How to extend the life of a mouse & keyboard

Computers vary in hardware and software, but all share similar accessories. Here's how to keep them clean and in working order.

How to extend the life of a mouse & keyboard

Keep your mouse running smoothly

If the cursor on your computer screen suddenly stops moving smoothly, the mouse may need cleaning. Here's how to clean a mouse with a tracking ball:

  1. Disconnect the mouse's cord from the keyboard.
  2. On the back of the mouse, remove the housing that covers the ball. This may involve unscrewing two small screws, rotating the housing or pushing it forward.
  3. Remove the ball and wipe it clean with a lint-free cloth dampened with denatured or isopropyl alcohol.
  4. Blow any dust and lint out of the ball socket and clean the two rollers inside the mouse. You may need to use a toothpick to remove chunks of grease and hair.
  5. With a cotton swab dipped in denatured alcohol, wipe the rollers clean.
  6. Allow the parts to dry, then reassemble and reconnect the mouse.

How to clean a keyboard

Your keyboard will need a monthly wipe down with a dampened lint-free cloth to keep it clean. If you notice sticky keys, it may need something more thorough. Here's the best way to clean a keyboard:

  1. Unplug the keyboard, remove the screws from the bottom and carefully pry the housing apart. If it does not come apart easily, you may have missed a screw or you may need to press locking tabs.
  2. Turn the unit upside down and carefully shake out any debris.
  3. Use a container of canned air with a narrow extension tube to blow debris from beneath the keys.
  4. If there's sticky grime in the machine, use lots of cotton swabs soaked in water or alcohol to clean it away.
  5. Reassemble the keyboard and turn the computer back on.

Reviving a wet keyboard

  • If you spill liquid on the keyboard, unplug it immediately and set it upside down on a towel to let the liquid to drain out.
  • Let the keyboard dry completely before attempting to use it again.
  • If you spilled a soft drink or some other liquid that gets sticky when it dries, you'll probably need to clean the inside of the keyboard.

Keyboards and computer mice are how we interact with our computers, and so they need to be properly maintained. Be sure to keep them clean and, if you notice some of the above problems, clean them more thoroughly. It could save you from buying new ones.

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