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What Is the Best Way to Clean a Trackball Mouse?

Pro Fit® Ergo Vertical Wireless Trackball on a white desk next to a MacBook.

Trackball mice are a popular alternative to traditional computer mice as they offer more precise control and reduce strain on the wrists. However, just like any other computer accessory they can accumulate dirt, dust, debris, and other particulate matter over time, causing them to perform less efficiently. If you have noticed that your trackball mouse is not working as well as it used to, it may be time to thoroughly clean it.

In this article we will discuss the common signs that your trackball needs maintenance, the benefits of cleaning your trackball regularly, and step-by-step cleaning instructions.

Can You Clean a Trackball Mouse?

Cleaning a trackball mouse roller ball is a simple task that can be completed quickly and with minimal effort. Periodic cleaning will help maintain your trackball’s performance and longevity, as dirt, debris, dust, and other particulate matter that accumulate in the mouse socket can cause increased friction and wear on its ball. Removing this particulate matter improves mouse comfort and ease of use by allowing the ball to roll smoothly. Additionally, it can also resolve jerky cursor movements and other issues that results from build-up that impact mousing accuracy and responsiveness.

Furthermore, routine cleaning of your trackball helps maintain a hygienic and healthy workspace, as trackballs and other input devices are high-contact surfaces.

Close up to a Kensington Trackball on a white desk with a keyboard on the side .

Signs Your Trackball Mouse May Need to be Cleaned or Lubricated

If your trackball is slow to respond, sticky or having difficulty moving, making loud noises when used, or leaving residue on the surface it is used on, it is time to clean and lubricate it. The following specific symptoms indicate that there may be dirt, debris, dust, oils, or other particulate matter built up on your trackball mouse control ball impeding its performance.

  • Difficulty moving the cursor smoothly. A jumpy or erratic cursor indicates that your trackball needs cleaning. Friction from particulate matter build-up can also cause your cursor to move slower than usual.
  • Stiff or difficult ball movement. If the roller ball is difficult to move or feels stiff, sticky, or tacky to the touch, accurate, efficient mouse navigation becomes a challenge, and there is likely a build-up of debris or residue.
  • Dirty or discolored ball. Over time, oils from your fingers can collect on the trackball’s surface, leading to discoloration and a rougher texture that can hinder mouse responsiveness.
  • Unusual noise or clicking. A grinding, clicking, screeching, or sticking noise heard while operating the mouse points to dirt, debris, or dust lodged in its socket.
  • Cursor drift. If your cursor is wandering or moving on its own, it is a clear indication that your trackball needs to be wiped down.

How Do You Clean a Trackball?

How do you fix a sticky trackball mouse? Why is my trackball not working? Why is it so slow? Why won’t my trackball scroll? How do you make a trackball roll smoother? Can I lubricate a trackball? If you are asking these questions, there is a good chance that your trackball requires cleaning. Follow the steps below to clean and lubricate your trackball, restoring its optimal functionality.

  1. Remove the ball from the socket using the eject button on the bottom of the trackball frame.
  2. Clean the ball and trackball frame with a damp cloth or rubbing alcohol and allow them to dry.
  3. Lubricate the ball with a non-acidic lotion. We recommend using an oil-based lotion such as Vaseline for the best result. Evenly rub a pea-sized amount of lotion into the palms of your hands and roll the ball across the lotion on your hands until the ball is well lubricated.
  4. Gently push the ball back into the socket. If the ball feels a little sticky, simply roll it around in the socket until it moves freely.

Clean Your Input Devices Weekly to Maintain a Healthier and Productive Workspace.

It is recommended that input devices be cleaned on a weekly basis to maintain a clean workspace, optimize the functionality of each device, and extend their lifespan. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the devices and instead use diluted alcohols or similarly gentle products. It is important to wipe down and sanitize the work surface during this weekly routine as well to maintain a clean work environment and promote a healthier workplace for all.

*For detailed instructions on cleaning your keyboard please see the following blog: https://www.kensington.com/news/ergonomic-workspace-blog/how-to-clean-your-input-devices-properly/

If you have additional questions, refer to our support page.