How To Clean Your Mousepad
A lot of people don’t think about it, but while you’re out there grinding it out your mousepad is absorbing your blood, sweat, and tears. If you’re using a cloth pad it can become really filthy after a few months of use, and that can even affect the performance of your pad. So it’s a good idea to set aside a few minutes every few weeks to clean the pad so it feels as good as new. You don’t need any fancy tools either: some soap, hot water, and a place to dry and you’ll end up with a clean mousepad before you know it.
Some people go for years without cleaning their pad and don’t seem to be affected by it and others feel like they need to clean it after every gaming session. There’s a middle ground though. It depends on how much use you get out of your pad, but in general: if you can draw on your pad it’s probably too filthy. If you scratch the pad with your fingers and you leave traces it’s a sign that there’s a bunch of nasty stuff hiding in the fabric of your pad and it’s time to take it out to the treatment room (i.e. the bathroom) for a quick clean.
Once you’re satisfied that your pad is dirty enough to get you to move to the bathroom it’s time to get the necessary tools out. In this case we’re using hot/warm water, some soap (almost any kind will do) and a little washcloth. Once you have all that it’s time to go to town. Some people will say you can try and toss your mousepad in the washing machine, but that’s a bit risky for something that takes (at most) 5 minutes to do yourself. Throwing it in with a gentle cycle will probably not damage it, but why take the risk, right?
Soak the pad
I like to rinse the pad with the highest pressure showerhead setting that’s available so that I can ‘blast’ off most of the surface gunk in one fell swoop. If you don’t have a showerhead nearby it’s also fine to just fill the tub or the sink with warm water (and some added soap) and soak the pad in there. Cloth pads can handle getting wet just fine so there’s no need to be too careful here. Obviously I wouldn’t go ham on it with boiling water or a pressure cleaner, but these pads can stand up to more than you’d initially think.
Scrub the pad
The old ‘spray and pray’ method isn’t gonna do you any good here. If your mousepad is filthy you’re going to have to do some of the work yourself. Grab your soft sponge or washcloth or something similar (don’t pick anything that’s too coarse or rigid or you might damage the fabric) and start rubbing the soap into the pad, working your way out. If you’ve really taken it too far you’ll see the dirt coming right out, so keep scrubbing until it seems like there’s no more dirty stuff coming out. You can (again) be quite forceful here. Really try to ‘massage’ the dirt out of the pad or otherwise you’re just giving it a superficial cleaning and you’ll be starting again soon.
Wash the pad
Once you’re confident that you’ve gotten all of the mess out it’s time to wash away all of the soap. You want to make sure that there’s nothing but water left on the pad, so grab your showerhead and wash it all away. If you don’t have a showerhead you can just drain the sink/tub and go over the pad with a clean (soap-less) washcloth until you’ve cleaned off all of the residue. If things got really messy and you find that your mousepad is still dirty after this phase you can go back to the previous step and repeat until you’re satisfied with the results.
Now that your pad is clean you’re going to have to dry it. I recommend just hanging it somewhere (use some clothespins to help you with this) away from the sun or any direct source of heat. If you really can’t wait you can leave it in the sun or gently dry it with a hairdryer but in order to minimize the odds of damaging the materials/fabric I would say it’s best to just leave it hanging. Whatever you do: don’t put it in the dryer though.
Wait until it’s completely dried before you put it back on your desk or wherever you might want to put it and voila: feels like you just bought yourself a new mousepad.
Getting into the habit of washing your pad every so often can greatly increase your comfort and sometimes even your performance, so if you’re going out for the day and you remember that you haven’t washed your mousepad in a while then give it a quick rinse and leave it to dry for when you get back. That way you don’t have any downtime and you have the pleasure of using a ‘good as new’ mousepad all the time.