How To Clean A Mousepad

Gaming mousepads are an important part of any setup, and once you find the right one for you (check out our Best Mousepad for Gaming article) you’ll want to make sure that it’s properly maintained, so it pays off to know how to clean a mousepad.

In this article, we’ll go over every step so that you can clean your (cloth) mousepad without damaging it, and after that we’ll also give you some general tips and pointers for mousepad maintenance.

This article will mostly talk about cloth mousepads since those are by far the most popular type, but we’ll also explain how to wash a glass mousepad.

How To Clean A Mousepad


Things you’ll need

  • A damp piece of cloth or a sponge (do not use cleaning wipes that have alcohol in them)
  • A flat spot to allow the pad to dry at room temperature
  • Dish soap (for some pads only!)

How to clean a cloth mousepad

  • Pick up your mousepad and shake it or give it a couple of slaps with the palm of your hand. This will make larger pieces of dirt and hairs fall off.
  • Take a damp piece of cloth and wipe the mousepad down. You can use a bit of force here to draw out skin cells and tinier particles, but don’t get excessive. If using a sponge, do not use a sponge with a rough texture, but rather use the soft side.
  • Place the mousepad on a flat surface to dry. Do not hang it over the edge of a bathtub or anything like that, as this might cause permanent deformation.
  • Allow the mousepad to air dry. Do not use hair dryers or place it on the radiator, as the heat can cause the top surface to let go from the base and can damage the pad and/or its surface.
How to clean a mousepad guide - use soft sponges and cloths, not the abrasive parts

How to clean a glass mousepad

  • Mix a small amount of dish soap with water.
  • Dip a cleaning cloth or soft sponge into the mixture.
  • Clean the surface with the cloth, being careful not to get too much liquid near the corners and edges of the pad. Make sure the pad is laid flat when doing this; do not apply any pressure when the pad is lifted off of the surface at any point, otherwise is may bend or break.
  • Carefully pat it dry with a soft towel.
  • Leave the mousepad to air dry at room temperature. Do not use hair dryers or other direct heat sources, as this can damage or even crack the glass.

What to avoid

  • Do not use any laundry detergent or alcoholic wipes.
    • This is not applicable to all mousepads, as some handle it just fine, but certain (coated) cloth pads will get ruined by this. If you must use a cleaning solution because of an extremely dirty pad, use a tiny bit of dish soap, and only use it when the manufacturer recommends it.
  • Do not use rough brushes, sponges, or other materials.
    • If you get too rough with the mousepad, the surface can become disfigured. Use soft, non-abrasive materials.
  • Do not use a washing machine.
    • Washing machines will make the pad squeaky clean, but they might irreparably damage the pad itself. Mousepads should be treated with care, and the rough tumbling of a washing machine will be too much for most pads.

Video

ZOWIE is the most used mousepad brand in the professional Counter-Strike 2 scene (see Best Mousepad for CS2) and all of professional gaming in general so it’s safe to say that they know a thing or two about mousepads. If you’re a visual learner, you can use their excellent video (linked below) to find out how to clean a mousepad.

About Cloth Mousepads


Most gaming mousepads have a top section that’s made out of cloth, and this can (and will) degrade over time.

Imagine a regular pair of jeans: if you wear this every single day without washing it, it’ll no doubt smell, look, and feel foul after only a couple of weeks. Fabrics trap small particles and absorb sweat and other skin oils, and this is also true for mousepads.

To get back to the jeans example: even a well-maintained and often-washed pair of jeans will look and feel entirely different after years of heavy usage than a brand new pair, and this is the same for mousepads.

A mousepad that’s been in rotation for a very long time will always feel a lot different than a brand new one, and while all cloth pads will degrade to the point where their glide characteristics are no longer recognizable and you have to buy a new one.

Deciding when it’s time to replace a mousepad comes down to personal preferences and tolerances. Professional players who are competing at levels where the tiniest margins can make all the difference in the world will probably swap pads way more often than someone who occasionally plays a couple of casual games with friends, but ultimately it’s up to the user to decide when it’s time for a refresh.

Quality gaming mousepads can cost a pretty penny, so it’s a wise decision to take good care of your pad in order to prolong its useable lifespan for as long as possible.

How to clean a mousepad guide - shake off the crumbs

Mousepad Maintenance Tips


All cloth mousepads degrade. This is a simple truth, and it’s not limited to cloth materials either. Rub a piece of plastic over a portion of your wooden, leather, or even stone desk for the better part of a day and that area of your desk will feel very different after a while. Constant exposure to friction will affect that characteristics of almost any material.

Here are some tips on maintaining your mousepad:

Do not eat or drink near your mousepad

Tiny crumbs that are barely visible to the naked eye can get in between the fibers of the pad and affect its glide. While a water spillage is no problem for most pads (it will temporarily affect the glide though) it’s a whole different story when you spill a sugary soda or coffee on your mousepad. Keep your drinks and food away from your pad as much as possible.

Do not place drinks or other food items on your mousepad

It’s a common sight to see people place a soda or perhaps a cup of coffee on their mousepad, and this is a bad idea, and that’s not just because you might accidentally spill your drink. The condensation coming from a chilled beverage can cause moisture to creep into the pad, thus affecting its glide.

The heat of a hot drink (or a plate of food) can have negative influences on the adhesive between the surface of the pad and the base.

If you must eat or drink near your PC, keep the drinks and food off of your mousepad.

Do not keep your mousepad rolled up for too long or too tightly

This depends on the mousepad, but in general it’s not a good idea to keep your pad rolled up for too long, as this might permanently disfigure the pad and affect its ability to lay flat. If you must roll up your pad for storage reasons, it’s important to check whether or not the pad can be rolled (some cloth mousepads cannot be rolled up) and then roll it loosely. Most manufacturers ship their mousepads in a very tight roll for storage reasons, but it’s best to avoid that.

Watch out with pets near your mousepad

We all love our pets, but our furry friends can cause all sorts of damage to gaming mousepads. Their fur can get in between the fibers of the surface, and their claws or teeth can irreparably damage the mousepad’s surface or base.

Do not place heavy/pointy objects on your mousepad

Heavy objects can permanently damage the base and surface of your mousepad. Something like a custom keyboard will be no problem since it’s not that heavy and the weight is evenly space out across a large surface, but putting your monitor stand on your mousepad will probably cause some permanent damage if it’s left on there.

Clean your mousepad frequently

If you want to maintain a factory fresh glide, it’s important to regularly clean your mousepad. You definitely don’t have to do this every week, but if you notice that the surface is starting to act differently, it’s time to grab your cloth or sponge.

Clean your hands

You don’t need to be thorough as a surgeon going through a pre-op wash, but if you’ve been eating greasy fingerfood or you’ve been working in the garden all day long it’s always a good idea to wash your hands. Grease, dirt, and other nastiness can easily nest in between the fibers of the surface and affect the glide and performance of your mousepad.

If you’re a particularly sweaty gamer or it’s a hot and humid day, it’s a good idea to have a cloth nearby to dry your hands with every now and again.

Conclusion


A mousepad is a consumable item that will have to be replaced at a certain point, but if you take good care of your mousepad it can last for your a very long time. Knowing how to clean a mousepad is a crucial skill if you want to get the most out of your gaming surface, and if you combine regular cleaning with our tips above then you’ll greatly extend the lifespan of your mousepad.

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