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I play FPS's with a simple optical mouse that has little 'feet' at the base. I find that the feet regularly pick up 'lint' which changes the movement of the mouse, hence throwing off my aim. Currently, I have to scratch it off with my fingernails every few rounds, but I would like a solution that would prevent the lint from appearing in the first place.

Are there any simple solutions or is this a very unusual problem?

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Only thing worse than mouse link, is mousepad lint. – tzenes Aug 10 '10 at 1:25
@tzenes I kept typing link instead of lint :D – mechko Aug 10 '10 at 1:27
This question appears to be off-topic because it is about lint. – GnomeSlice Mar 27 '14 at 2:49

Clean the area frequently, and have a clean area to work with.

If you're cleaning your mousing area with a paper towel or a wet wipe, try to make sure you're cleaning with a lint free cloth, or you'll probably just add more stuff to the area.

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On painted/lacquered surfaces, window cleaner instead of plain water works very well, too. – foraidt Aug 10 '10 at 7:25

The gooey part of the lint is mostly dead skin cells so there's not much you can do to avoid it. Try washing your hands before using the mouse and using a smooth plastic mouse pad instead of a cloth faced one.

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Actually I don't use a mousepad at all – mechko Aug 10 '10 at 3:15
Actually I made the opposite experience: Using a cloth faced mouse pad results in less lint than a plastic or no mouse pad. – foraidt Aug 10 '10 at 7:27

I used to use an IceMat (frosted glass mouse mat) and it came with some glide tape that you cut up and stuck on your mouse feet. When the lint built up you just peeled it off and stuck another set on.

Looks like ice mat are now Steel Series and they seem to do a range of accessories including the glide stuff. Not a 'free' solution but might be better than scratching the lint off...

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I appreciate the answer, however the scratching off takes ten seconds. I'm hoping to avoid the build up of lint in the first place. – mechko Aug 10 '10 at 2:00
Yeah fair enough... what sort of surface do you run your mouse on? Do you use a mouse mat? What type of mouse mat? The glass one I used to use was pretty good for reducing the buildup (as opposed to the cloth/rubber ones), but short of making sure the surface is clean and dust free before you start your gaming session I'm not sure what to suggest :) – Matt Aug 10 '10 at 2:17
I am playing on a fake wooden desk :-p – mechko Aug 10 '10 at 5:26

My mouse feet were stickier than normal, so I would apply nail polish remover (or rubbing alcohol) to clean and prolong the collection of lint. And like others have said, I would get a decent mouse pad, since a few bucks will save you constant aggravation of scratching off the mouse feet.

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