Q. My mouse is acting up. It feels like it’s rolling over gravel and it seems to skip. Do I have to buy a new one?
A. You may need a new one, but in all likelihood all it needs is a good cleaning. After all, it’s probably been traveling many miles and collected loads of dirt. Here’s how to clean a mouse:
First, turn off your computer and unplug the mouse from the back of the computer. Turn the mouse upside down so the ball faces you. Press on the ring on the bottom of the mouse housing and twist it until it comes loose. Remove the ball and clean it in warm water with a gentle detergent, drying the ball with a lint-free cloth.
Then, with a can of compressed air or a static-safe vacuum cleaner, blow any dust and debris out of the socket where the ball is housed. Clean the rollers inside the housing with a cotton swab and isopropyl alcohol. After everything is dry, set the ball back in the socket by positioning the ring and turning it until it locks into place. The whole cleaning operation should take no more than 10 minutes.
While you’re at it, consider replacing the mouse pad; it collects loads of dirt that eventually migrates onto the mouse ball.