6 Essential Tips on How to Clean Your Pool Table

A pool table is one of your man cave’s most expensive investments so you want to make sure you keep it in the best condition possible. Regardless of whether you play casually or invite friends over for competitive play, proper care will ensure the longest life and best performance. It doesn’t matter if you own a slate or a wood pool table, maintenance is always paramount. Whether it’s a spill on the table cloth or general wear and tear, these tips will help you keep your beloved table in pristine condition.

What you need to clean your pool table:

1. Brushing The Felt

Use a soft pool table brush that is specifically designed to clean felt gentle. A pool table brush is wider at its ends to dig in along the rails and corners. Brush only in one direction, from one end of the table to another. The best way is to start at the center of the table and brush debris towards the ends and if you prefer not to vacuum, sweep the dust into a dustpan with soft plastic sides or thin cardboard. Never sweep in a circular motion either, but always straight motions and keep the strokes light in order to prevent the cloth from stretching.

2. Vacuuming

You will see that we have a vacuum on the list of cleaning essentials, and this might cause you to think that a quick and easy vacuuming of the entire area will lift all the dust and your job is done. In this instance there are two camps, one that says, do it and the other that says “never ever”. 

We go with the pros as it makes sense that ongoing suction that pulls the dust from underneath and stretches the cloth can damage the cloth over time. Therefore, when you brush the dust from the table, brush it gently towards the pockets. 

The vacuum with its attachment can be used to suck dust and dirt from the pockets. After you vacuumed them use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the pockets clean. Gently vacuum the area between the table surface and the bumper where grime loves to accumulate.

3. Liquid Spills

Don’t rub a stain! Use a clean damp towel to absorb the spill and with a dry cloth absorb the remaining dampness. Before you start cleaning a spill or stain though be sure that the felt is clear of dust and debris. The method used would depend on what was spilled on the felt, but the fastest is a towel to soak up the liquid. 

When you blot it, you will be able to see if the stain comes off. Nothing is worse than a beautiful pool table with cold drink or beer stains. Therefore, should the inevitable happen and a spill occurs take a mixture of water and vinegar and dampen the towel but yet again, do not scrub or rub the area. 

Just blot it on the area and if the stain persists, buy a pool table felt cleaner that is specifically designed or cleaning spills.

4. Cleaning The Wood

You can maintain the wooden structure of your pool table just like another fine piece of furniture. While there shouldn’t be drinks around or on your table, wipe accidental spills off immediately. 

Wipe down the table legs and sides with a damp cloth, especially for the chalk marks before you use polish. Use a good wood polish and the beauty of the wood will continue to shine through.

5. Cleaning The Balls

What is the point of having a well-maintained, clean pool table but your pool balls are dirty? They can be cleaned with a damp cloth that will remove finger marks and dust that could accumulate especially when you do not play often.

6. Table Contact

One thing that many pool table owners are guilty of, is sitting on, standing, leaning and bumping a pool table. Even if you have a cover over your table, why should anyone sit on your table when you have couches, chairs or bar chairs? 

Any pressure has a detrimental effect on the table. It puts unnecessary pressure on the seams between the slate. When the slate is installed it is sealed and when you sit on it, the seams can crack. As soon as the seams are cracked, it wears the cloth from underneath and also has an effect of the ball’s direction.

Preventative Measures

Now that you know how to clean a pool table, have preventative measures in place to extend the life of your table. Invest in a cover for times when it is not in use and during play have a rule that drinking and eating is not allowed at the table.  

Leveling your pool table is another task that will not only keep your table in good working order, it will also make your games more enjoyable.

You can use a basic bed sheet to prevent dust from settling on the table, but if you have pets like cats get a thicker cover for added protection. A cover like Naugahyde even protect the rails and makes it easy when you decide to place anything else on the pool table like a conversion table tennis top. It will also protect the felt against sunlight and fluorescent light bulbs.

Have a small side table for the guys to place their drinks. If you are a smoker or have smoking friends, always ensure that the ashtray isn’t placed on your pool table and neither should a smoker have his cigarette hanging from his lips while leaning over your table to line up his shot.

Final Thoughts

When you follow these tips on how to clean your pool table and have rules regarding the pool table use, your investment will give you many years of pleasure. Everyone likes to play on a fast table that looks good, it’s your job to make it happen. Remember, a quality pool table is an investment, one that will last a long time. Whether you keep it and pass it down to your children to put in their man cave or decide to sell it (aarrgh!), keeping it clean will help you either way.