Black spots and surface damage on my desk?
November 10, 2008 1:06 PM   Subscribe

I've had two desks with that Ikea-style "wood" finish, and both have had the same issue. They end up covered in tiny pocks which occasionally get some kind of insubstantial black material in them, and always only under the area where I use my mouse. I can't figure out where the pocks are coming from, nor the black material. Any ideas?
posted by Pope Guilty to Home & Garden (8 answers total)
 
Do you use a mouse pad?
posted by demiurge at 1:12 PM on November 10, 2008


All mice I've ever used accumulate this gunk -- with or without a mouse pad. It's more noticeable without a mouse pad. The gunk is accumulated dust, dirt, and oils deposited on the mousing surface by your fingers as they graze the desk during mousing.
posted by pmbuko at 1:26 PM on November 10, 2008


This doesn't answer your question directly, but you can go to your local Home Depot type store and get a thin piece of plate glass cut to the exact dimensions of your desk. It saves the surface of the desk, gives you a place to stick more permanent notes under the glass, and generally makes any desktop look 100x better.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:40 PM on November 10, 2008


It's not limited to ikea stuff -- i'm currently staring at bunch of these black spots where my mouse goes on my desk at work. Thanks for reminding me -- i should really clean them off; they're really kinda gross.
posted by cgg at 1:41 PM on November 10, 2008


(note with a glass desktop you would need to use a mousepad with most optical mouses to allow smooth operation)
posted by Burhanistan at 1:41 PM on November 10, 2008


My theory: The ikea desktop is kind of soft, making it easily dented, by what, I don't know. Do you have jewelery that might sometimes get rapped onto the desktop? Buttons? Do you put your keys down there when you are getting settled? Do you plop your briefcase down? Tap a pen? Could they have been there before you started using the desk, only to become obvious after they'd accumulated dark gunk?

The black stuff is the universal dark munge that accumulates around mice. It's probably a combo of dust, dead skin, and sebum. It forms in a thin film all over the surface of your mouse area, gets shifted around by the movement of your hand and mouse, and accumulates in the depressions.
posted by Good Brain at 2:00 PM on November 10, 2008


If I read your question right, the pock marks are caused when your hand/arm/mouse move over the same spot repeatedly. This is probably making the thin vinyl veneer on the desk top to conform to the underlying rough particle board that a lot of Ikea desks are made of. Kind of like ironing a shirt on a cinderblock. This would make shallow depressions in which the skin oil and dust combine to form gunk which sticks to these low points. The solution would be for the mouse to rest on something hard and flat like glass, or on a mousepad.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 2:06 PM on November 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Wiping the area periodically with a damp cloth and a little detergent might prevent the gunk from building up. Incidentally, Ikea do sell glass tops to cover many of their desks. I have one myself. The only problem with those is that the corpses of hundreds of 'thunder bugs' seem to accumulate under them in damp summer weather.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 2:06 PM on November 10, 2008


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