Mouse Wax

Review date: 1 April 2003.
Last modified 03-Dec-2011.


Mouse Wax!

Yes, this is a bottle of Mouse Wax.

"MouseWAX ", actually, according to the people selling it. But I'm not one for that sort of typographical flummery, and the USPTO trademark database doesn't seem to have an entry for "MouseWAX" or "Mouse Wax", so I don't know quite what the deal is with the "".

Anyway, this stuff sounds like a joke.

"Mouse Wax". Yeah, right.

I'll just go and get it, shall I? It's in the same place as the "left handed hammer", the "long weight" and the "spare spirit level bubbles", isn't it?

And I'm not helping Mouse Wax's credibility at all by reviewing the stuff on the first of April.

Look, this is not my stupid April Fool's piece for 2003, all right? This is. Mouse Wax is real.

The real people who are really selling this real product, which is real, have a Web site. It's not, though; that was already taken by a site about as serious as the product name deserves.

Instead, the Mouse Wax site is here. It was originally just a subdirectory of a Shogo clan site, but that's OK; there isn't exactly a megacorporation bottling this stuff.

A half-ounce bottle (about 15 millilitres) of Mouse Wax will set you back $US8 plus $US5 shipping (apparently to anywhere), and you can pay via credit card or PayPal.

Should you?

I'm glad you asked.

Waxing up

Mouse Wax isn't really wax. It's a milky white water-based non-toxic liquid. You apply it to the feet of your mouse - and sparingly to your mouse pad as well, if you like - to reduce friction. Reduced friction gives you easier mouse movement, and easier mouse movement is generally accepted to be A Good Thing among those of us who have a sneaking suspicion that an hour not spent with a crosshair in the middle of your screen is an hour wasted.

For Mouse Wax to be any use to you, you need a mouse with slick hard-faced feet. Pretty much all mouses for some time have had this kind of feet, but some older and weirder models have fuzzy feet, which are completely unsuitable.

You also need a slick plastic mouse mat. If you're using a cloth pad, Mouse Wax on your mouse's feet will still reduce friction, and putting some on the pad itself may apparently help as well, but just switching to a plastic mat will make more difference.

There are several models of hard plastic mouse mat available. At the moment, I'm using an Everglide Giganta Optical Smoke. The new polyethylene version, not the lousy original polystyrene version; I review both of them and explain what the difference is here. Ratpadz are fine, too. Plastic-topped, rubber-backed floppy mouse mats will also work with Mouse Wax.

Wax on foot

Mouse Wax's application instructions are simple enough. Drip it on the mouse feet (the bottle has a neat dropper nozzle), spread, leave to dry. Wipe a little over the mat as well, if you like. You can use the mouse as soon as the wax is dry - it dries about as fast as water - but leaving it overnight or even for a whole day will make it harder wearing.

At one drop per mouse foot, you ought to get 50 to 100 waxings of a four-footed mouse from each half-ounce bottle of wax. If you wax the pad as well, using the recommended method where you moisten a something lint-free and wipe the pad with that, you'll be able to use the wax up rather faster. But miserly users should be able to make their $US13-including-shipping bottle last almost a year.

I dosed up my IntelliMouse Explorer 3.0 (reviewed here) with Mouse Wax, as recommended, and wiped a little on the Giganta as well. I left the mouse sitting upside down next to the mat, with a desk fan blowing over them, overnight.

The Explorer's got a lot of miles on it now, but its feet are still slick, and the Giganta's near-new. So I didn't have much mouse friction to start with. The next morning, though, the mouse was noticeably easier to move. Not amazingly so, but the difference was big enough to be obvious.

The official blurb says Mouse Wax "makes your mouse fly effortlessly across almost any surface you can test it on". I didn't notice that much of an improvement. But smoother, it was.

I didn't detect any great loss of this new slickness in the course of the day. Properly cured Mouse Wax is meant to last at least a few days, and that claim seems to be valid.

It doesn't come off on your hand, either. I've occasionally wiped plastic mouse mats with silicone spray for a burst of extra slickness to get me through a few intense hours. This dry lube beats silicone spray hands down.

After a day of using the mouse, I tried another coat of wax on the Explorer's feet, and dried it again as before. The next morning, I think the mouse might have been smoother again, but the difference was slight at best.

It's a few days later now, though, and there's still wax all over the feet. Extra coats increase the wax's durability, if not its slickness.

Any good, then?

I repeat: This product is not a joke. It's real, it's quite good, and it's a fine gift for the game-playing PC enthusiast who has everything. As long as he or she does not yet have Mouse Wax.

I'm inclined to suspect that Mouse Wax is actually some ultra-mass-produced industrial surface protectant, or bicycle chain lube, or something, of which the Mouse Wax people just bought a 44 gallon drum. There's probably a humungous markup in the $US8-plus-shipping price for the three inch high bottle.

But so what? "Mouse Skatez" (reviewed here; you can apparently use Mouse Wax on Mouse Skatez, though it won't necessarily achieve a lot) are a massively marked up product, too. You'd pay a lot less per inch if you just bought your own big roll of the Teflon tape that's sold as Mouse Skatez. But then you'd probably have a hundred consecutive lifetime supplies of the stuff, and the same goes for Mouse Wax.

Readers of this column have suggested a few other options for mouse lubrication - furniture polish, bike lube, ski wax and, um, personal lubricant.

If you don't have a bunch of friends willing to pitch in on a bulk purchase, 15 millilitres for $US13 is likely to be much better value than some ludicrous unusable quantity for $US100 or more.

Mouse Wax is neat. I like it. Nobody in the world really needs it - OK, maybe some elite cyber-athlete, or something, but come on, give me a break - but it's a cool idea, and it does actually work.


Review Mouse Wax kindly provided by Mouse Wax.

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