I have an old mouse from a old HP computer which I am using with one of those PS2-to-USB converter cables.

The problem is that the mouse has changed its color a bit over the years and is now a bit yellowed. Also, the mouse's ball has also got dirty.

What is the best way to clean up this old mouse?

  • What is the mouse interface?
    – user3169
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 15:15
  • @user3169 I added the photo
    – Suici Doga
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 13:25
  • The adapter and port has nothing to do with the question at hand. Please reformat this question so it, ideally, asks a single question.
    – user12
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 13:40
  • I cannot add images to comments so I added to the post
    – Suici Doga
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 13:53
  • I've reedited the question to ask the specific question, and removed all the unrelated references to PS2 adapters, etc. What is more important is to give us a picture of the bottom of the mouse and/or an HP part number so people can advise you how to open it up and get at the workings so it can be cleaned.
    – user12
    Commented May 9, 2016 at 14:45

3 Answers 3


For the mouse ball, remove it and clean the rollers with some rubbing alcohol and a q-tip or if its really grungy, pick the crud off with your fingers first. The ball itself can usually just be wiped off with a dry cloth.

As for the yellowing of the casing that's normally a problem with the casing discolouring due to flame retardants oxidizing the plastic. You'll want to try using a Retrobright treatment. There's a question here where its described in full. How to get rid of yellowing in plastics?

  • 1
    @suici-doga, I usually use isopropyl alcohol. Do not work half the times as some yellow still remains - in some small cases, makes the plastic weak and I don't know why. So avoid using it for rare gems. But, mnem, this answer of yours really helps! I can now sign the retirement of isopropyl alcohol!
    – José
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 1:27
  • Alcohol will not affect the yellowing in the least because the discoloration is not caused by anything on the plastic, but rather the chemicals inside of it. In particular, the fire retardant bromide added to plastics of the era is susceptible particularly to UV light. Retrobrite treatments help that, but if exposed to UV again, the yellow comes back.
    – knghtbrd
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 21:39
  • Regarding the brittleness of the plastic, it's already going to be brittle. Alcohol won't change that, and contrary to many claims neither would hydrogen peroxide. I cannot say the same for other agents added to various retrobrite recipes to create slurries. The liquid stuff shouldn't make the plastic more brittle. Reports are that the cream developer also does not, however you may need to babysit it more because it's not transparent.
    – knghtbrd
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 21:43

The best thing I ever found for cleaning mouse balls is denim. The texture seems to be perfect. New denim might be an issue due to the fuzzy fibres getting on the ball.

Don't use anything sharp to clean the interior plastic rollers as the scratched plastic will collect dirt more quickly and extreme scratches could cause uneven rolling.

Retr0brite will remove the yellowing of the exterior but it will yellow again if exposed to UV or heat. Of course you can also retr0brite it again if that happens.

  • 2
    Welcome to Retrocomputing Stack Exchange. I like this answer; it proposes solutions and warns against others, and even points out the flaws in its solutions, while retaining good solutions. +1 from me.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Jun 6, 2016 at 18:22
  • My mouse isn't too yellow just a little bit
    – Suici Doga
    Commented Jun 7, 2016 at 1:20

No tools or fluids method, takes about a minute or two all total:

Unscrew or unclick the retaining plate on the bottom, remove the ball, then find the two or three rollers. Scratch off the accretion on each roller with your sideways fingernail, (so the roller cannot turn more than a few degrees), turning as needed to get all 360 degrees. The lint-like stuff tends to come off in short strands. (The ball is virtually never significantly dirty, leave it be.) Shake the resulting detritus out of the mouse, then pop the ball back in and put on the plate.

(Alcohol dries out rubber and plastic, and it's pointless to sterilize a mouse ball. The mouse ball is like a tire, it picks up lint and moisture by design.)

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