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Mighty Mouse Cleaning Methods

Trials of the Dead Mighty Mouse Scroll Wheel

If you've gotten used to the joys of the Mighty Mouse scroll wheel, then you know how utterly annoying it is to go to scroll down a page and not have it work. I mean, where am I without a scroll wheel?! Back to the early '00s with the whole point, click, and drag thing, that's where. Since you can't get in there to find the cause for the breakdown or blockage, you'll probably assume it's time to replace it — but don't give up hope just yet. You might be able to save yourself a few bucks and try to bring the little guy back to life yourself.

I've done some legwork and attempted a number of cleaning methods to see which one worked the best. Test methods included pressing down on the wheel and scrolling, wiping down the wheel with cleaner, trying to smack whatever might be lodged in there loose by tapping the mouse on my desk, and spraying it with canned air. To see my verdicts,


  • Unfortunately, pressing down on the scroll wheel and scrolling only works for so long. I even thought I might be at risk for pushing the little wheel down into the mouse, never to be heard from again if I pressed any harder!
  • No dice for wiping down the wheel with alcohol swabs. Unfortunately cleaning the wheel does not clear whatever is inside.
  • Smacking the mouse on my desk to dislodge whatever might have been stuck in the mouse proved more annoying to my officemates than effective.
  • The last and winner of the test was the canned air. I use this stuff to clean my keyboard, and it works wonders with the mouse as well.

It's been a number of days since I cleaned my Mighty with the canned air – having sprayed in all visible cracks to ensure my mouse was fresh and clean – and it's still scrolling along like the first day we met. If you don't keep canned air around, it will set you back at least five bucks, but you'll end up saving $45 to $65 in replacement costs!


Join The Conversation
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
cool! thanks for the tips (both the canned air and paper ones) - will go try them out on my mouse now.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
I've never heard of the paper trick before. I normally have my clients turn it upside down on a lint free clothe that has a little bit of rubbing alcohol on it and do the rubbing that way. It works 98% of the time. Will try the paper thing!
nancita nancita 9 years
I am quite literally going to try this right now. My scroll wheel has been broken for like a year. ok...hold please while i try this...Hmrph. Didn't really work. I think I have another problem.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I wanted to buy this mouse for my new macbook, but since reading so much about this I have been looking at other bluetooth mice. I just hate how all the bluetooth mice are smaller.
linb linb 9 years
Mine will scroll up, but not down. How does that happen, and how to do I fix it?
millarci millarci 9 years
BTW, I also love that you are such an apple lover, geeksugar! :)
millarci millarci 9 years
I'll have to try the canned air. I haven't tried that one yet.
MissMarisol MissMarisol 9 years
I have tried the moist towel and the can air and they work for a short time and then it stops. It is so freaking annoying. I had to get a Logitech one because it was driving me crazy.
nikki_ nikki_ 9 years
This mouse is really one of my biggest problems.. fortunately, my dad knows how to clean them.. I do that paper-mouse-scroll thing as well, but I'll have to try that canned air..
graylen graylen 9 years
I do the same thing as nova. I turn it upside down with a damp cloth and roll the scroller ball for a while. Works like a charm.
nova nova 9 years
I always take a clean piece of paper, turn the mighty mouse upside down and just scroll away until its clean. It works every time! :-)
Ursula5977 Ursula5977 9 years
At the actual store, we used alcohol swabs and a firm hand. It can be quite a pain, I know. I love that you're such an Apple fan, though!
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