Your Mouse - Tips for Care and Feeding

DIRT & GRIME - A dirty computer mouse is not just a cosmetic concern. Dirt and grime can cause your mouse movements to be jumpy and imprecise. Debris can infiltrate your mouse guts and interrupt connections. Computer mouses (or mice -- neither is wrong) do not work well with crud in their innards. Take care at home and at the office:

At Home: Although grown-ups are guilty, too, children can smear untold substances on mouses and mouse pads. Please, clean your hands before mousing! Watch out for: grease, hand lotion, peanut butter, cookie crumbs, coffee, sodas, bodily fluids, household dirt, and hair.

At the Office: Maintenance crews may vacuum the floor in your office, but they generally do not clean around your workstation. That's up to you. Eating while mousing is sure to lead to grungy buildup. Remember: Your mouse pad is not a coaster for your icy drinks. Watch out for: dust balls, food crumbs and grease, hand lotion, bread crumbs, dirty office hands, ink and pencil lead and eraser residue.

QUICK CLEANING - Whether you use a conventional mouse or a trackball, the idea is the same. Clear out the dust and grime. The retaining ring that holds the mouse ball in place may be removed by rotating it. Follow these steps as often as necessary:

- - Remove the ball and blow out the dust in the cavity.

- - Wipe off dirt on the ball. Wash the ball in slightly soapy water. Dry it (preferably with a lint-free cloth) and blow any dust or lint off the ball before putting it back in the cavity. Do not use any chemicals; they might damage the mouse. Replace the retaining ring.
- - Wipe off dirt on the flat surface of the mouse.
- - Wipe the mouse pad clean.
- - Keep the work surface clean.

Tip - Look at your mouse pad. Is the cover made of fabric? Is it fraying? Is it filthy? Clean it, replace it or throw it out right this minute! It's a cootie-catcher. Dirt, grime and germs coat the fabric. Hard surface mouse pads are not immune from dirt, but are more easily cleaned. Most fabric-covered mouse pads can be cleaned with mild soap and water, rinsed well and thoroughly dried.

DEEP CLEANING - Is your mouse acting up? Is it jumping and skipping? Don't throw out the mouse quite yet. Maybe it just wants a thorough cleaning. Follow these steps every other month or as needed:
- -Shut down your personal computer.
- - Disconnect the mouse cable.
- - Follow suggestions in the Quick Cleaning section.
- - Clean the rollers in the mouse cavity while the mouse ball is drying.
- - Moisten a cotton swab with a little rubbing alcohol, then use the swab to wipe clean any residue on the rollers. There is a roller for vertical motion, one for horizontal motion and a third that keeps the mouse ball firmly pressed against the other two rollers. For stubborn crud, use a wood toothpick or your fingernail. Do not use an eraser, pen or pencil. They will leave debris.
- - Blow out loose particles inside the mouse with a can of compressed air.
- - Replace the retaining ring.
- - Reconnect the mouse cable. Make sure it is securely fastened.

If you have any questions, please call me.

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