Cleaning an Apple Mighty Mouse Scroll Ball

I’ve recently started using my Macbook Pro a bit more to do some web development stuff, and I quickly ran into an ongoing problem. In a rare case of design failure, the scroll ball on the Mighty Mouse just doesn’t work after extended use. The most common cause of this is a buildup of dirt and gunk around the scroll ball and its surrounding sensors. After some google searching, I found a few different methods for cleaning from the hardcore to the basic (push down and rub). In the end I went with a slightly modified version of this kid’s method which has thus far worked a treat.

What you’ll need:

  • a cotton bud/swab/Q-Tip
  • some sort of cleaning/rubbing alcohol (I used Isocol)
  • a business card or piece of stiff card

A safety warning and disclaimer. Before you do any work on the mouse, it is advised that you turn it off and remove the batteries to reduce the chances of damaging your mouse via a short. Furthermore, I take no responsibility for any damaged mice, regardless of whether or not you followed my instructions to the letter. You’re welcome =)

Now for the cleaning. In the tutorial this is based off, the kid uses water on a cotton bud to first clean the ball and help pickup dirt. This probably works fine, but using alcohol is preferred as it evaporates much more quickly, which is good when you’re dealing with electronics. So, as in the kid’s tutorial, dampen your cotton bud with the alcohol and then rub it over the scroll ball, making sure to roll the ball around a bit to get full coverage. Once this is done, keep rolling the ball around while applying a reasonable amount of pressure to dislodge the buildup of gunk. Finally, instead of rubbing the scroll ball against a piece of paper, use the corner of a business card or some other type of firm card to get inside the mouse casing and around the scroll ball. This will hopefully pickup and remove any gunk that’s still hiding. If things look clean, then wait a bit for the alcohol to evaporate, and then get back to work. Otherwise, you can obviously repeat the relevant steps as you see fit (this isn’t rocket science, just get it clean).

If this doesn’t help and you still think your mouse is dirty, you can try the “hardcore” method linked to above. While this method is much more thorough, it requires you to take apart the mouse, voiding warranties and greatly increasing the chances that you’ll kill your mouse completely if you stuff it up.

Now, back to the web development.

One thought on “Cleaning an Apple Mighty Mouse Scroll Ball



    just remember…


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