No man cave is complete without some sort of table-top game taking residence front and center. From poker tables, to pool tables, to ping pong tables, and even foosball, there are a variety of choices for any guy who wants to add a touch of casual gaming to his dude dwelling.
If you’ve decided to go with an air hockey table, then you might have discovered that those things need quite a bit of maintenance. Over time, an air hockey table will get all scuffed up, making the game a lot less than satisfying. And that’s why you’re reading this now.
Getting your air hockey table nice and shiny is an essential part of owning one. By making sure the playing surface is as slippery as it should be, you can get the best enjoyment out of each set you play.
Ready to bring that tired old thing back to top shape? Read on to find out how to make an air hockey table slide better.
First Things First – What’s It Made Of?
Air hockey tables that are used for official tournaments follow a specific set of guidelines for construction. This guides the players to make sure that they’re using a standardized playing field to minimize the possibility of performance issues caused by the game environment.
Designs that are intended for casual use – which is likely what you have in your bro abode – are made of far cheaper materials to make them more affordable for casual players. Often, the playing surface itself is made from lacquered or polished plastic, which is lightweight and cheap.
Knowing what your air hockey table is made of is important because it should guide your choices when it comes to buying the right cleaning agent. Some people think they can use household cleaning materials to polish an air hockey table. But many of those products can actually corrode the surface and make it even rougher.
To play it safe, you might want to check out cleaning materials that are actually intended for air hockey tables. Sticking to the stuff that was actually made for your table can prevent damaging it in an attempt to get it all slippery.
How to Guarantee a Slippery Air Hockey Table
Keeping your air hockey table slippery and conducive for playing doesn’t only mean cleaning it out every once in a while. There are a few steps you need to take in order to make sure your table is kept in the best possible condition to maintain its proper functionality. These include steps that focus on cleaning, care, and storage.
- Maintain a Routine Schedule – There are unique dangers to cleaning an air hockey table too often and cleaning it once in a blue moon. As a general rule, you should want to polish that bad boy down at least once a month to guarantee the ideal surface conditions.
You can also opt to clean the table before or after every game, but never both. Remember – there is such a thing as over polishing a table, which can have negative effects on its performance. That’s why ‘cleaning as necessary’ is a great principle to keep in mind when deciding on the ideal schedule for maintenance.
- Use the Right Cleaners – Not all cleaning materials will be ideal for your purpose. Things like bleach and other powerful chemical cleaning agents can corrode the plastic surface, removing any markings and even reducing its shine.
While it’s always cheaper to come up with makeshift cleaners to polish your table, it’s still a smarter choice to use actual air hockey table cleaning agents to make sure you’re not damaging the material. Invest in a good polish that’s intended for your table, and be sure to follow the instructions that come with it to guarantee proper care.
- Spray Silicone Lubricant with Restraint – It can be tempting to spray silicone lubricant generously to get your table ultra polished, but this type of spray is only really necessary if you’re interested in a fast-paced game. Overdoing lubricant can make your table too slippery, making it difficult to anticipate the movement of the puck.
Spray a little bit of lubricant over the surface and buff it out with a clean cloth. Silicone lubricant lasts pretty long, so you might not have to re-do the process until after a few months have passed and the initial spray has lost its effects.
- Clean Out the Fans – The fan underneath the table serves to deliver air through the little holes on the surface, lifting the puck ever so slightly to make it glide across the playing field a little more freely. Dirty fans that haven’t been properly maintained can blow dirt and dust into the holes, clogging them up and reducing lift. On top of that, filthy fans can also blow with less power, so the puck might we weighed down against the faint gust.
Make sure to read the instructions that come with your table before you clean out the fans. Follow the directions specified by the manufacturer to make sure you’re not doing anything that could possibly damage the fans.
- Unclog the Holes – The tiny holes over the surface of your air hockey table are where air passes through from the fan. Over time, debris from a variety of sources can clog up the holes, reducing the air that passes through and limiting lift. This can make your table feel ‘rough’, as the puck moves more slowly without anything assisting its weight to glide across the surface.
Unclogging the holes can be tricky because you might also risk damaging the surface if you use any techniques that might be too aggressive. Generally, it’s recommended that you use a low setting on a household vacuum that’s equipped with a flat-hose. Gently move it over the holes, covering the entire surface of the table to get every last bit out.
It also helps to make sure you’re not using powder cleansers that need to be diluted in water since some particles can clog up the holes. Cloth rags that have too many loose fibers are also discouraged as the lint could build up and obstruct air.
As a general precaution, you should want to make sure you’ve got a suitable cover for your air hockey table to cover it up when it’s not in use. After all, preventing any dirt, dust, and debris from falling on the surface in the first place will reduce the need for maintenance and cleaning.
Air hockey can be loads of fun, until that table starts giving in to wear, tear, and time. Make sure you preserve your man cave’s centerpiece by taking these tips into account so that every game is as satisfying as it was the first time you popped that bad boy out of the box. A well maintained table will help your game and ensure enjoyment by all.