Clean a Trackball Mouse

Do you own a mouse like this? have you ever taken out the ball. if you've never cleaned your trackball mouse you might be surprised to see what has collected inside. I've been told that the gunk you can see in the pictures is dead skin cells, but whatever it is, it ain't pretty. In this Instructable I'll show you how to clean a ball mouse.

DISCLAIMER:this instructable is pretty idiot-proof but if you manage to break your mouse, computer, or prick yourself with a toothpick and have to go to the hospital because you can't deal with/treat a small puncture wound just remember,I'm not responsible for your computer, mouse, or hospital bill. Now lets get started

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Step 1: So Whatcha Need?

Th only thing needed for this Instructable is
  • 3 Toothpicks
  • 1 Cotton Ball
  • Window Cleaner

  • 1 Toothpick
  • 1 Q-Tip(or similar)
  • Window Cleaner

I didn't have a q-tip at the time so I used some toothpicks and a cotton ball.

Step 2: Ghetto Q-Tip

This step may be skipped if you have or will use a q-tip. I didn't have a q-tip at the time so i made a q-tip knock-off using two tooth picks and a cotton ball.
The steps are fairly simple. First take a small piece of cotton off of the ball.
Then put one end of the cotton between the two ends of the toothpicks.
Finally wind around the toothpicks and set aside for later.

Step 3: Mouse Visectomy

Before we begin, you should disconnect your mouse from your computer. once you've done that come back. I'll be waiting...

Okay first we have to remove the trackball from the mouse body, to do this, flip over the trackball mouse and locate a hole that looks at the trackball. put the eraser of a pencil, the non business end of a pen or your finger through the hole and push the trackball out. Be sure to catch it and don't let it hit the ground!

Step 4: Get in There.

Dip the toothpick in the window cleaner and use the it to scrape the gunk(for lack of a better word) out of the little bearings. Don't worry so much about the large spaces in between, thats what the q-tip is for. When you've cleaned the bearings, GENTLY clean the CORNERS of the little sensor window. i cant stress enough the GENTLY and CORNERS. if you don't you might break the sensor or scratch the window.

Step 5: Cleaning Up

Use your Q-Tip to clean the areas around the bearings and the sensor window, again, don't push too hard on the window

Step 6: Humpty Dumpty

You won't need all the king's horses to put the trackball back together again, just your fingers. Now, pop the ball back into the socket and your done. Go ahead, give it a spin.

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    21 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Spray pledge on ball. Wipe most off, let dry.


    4 years ago on Step 6

    Thanks. So simple. Thanks for taking the time to post your instructions on how to clean a trackball mouse.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I have been a couple of weeks in problems with my trackball I have tried alcohol, water and soup... but got no good results. Then I decided to ask to our new God that everything knos: Google! In her I found you, God´s angels to give me the best solution.

    Thanks WD-40 works great!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Hello everybody,
    I was wondering if anybody knows how to replace the bearings on a Microsoft Trackball Explorer. I know I am 3 years late in this topic.
    any help will be appreciated.
    Jesse M.

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I don't know if it's possible to change the bearings in these mice or if it's even worth it. If they are really gunked up even after you've tried to clean them, you might try a very light oiling. Something like WD-40 or 3 in one oil. add just the tiniest drop to the ball itself, evenly distribute it on the ball, roll it around some in the mouse and then wipe the ball clean and that should lube the bearings up for a little while.

    This is an excellent idea, I couldn't find any WD-40 so I used olive oil instead, cleaning might make it feel like new, but oiling makes it work like it should.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, I found a discussion forum site with help on changing or turning the bearings.
    Now I got a "brand new" TBE !! Kool!!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I have tried alcohol and window cleaner and found what works best for me is giving the ball and bearings a good wipe with a clothes dryer sheet. Like new every time.

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Step 6

    Thankyou so very much for this guide. That trick of how to properly pop the ball out of the hole was fantastic...and the amount of gunk I found don't want to know.

    But the ball spins really smoothly now so thankyou so very much!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I just kinda tap my mouse on the arm of my couch (I have my computer on a table next to my couch) and the ball pops out, I clean off the metal balls inside with my shirt, then I roll the ball in my shirt to clean it off, it has very simple steps, doesn't require anything other than a shirt or the trackball.

    1 reply

    it won't let me edit, just wanted to say I'd recommend oiling the mouse and the bearings with a paper towel with a few drops of oil on it, I used olive oil, works like it should have, so smooth.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    some people, when they see the mouse, they try to move the whole darn thing as if it were an optical mouse. its pretty funny watching them do this until they figure it out.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Spray some WD40 on a q-tip (outside of course) and rub it on the bearings. I've also heard of people using silicone oil (not grease) to lube it up.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Using one right now hehe. I had the same problem in FPS games, the mouse would get gunked up and even at some points become hard to move the 'ball' (yuck). The quickest 'cleaning' to do for these (ie: in between CS:S rounds) is to pop out the mouse ball, you'll see three little white 'nipples', clean the gunk off those, pop the mouse ball back in and keep playing. You're going to want to clean it out and do a proper job later on obviously, but this at least keeps you playing without having to go AFK for to long.

    1 reply

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I Think ill add a "quicke clean" step later but yeah, thats obviously much easier and quicker. Its good for getting your mouse moving again.