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Most people know how to clean their keyboards or computer cooling systems, but not everyone has an idea of how to take care of a computer mouse. If you notice that your mouse wheel squeaks, it’s time to look into its insides.

1. Clean the Insides of Your Mouse

The number one reason your mouse squeaks is a lack of cleaning. Just like your keyboard, a computer mouse gets dirt, dust, crumbles, and other particles into it through the small spaces near your mouse wheel.

With time, the accumulated dirt, grime, and debris can cause your mouse to work improperly or make annoying sounds as you use it. So, the first thing you should do to solve the problem is to crack your mouse open (very gently, of course) and clean it from the inside.

If you’ve never cleaned your mouse, here’s a complete guide on how to do it without causing any damage:

1.Disconnect the mouse from your computer or laptop

As there is a lot of work and moving around involved, you want to be able to operate safely. Moreover, this step also ensures your safety, as you don’t want any electrical component you’re cleaning to be receiving a current.

2. Disassemble your mouse

Every model is slightly different, so you will have to figure out what the process looks like for your specific mouse type. Typically, you will have to unscrew the screws on the bottom to access the scrolling wheel from the inside.

It may have multiple screws, so you also need to figure out which ones you need to get to the wheel. If you’re unsure, look up a tutorial for the model you have.

Before doing that, we recommend taking pictures throughout the whole process, so the reassembly process is less confusing

3. Open the mouse

You want to be very gentle, as there is a lot of wiring, some of which connects the pieces together. Carefully separate the top from the bottom and make sure you can comfortably access the mouse wheel and easily work with it.

4. Clean the dirt out using a toothpick

The particles will gather in small narrow spaces that can be easily accessed with a toothpick or a needle. Over time, the dirt forms a relatively thick layer, so it is relatively convenient to scrape it out. Alternatively, you can wrap some cotton around a toothpick to get even the last bit of dirt and grime. Unfortunately, ready-made tools like Q-tips are too thick for this purpose.

5. Try removing the mouse wheel

This is possible for some models but not others, so be very gentle as you pull the wheel out. If your scrolling wheel is removable, you won’t have to apply force, and this small step will help make the cleaning process more convenient.

6. Use canned air to get rid of the remaining dust

Once you scrape out all the dirt you can, the smaller particles can be easily removed with compressed air. If you’re not familiar with this product, it is an excellent solution for cleaning your devices without using liquids that could possibly damage them.

7. Clean the mouse with alcohol wipes

This helps remove sweat and oils that dripped from your fingers as you used the mouse, as well as the small sticky particles. Clear around the mouse wheel and the wheel itself. Be very careful around wiring and the battery (for wireless models).

8. Put your mouse back together and enjoy the result

By this point, your mouse should be clean and good to go. Test it to make sure that the noise doesn’t persist. If it does, the issue might be a bit more complex than dirt build-up.

To prevent your mouse from gathering dirt and, consequently, malfunctioning, you should clean it at least once a month. If you notice it’s getting less responsive or starts squeaking again, clean it right away.

2. Grease the Mouse Wheel With Lube

While regular cleaning can solve most of your problems, applying some lubricant to the mouse wheel every once in a while can help you improve its performance and resolve the squeaking issue.

If you don’t know it’s a thing and have never tried greasing your scrolling wheel, you will be pleased with how much this simple fix can do for you. It can make the wheel smoother and remove irritating noises. Your overall experience with using your mouse will definitely improve.

Lubricant Options

First and foremost, you need to make sure the lubricant is not water-based and won’t damage your mouse. Keep in mind that any lubricant can damage our sensor or battery, so you need to be very careful while applying it.

The second most important thing is to use a lube that won’t gather dirt. For instance, it is advised against using WD40, which might be one of the first things you think about. As mentioned, keeping your mouse clean is the best way to ensure it doesn’t squeak, so you don’t want to use anything that is likely to attract even more dirt.

You can use a lube you already have at hand if it complies with the criteria or purchase one, keeping these two points in mind. If you’d like some ideas to get you started, here’s what I would recommend.

Our recommendation is the Finish Line 1-Step Lubricant (available on Amazon.com). It is marketed as a product for bicycle chains but, like many lubricants, can be applied in other ways and, reportedly, works great for the purpose in question. It doesn’t gather dirt and can effectively stop the annoying squeaking.

3-in-1 Multi-Purpose Oil (available on Amazon.com) is another great option. If you have to purchase a lube for the cause, this one is especially good because it can be used for chains, doors, wheels, motors – wherever you need it.

Apart from that, it is also entirely safe for the scrolling wheel and will solve the squeaking problem with just a drop. Don’t drop it directly on the wheel, though; follow the instructions below to ensure you apply the lube safely.

How To Apply Lubricant to a Mouse Wheel

1. Disconnect and disassemble your mouse. More details on how to perform this step are provided in the previous section.

2. Once you get access to the mouse wheel, try to remove it. If that’s possible, it should be relatively easy, so pull the wheel out very gently.

3. Get a q-tip to apply the lube. This is the best approach as it gives you a lot of control and minimizes the chances of damaging the mouse. However, if you don’t have it at hand, you can also carefully apply the lube with your fingers.

3. Put a drop of lube on your q-tip or finger and apply it to the axle. If you manage to get it out, you can directly apply the lube to both sides of the axle and insert it back in.

If not, put a q-tip to the axle and spin the wheel to cover it entirely. Alternatively, put your fingers with lube on them around the wheel and gently rub the product in.

4. Put the mouse back together and enjoy the result! Again, make sure to test the mouse to ensure it works quietly again.

3. Look for Damaged Inner Parts of Your Mouse

In most cases, the first two solutions will do it for you. However, if they didn’t help, this might indicate a more severe problem.

The first thing you should do is to check the insides of your mouse to find out whether anything is broken. Here are some examples of what you should be looking for, as well as possible fixes.

However, if you don’t feel very confident about fixing the mouse yourself, it is best to reach out to a professional, as the solutions below can get tricky.

Fixing a Broken Switch

A switch in your mouse is the mechanism that does the clicking. You probably don’t use the switch under your scrolling wheel as much, but it does wear out after extended use and can eventually start making squeaking noises.

If the switch is at fault, the problem can be solved by replacing it. If you’re enthusiastic about trying to do it yourself, here’s the complete instruction on how to approach this.

However, keep in mind that the process is complex, and you might break something along the way if you’re not careful. I would advise you to try it out if you have experience with similar fixes or if you don’t mind getting a new mouse in case it goes wrong.

Moreover, don’t forget that mice models vary, so the instructions can only apply to some extent. For the most part, you will have to locate the components yourself, which can be difficult if you’re unsure of what they look like. A quick google search on your specific model can help you figure things out.

With that said, let’s talk about how to replace a worn-out switch:

  1. Disconnect and disassemble your mouse. The first section of this article provides more details on how to perform this step.
  2. Remove the JST connectors. As you open the mouse up, you will see three of them attached to the bottom. Gently pull them out with your fingers or a pair of tweezers.
  3. Remove the scrolling wheel. Some models make it relatively easy to get the wheel out, but if the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) is in the way, you will need to get that one loose first. If that’s the case, move to the next step.
  4. Unscrew the PCB from the plastic bottom part of the mouse. You will find four screws securing it in place: typically, two will be to the right from the wheel, and the other two will be two the left where the micro-switches can be found.
  5. Carefully lift the PCB. This will finally allow you to get the scrolling wheel out.
  6. Locate the scrolling wheel switch. On the opposite side of the PCB, you will find the solder joints holding it in place. In order to replace the switch, you need to get it out by melting those joints.
  7. Clean the solder joints with alcohol wipes. This will help make the melting process quicker. Make sure it is completely dry by the time you proceed with the next step. Apply some solder flux to enhance the effect.
  8. Prepare the necessary tools. You will need a soldering iron and a desoldering pump to remove the joints. Follow the manuals for each tool to get them ready for work.
  9. Set your soldering iron to 350°C (660°F). Once it is heated, you should tin it according to the instructions. The process helps clean the tip of your soldering iron and improve its performance.
  10. Melt the joint. Take the soldering iron in one hand and the desoldering pump in the other. Gently touch the solder with the tip of your iron and wait a few seconds until it melts. The pump will remove the melted solder and ensure liquid metal doesn’t damage the PCB, so be prepared to hit the button at the right moment.
  11. Repeat for each solder joint. If the solder doesn’t melt, try increasing the temperature on your solder iron or changing the tip to a bigger one. Don’t go overboard with either parameter, though, because then you risk damaging the PCB.
  12. Once all solder joints are removed, you should be able to detach the switch. Use tweezers to gently pull it out.
  13. Insert the replacement switch. Make sure to put it in the correct position and fixate it with tape prior to soldering.
  14. Clean the tips sticking out on the other side from the switch before soldering them. Again, make sure the surface is dry before going any further, and add solder flux.
  15. Solder the joints. Touch the joints and the pad with a tinned and heated tip of your soldering iron. Add some solder, just enough to cover the joint. If you add too much, you will have to repeat the process from the start, the start being the melting part.
  16. Once you solder all joints, you can put the mouse back together. Task completed!

Fixing Broken Springs

Springs can wear out with time as well, and their state directly influences your scrolling experience. Among other inconveniences, old springs can also cause squeaking sounds.

The fix is much more simple than the previous one: replacing springs will take you significantly less time and is easy to do by almost anyone.

  1. Disconnect and disassemble your mouse. The first section of this article provides more details on how to perform this step.
  2. Remove the scrolling wheel. Some models allow you to just pull it out, so try to gently remove it with your fingers. If it’s secured in place, follow the instructions from the previous fix (steps 3 and 4).
  3. Remove the supporting spring. It is most likely not the one causing the problem, but while you’re at it, you can replace this one as well. It is easy to remove with your fingers, and the new one should be installed on the same side the previous one was and in the same position.
  4. Take the wheel off the mount. You will find the return spring, or the resistance spring, underneath it.
  5. Remove the spring and install the new one in the same way the previous one was installed.
  6. Put your mouse back together and check out the result!

4. Replace the Wheel

Finally, the wheel itself might be at fault. If that’s the case, it also has to be replaced. Here’s how to approach the process:

  1. Disconnect and disassemble your mouse. The first section of this article provides more details on how to perform this step.
  2. Remove the scrolling wheel. Some models allow you to just pull it out, so try to gently remove it with your fingers. If it’s secured in place, follow the instructions from the broken switch fix (steps 3 and 4).
  3. Remove the supporting spring. Remember how it was installed, or take a picture of it and put the element aside.
  4. Take the wheel off the mount and install the new wheel. The process is rather straightforward as no screws, or other elements are typically involved. You just pull the old one off and put the new one in.
  5. Repeat the process backward. Put the string back, insert the wheel, and put the mouse together. The fix is done!

5. Take Your Mouse to a Professional

As mentioned, the first two fixes are the easiest ones, and they typically solve the problem. However, if anything is wrong with the inner components, things can get more tricky.

Unfortunately, mice are not as simple as they seem to be from the outside. While some of the fixes are relatively easy to perform, others (especially the one that involves replacing the switch) require a lot of cautious work and specific equipment.

Finding the proper replacements is also no easy task. They are usually inexpensive but can be difficult to find depending on the model you’re using.

So, if the first two fixes didn’t help and your warranty still applies, definitely use it. It’s a no-stress budget-friendly solution. Most importantly, a specialist can identify what exactly is wrong and which element needs to be replaced.

However, even if your warranty has expired (or you didn’t get one in the first place), consider reaching out to a professional if you’re not confident in your skills or don’t want to go through the hassle of looking for compatible components. As much as we love DIYs, they can sometimes do more harm than good in complicated matters like this.

The Bottom Line

If your mouse wheel squeaks, thorough cleaning and some lubricant can fix the issue in most cases. If that doesn’t help, some components might require replacement, such as the switch, springs, or the wheel itself.