April 9, 2009

How to clean your Apple Mac mouse scroll ball

Filed under: Tips — Tags: , — Webopius @ 9:22 pm

Something slightly less technical and more light hearted today. How to get that fluff out of your Apple Mac’s mighty mouse scroll ball!

I’m a huge Mac fan after converting from PCs about a year ago. They just work. They don’t crash that often and even run Windows quickly if you install Parallels or VMWare Fusion.

There’s one thing about the Mac that really annoys me though – the scroll ball on the mouse is badly designed. Every few months it gets clogged up and there’s no way to get inside the mouse to clean it (unless you are very brave and follow one of the YouTube videos attacking the mouse with a knife).

After many methods, I think I’ve come up with a way that will get that rubbish out of your Mouse’s scroll ball. This is not an officially approved method and you should take care when cleaning the mouse and not be too brutal with it.

What you will need…

1. Sticky tape (Sellotape)
2. Wet wipe / Antibacterial wipe or similar
3. Clean sheet of paper

Step 1 – use the tape

First step is to take a strip of the sticky tape and place it on a table, sticky side up, stretched between two fingers. Now turn your mouse upside down and roll the ball of the mouse over the sticky side of the tape.

It’ll get stuck a few times but keep going, making sure you roll the ball round as much as possible. If you are lucky you will be rewarded by pieces of dirt appearing on the tape as it picks them up from the ball.

Keep doing this for at least a couple of minutes to get as much out as possible

Step 2 – the wet wipe

Now, clean and wet the mouse ball using the wet wipe. This breaks down any remaining dirt left on the ball and also has the advantage of getting rid of all the residue from the tape.

Again, turn the mouse upside down and roll the ball over the wipe on a flat surface to encourage more dirt to fall out.

Step 3 – final clean up and dry using the paper

I’m not sure why this step works so well but it is required. Place the clean sheet of paper flat on a table and roll the mouse ball over it in quick movements. This will dry the mouse from the previous step and I’ve also noticed yet more dirt comes out at this stage as the ball warms up over the paper.

Once the ball is dry enough to use again, roll it with your finger to feel if there is any remaining dirt. If you don’t get that smooth clicking feedback when rolling the ball, repeat the clean from step 1 or 2 above.

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