How to Clean Any Type of Mousepad

Written by Thao Tran
Last updated Nov 5, 2019

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If your mousepad looks anything like my “before” picture, it definitely needs a cleanin’.

That buildup you see isn’t just dust. It’s a combination of sweat, oil, and dead skin. A dirty mousepad isn’t only gross, it also creates unnecessary friction for your mouse, which hurts your gaming performance.

Luckily, mousepads are easy to clean 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. To get an idea of just how filthy it is, do a good ol’ scratch test.

dirty mousepad being scratched

This’ll reveal the areas are you need to focus on. Now let’s clean!

Step 1: Soak with warm water

Mousepad taking a shower

I threw mine right into the shower and ran the water at a nice, warm temperature. Don’t let it get too hot though—it could warp the bottom rubber layer or cause it to separate.

You want to completely soak your mouse mat.

Step 2: Pour on some laundry detergent

Pouring laundry detergent on soaked mousepad

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

Scrubbing the soapy mousepad in circles

Using a clean microfiber cloth, scrub in circles and focus on those problem areas we 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: Wrap it in a towel to dry

Dab it first as best as you can with a towel. Then wrap it up and leave it on a flat surface to dry (the floor works). A couple of hours should do the trick.

Voila! Your mousepad should dry nicely and get its original color back.

Can you put it in the washing machine?

Some mousepad manufacturers say you can but I wouldn’t. That violent spinning machine could fray the edges of your pad or damage it in other ways. Plus, I 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 hot. Whatever you do, don’t put it in the dryer afterward.

How to Clean a Hard Mousepad

Hard mousepads are a lot easier to clean than soft ones. So if yours is plastic, aluminum, glass, or whatever, lucky you!

I first realized mine was dirty when I couldn’t move my mouse smoothly playing Overwatch. After close inspection, I noticed little dots of gunk built up on the surface.

gunky buildup on my hard mousepad
It’s hard to tell in the picture, but those little gunk spots really mess you up.

Step 1: Run a microfiber cloth under warm water

Yes, it’s important the water is warm.

Step 2: Add a little rubbing alcohol

Warm water might do the trick alone, but rubbing alcohol makes cleaning your hard mousepad easier. That stuff doesn’t only burn your wounds, it breaks down oils and grease pretty well too.

Step 3: Wipe away

That’s pretty much it. The gunky spots will melt away and the pad will dry quickly, especially with rubbing alcohol involved.

Real smoooooth.

How to Clean a Mousepad with a Design, Wrist Rest, or RGB Lights

You’ll want to take a more gentle approach than the “scrub in the shower” method above. You don’t want to ruin your nice printed design, gel wrist rest, or electronics.

cloth mousepad with design: doge in a taco in space
(photo credit)

Here’s what you do:

Step 1: Run a microfiber cloth under warm water

You can also fill up a bowl with warm water to be used for rewetting your cloth.

Step 2: Clean with shampoo

Laundry detergent could fade the colors of your design and is hard to wash out without lots of water. So I recommend using shampoo, or if you want to be extra careful, Cetaphil.

Apply a small amount to your damp microfiber cloth and scrub away.

Step 3: Rinse out the shampoo with a clean cloth

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 electronics.

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 brand new again! 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. So get to it!

Let me know if I missed anything in the comments below.

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