A white mouse on a black mouse pad.

Mousepads are high-traffic surfaces that get dirty and need cleaning, just like your keyboard and mouse. Not only does a dirty mousepad look gross, but it may also affect tracking and make your movements less accurate. Here’s how to clean one.

RELATED: How to Clean Your Dirty Smartphone (Without Breaking Something)

How to Clean a Rubber and Plastic Mousepad

If you have a basic rubber or plastic coated mousepad, cleaning is surprisingly easy. Most of the time a damp cloth will be enough to dislodge any grime and oil, though you can use a small amount of dish soap to help things along if need be.

You can then dry the surface with a clean, soft cloth and get back to playing. If your mousepad has a fabric backing, you’ll probably want to let it air dry for a few hours. Most non-porous mousepads, though, should be good to go almost immediately.

How to Clean a Fabric or Cloth Mousepad

Fabric and cloth mousepads are generally favored for their superior feel, but they can take a little more work to get clean. This is because oil and dirt can become embedded in the fabric, making it harder to remove than non-porous surfaces.

First, fill a sink or container with enough warm water and submerge your mouse pad fully. When wet, apply a small amount of dish soap to the surface of the mousepad. Dish soap is great because it can cut through the sort of grease that builds up, without damaging it like harsher cleaning chemicals.

Dish soap squeezed out of a bottle and onto a sponge.
Jim Barber/Shutterstock.com

Take a soft cleaning brush and scrub at the surface, working the soap into the fabric and dislodging any oil and dirt trapped within. If you have a stained area you may need to repeat this a few times.

Rinse the mousepad in the water to get the soap out of the fabric. If you added too much soap, you might need to change the water and repeat this step. Once your mousepad is clean give it a good shake and pat it with a dry cloth to get it as dry as possible.

Now air-dry the mousepad until it is completely dry. Set it down on a flat surface for best results, and avoid pegging the mousepad in such a way that it may deform when drying. It could take a day or two to completely dry before being ready to use again.

RELATED: How to Thoroughly Clean Your Dirty Desktop Computer

How to Clean a Wired/RGB Powered Mousepad

Some mousepads have RGB lighting, while others supply wireless power to peripherals like mice. You must take care when cleaning these so that you don’t damage the electronic components within. Unlike a fabric pad, you should avoid submerging this type of mousepad.

First, unplug the mousepad then take a soft (ideally microfiber) cloth and soak it in warm water. Apply a small amount of dish soap to the cloth, then remove as much excess water from the cloth to avoid applying too much moisture to your mousepad.

SteelSeries QcK Prism RGB

From here, scrub at the surface of the pad with the cloth to remove as much dirt and grease as possible. Repeat this step until your mousepad looks clean again, keeping in mind to avoid dripping excess water onto the pad. Once you’re done, rinse out the cloth thoroughly and use it to remove the soap from the surface of your mouse pad.

Now allow your mousepad to dry in a way that prevents any moisture from dripping onto the electronics components. For example, in the case of the QcK Prism, SteelSeries recommends placing your mousepad “right side up” so use your best judgment for your own model.

Can You Wash a Mousepad in a Washing Machine?

Some fabric mousepads will survive a spin in the washing machine just fine, but it might be safer to hand wash as per the instructions above to be safe. Glorious has instructions for cleaning its mousepads in a washing machine which involves using dish soap rather than washing detergent, running a cold cycle, avoiding a heavy spin cycle, and then air-drying (not tumble drying) for around a day.

Don’t forget to disinfect your mouse and filthy keyboard too. And if your mousepad has a stain that just won’t budge, it might be time to consider shopping for a new mousepad.

The Best Mouse Pads of 2023

Amazon Basics Gaming Computer Mouse Pad
Best Overall Mouse Pad
Amazon Basics Gaming Computer Mouse Pad
Orbitkey Desk Mat
Best Large Mouse Pad/Desk Pad
Orbitkey Desk Mat
SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface
Best Gaming Mouse Pad
SteelSeries QcK Gaming Surface
Corsair Gaming Mouse Pad
Best RGB Mouse Pad
Corsair Gaming Mouse Pad
Vornnex Ergonomic Memory Foam Mouse Pad
Best Ergonomic Mouse Pad
Vornnex Ergonomic Memory Foam Mouse Pad
Logitech G440 Hard Gaming Mouse Pad
Best Hard Mouse Pad
Logitech G440 Hard Gaming Mouse Pad
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Tim Brookes is a technology writer with more than a decade of experience. He has covered a wide range of topics including Apple, security, productivity tips, gaming and more for publications like How-To Geek, Zapier, and MakeUseOf.
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