It's good practice to keep your computer peripherals in a hygienic condition, so today, we'll be telling you how to clean a mouse mat - something that can be easily overlooked. But if you are noticing any issues with imprecise tracking, whether during work or gameplay, it's possible that a build-up of grot on your mouse mat is a contributing factor.
Some reports suggest that a computer keyboard may have as much as 3000 bacteria per square inch, while a mouse may have 1600 per square inch. This is potentially more than you find on the average toilet. And when you touch these, you will invariably transfer some of them onto your mouse mat. Which is pretty gross.
So in the name of keeping things clean, here's our guide to cleaning your mouse mat.
How To Clean A Mouse Mat
We'll preface everything by stating that a lot depends on what type of mouse mat you have. If you have a rubber or plastic mouse mat, then you can easily clean one of these using a damp cloth or a cleaning wipe. You can probably stop reading now if this applies to you. But if you have a fabric mouse mat, you are going to need to do a bit more work.
Washing Your Mouse Mat
As a quick reminder, if you have a mouse mat with any kind of wiring or electrical component, don't follow these steps. We'll cover those types of mat further down. If you are cleaning a fabric mouse mat, here's what you need to do:
- Place your mouse mat in a bowl of warm water. We emphasise warm, not hot water. You can also use cold water if you prefer.
- Apply a small amount of dish soap to the mouse mat.
- Then use a cleaning brush and gently scrub your mouse mat. This will help to remove any stains, oil, and other dirt.
- Once you are happy that you have sufficiently cleaned it, rinse the mouse mat to remove any soap.
- Gently pat the mouse mat dry with a soft towel to remove as much water as possible.
- Once you've done this, leave it to air dry
Once it has fully dried, you are ready to enjoy using your nice clean mouse mat once more.
Read More: Wireless Mouse vs Wired: Which Is Better?
Can You Put a Mouse Mat in the Washing Machine?
A lot of people wonder if they can save labour by just putting their mouse mat into a washing machine instead. And the answer is yes, depending on what type of mouse mat you have. We'd always recommend checking with your specific mouse mat manufacturer. But as a general guide, the following materials should be safe in a washing machine:
If you're going to use a washing machine, then we'd also recommend the following:
- Use a mild detergent.
- Put the washing machine on a cold cycle. Anything too hot might damage your mouse mat.
- Put the machine on a light spin cycle.
- Don't use bleach or fabric softener.
- Leave your mouse mat to air dry once the cycle is finished.
And this should probably go without saying. But never put your mouse mat in a tumble dryer. And never feed it after midnight.
What About an RGB Mouse Mat?
We mentioned earlier that any RGB mouse mat (or any mat with electrical components) should not be submerged in water. While this should be obvious, we'll state it for clarity. Water and electrical circuits do not mix well. You could easily ruin your mouse mat.
But if it needs a good clean, here's what to do:
- Make sure your wired mouse mat is unplugged.
- Get a microfibre cloth, and soak it in some warm, soapy water.
- Carefully wipe the mouse mat to remove any dirt or debris. Make sure you avoid the electrics.
- Rinse your cloth to remove any soap, and use it to remove any soap from your mouse mat.
- Let your mat air dry.
How Often Should You Clean Your Mouse Mat?
There is no hard and fast rule on this. A good schedule would be probably three or four times a year. But be flexible with this. If your mouse mat is looking particularly dirty, or you've recently had a spillage, don't leave it.
And obviously, the more use your mouse has, the more often you may want to clean your mouse mat. This may also be true if you share your workspace with anyone else.
Places You Shouldn't Put Your Mouse Mat
If you are planning on giving your mouse mat a thorough clean, there are a few places we don't recommend you put it:
- In strong sunlight - this can cause it to fade.
- The dishwasher. The heat and strong detergents can damage your mouse mat.
- The tumble dryer.
- The microwave. You're trying to clean it, not cook it.