are notorious for getting dirty. A quick scratch test reveals just how filthy it is and the areas to focus on.
Step 1: Soak with warm water
Throw your mousepad into the shower or kitchen sink and run warm water over it until it’s completely soaked. Don’t use hot water though because it could warp the bottom rubber layer of your mousepad or cause it to separate.
Step 2: Drizzle with laundry detergent
Since your mousepad is made of fabric, regular laundry detergent will work great. Just make sure it doesn’t contain bleach or fabric softener. Pour on a generous amount.
Step 3: Scrub with a microfiber cloth
Using a clean microfiber cloth, scrub in circles and focus on those problem areas you identified earlier. You might be surprised how much dust and cloudiness comes out.
Step 4: Rinse
Turn the water back on and continue scrubbing until no more soapy bubbles come out. Rinse the entire thing front and back.
Step 5: Dry
Dab your mousepad dry as best as you can with a towel. Then leave it on a flat surface (the floor works) for a couple of hours to dry.
Voila! Your mousepad should dry nicely and get its original color back.
Can you clean your mousepad in a washing machine?
Some mousepad manufacturers say you can machine wash your cloth mousepad but we wouldn’t recommend it. That violent spinning machine could fray the edges of your pad or damage it in other ways. Plus, we think we humans could do a more thorough job.
If you want to use a washing machine anyways, throw your cloth mousepad in with some towels and don’t set the water temperature too high. And whatever you do, don’t put it in the dryer afterward. Let it air dry.
How to Clean a Hard Mousepad
Over time, gunk builds up into little raised clumps on hard mousepads that add extra friction to your mouse movements. Luckily, hard mousepads are fairly straightforward to clean.
Step 1: Dampen a Cloth with Warm Water
Warm water works better than cold to loosen up those clumps of dirt and debris. Adding a splash of rubbing alcohol to your cloth will also help break down oils and grease.
Step 2: Wipe Away and Let Dry
Focus on the gunky spots with the area of your cloth with rubbing alcohol and they should melt away. Leave your mousepad to air dry which shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes, and that’s pretty much it!
How to Clean a Delicate Mousepad
You’ll want to take a more gentle approach than the “scrub in the shower” method above if your mousepad has a nicely printed design, gel wrist rest, or electronics embedded.
Step 1: Fill a Bowl with Warm Water
You’ll be using the bowl to dampen and rewet your cloth throughout the cleaning process. Start with a clean microfiber cloth dampened with warm water.
Step 2: Use Shampoo to Dab Clean
We recommend using shampoo as the cleaning agent as it’ll be much more gentle on your mousepad than laundry detergent or dishwashing soap. Apply a small amount to your damp microfiber cloth and begin scrubbing away at problem areas. Reapply water and shampoo as necessary.
Step 3: Rinse out the Shampoo
Run a new, clean cloth with warm water and use it to “rinse” your mousepad of the cleanser. Dab and scrub until it’s clean, being careful not to soak any electronic components.
Step 4: Dab dry, then let sit
Dab your fancy mousepad dry with a towel then let it sit for a few hours, and you’re done!
Clean Mousepad, Clean Plays
With some elbow grease and a little bit of luck, your mousepad should look as good as new. You might even enjoy the added benefit of better mouse accuracy. At the very least, cleaning your mousepad will improve your hygiene and give your gaming setup a cleaner look.