A good mouse is nothing without an excellent mousepad. Using a quality mousepad is important because the surface and material will determine how easily your mouse glides across it.
Having your mouse not respond exactly to your movements can be the difference between winning and losing competitive games. So, how long do mousepads last, and how can you take care of them so that they last longer?
How Long Do Mousepads Last?
Most mousepads last 5+ years, especially if they’re taken care of. This means keeping the dust off of them and washing them occasionally when they get dirty. This also means not spilling drinks or food on them. Eventually the corners of the mousepad will curl up, which means its time for a replacement.
One great thing about mousepads is that they will last practically forever. Even when they start to give out, they can still be used and pushed to their absolute limits. Unless you’re constantly spilling stuff on your mousepad and ruining its surface, you will not need to think about replacements very often.
No matter how well you take care of your mousepad, there will come a point when it starts falling apart. This could be because the surface is wearing out, or its corners are frilling. You’ll know when this happens because your mouse may not be as responsive, or you’ll see the corners curl up and your mousepad won’t stick to your desk like it used to.
How Long Do Gaming Mousepads Last?
Gaming mousepads last 5+ years in most circumstances. Gaming mousepads will typically have some kind of design on them, and that design may fade away after a year or two of consistent use. However, the mousepad itself will still be very usable and function long after the logos are gone.
There’s not much of a difference between gaming mousepads and regular mousepads, to be quite honest. Most gaming mousepad products will boast about their micro woven cloth, and how great the surface is for gaming.
There is some truth to their claims. Gaming mousepads typically allow your mouse to glide much better than office mousepads.
Some more good news is that gaming mousepads will last just as long as typical office mousepads. The logos and designs may ware out faster because they will be getting used a lot more than a casual mousepad, but the cloth will stay intact for 5+ years most of the time.
How Long Do Hard Mousepads Last?
Hard mousepads have been known to wear down with a single year of consistent use. Hard mousepads are great for gaming and offer a lot less friction than regular cloth pads. However, the hard surface gets damaged a lot easier and hard pads are also known to damage mouse feet very quickly.
Hard mousepads have a lot of give and take, and experiences vary greatly depending on who you ask. However, most people agree that hard mousepads need replaced every year or so. Some pads have been known to only last a few months. Being a hard surface, they are more prone to scratches, dings, etc.
Hard mousepads have also been known to destroy the padded bottoms of mice (the feet). How quickly this happens depends on the mouse and how you use it, but a lot of people notice some damage within the first few months of using a hard mousepad.
How To Make Your Mousepad Last Longer?
The best way to make your mousepad last longer is to keep it clean and free of dust. Whether your mousepad is hard or cloth, dust and dirt will cause unnecessary friction which can cause rips and tears to the pad and damage the feet of the mouse. Not rolling up your pad excessively will also really help.
Dust is the enemy of many gaming components and peripherals. Mousepads are no different. Your mouse will grab a hold of excessive surface dust and drag it along the pad with each swipe. This will ware down any designs on the pad in the best case scenario.
In the worst scenario, it will damage and tear the mousepad. This is especially true for hard mousepads, and dust will just amplify the damage to the bottom of your mouse.
Keeping dust and dirt off of your mousepad is the best way to extend its life. Wipe it off whenever you can, use a lint roller, and even wash it occasionally to keep it in good shape. If it’s possible, try not to travel with your mouse pad too much, as this will also shorten its lifetime.
Constantly rolling up cloth pads and tossing them in a cluttered backpack is not good and heightens the chance of a tear significantly.
How Often Should You Clean Your Mouse Pad?
It’s a good idea to clean your mousepad every week or so, and do a full wash once every few months. In general, if your mousepad is dirty, it’s a good idea to wash it. You can stop it from getting as dirty with daily lint rolling and cleaning, but it’s impossible to completely prevent the dust from building.
There’s this little trick known as the white line test that gamers have been using on their mousepads for a while. Take your fingernail and scrape down your pad’s surface. If there’s a big white line where you scratched, this is all of the dead skin and flakes that have built up and it’s probably time to give your pad a wash.
To fully wash your mousepad, just use a little bit of dish soap or shampoo. Get the surface slightly wet and gently rub the mousepad until it’s nice and clean, then let it air dry. You want to use a light cleaning mixture, which is why I recommend dish soap. Some people simply throw their pads in the washer or scrub away at their mousepad full force and are fine. It’s up to you whether you want to take that risk, and the results will depend on your mousepad’s material and age. Either way, make sure to let your mousepad air dry.
How Often Should You Replace Your Mousepad?
You should only replace your mousepad once you start to notice significant wear and tear on its surface or its corners. Most of the time, a simple cleaning will fix any issues with a mousepad, but occasionally tears will form or the corners will curl up off the desk, which means its time for a replacement.
The good thing about mousepads is that they’re durable and they’re timeless. Unlike computer hardware, which becomes outdated within 5-10 years, a mousepad will work perfectly for as long as its intact.
Most of the time, this means replacing the mousepad ever 3 – 5 years or so, but it varies greatly by the quality and the materials of the mousepad and how it is used. Some people have to replace their mousepad yearly, some have used the same one for a decade.
What Can You Use Instead Of A Mousepad?
If you do not have a mousepad to use, you can use a hardcover book, a plastic folder, a stack of paper, cardboard, newspaper, or anything non-reflective. Reflectiveness can mess with the laser of the mouse, so you need something opaque. It’s a good idea to avoid hard surfaces, as they can hurt the mouse.
I’ve personally used a folder instead of a mousepad. It wasn’t the greatest thing in the world, but it definitely got the job done and I was still able to play League of Legends with some success.
The key is to find something non-reflective, smooth, and sturdy enough to handle your mouse swiping back and forth across its surface.
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