How to clean a mousepad without damaging it

Office equipment across a desk including a mousepad, mouse, keyboard and plant
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Knowing how to clean a mousepad is fairly straightforward, but few of us will actually get round to it — a bit like cleaning the keyboard. When you think about it, a dirty mousepad is pretty gross. You most likely use it every day, and the grease, dirt and oils from your palm and wrist will be rubbed into it as you work and game. Stains can even be left from hand creams and perfume.

Before you know it, your mouse will struggle to track on it. But, before you throw it in the trash and order a new one, cleaning a mousepad is actually very easy. All it takes is a few household items and a little TLC. Here, we'll take you through how to clean a mousepad step-by-step. 

How to clean a mousepad — Fabric or cloth 

What you'll need

Dish soap

Sponge or brush

Microfiber cloth or towels

Before we go into this DIY method, it’s important to clarify that you should not use it on RGB or wired mousepads. Otherwise, you could end up damaging your mousepad and voiding the warranty. This cleaning method is explicitly for cloth and fabric mousepads. 

A mousepad submerged under soapy water in a sink

(Image credit: Future)

1. First, fill up a bathtub, sink or a large basin with lukewarm soapy water. Do not use hot water as this could melt the adhesive between the cloth and pad. 

2. Submerge your mousepad in the water.

3. Use a brush or sponge to scrub the mousepad. Scrub in circular motions and be careful not to bend the mousepad too much if it has a foam base, or you could risk damaging it. Likewise, don’t scrub too aggressively on the foam side for the same reason.  

A mousepad being scrubbed with a sponge in the sink

(Image credit: Future)

4. Once you’re satisfied that the dirt and stains have been removed, you can drain the water and rinse out the mousepad with fresh warm water. If you have a foam base, you can squeeze the mousepad between your fingers to remove excess soap, but don’t wring it or you could damage it. 

5. Now that all of the soap is washed out, you can pat your mousepad dry using towels or a microfiber cloth. Press it flat with whichever you choose on both sides to soak up as much as possible.  

6. Then, leave your mousepad out to dry completely, cloth side down, before reusing. It will need a few hours at least, or ideally overnight. 

7. Repeat as necessary. 

Can I wash my mousepad in the washing machine?  

Some mousepads are actually machine-washable — you just need to check the care label to confirm the best settings. If no instructions are given, err on the side of caution and wash your mousepad by hand. If you do use the washer, throw it in with some towels to soften the load and protect it during the cycle.   

How to clean an RGB or wired mousepad 

A mousepad with RGB lighting

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Because it’s electronic, an RGB or wired mousepad should not be submerged in water. Instead, follow these steps:

1. Make sure it’s fully unplugged and away from any other electronics. 

2. Soak a fresh microfiber cloth in warm, soapy water, then wring it out as best you can. You want it to be damp, not sodden, but still soapy.  

3. Wipe the damp cloth across your mousepad and along the sides to remove any dirt. Avoid any ports of openings as you do this as well as the electronics box. 

4. Rinse the microfiber cloth with fresh water to remove any soap and wring out fully once more. 

5. Wipe the cloth over the mousepad to remove the residual soap. Keep rinsing and wringing out the cloth and reapplying until all soap is gone.   

6. Leave your mousepad out to dry completely before using it.

What about rubber and plastic mousepads? 

If you own a rubber or plastic mousepad, then you’re in luck! All you need to do is wipe it clean with wet wipes or a damp microfiber cloth. Just make sure it’s completely dry before you use it.  

Katie Mortram
Homes Editor

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be air purifiers, as the information provided and the difference between performances is extensive.