Can You Vacuum a Pool Table? What You Should and Shouldn’t Use

After many games of pool, the felt can get pretty dirty. If you’re desperate to clean it, you’re probably wondering if you can vacuum a pool table without damaging the felt?

Vacuum cleaning is the easiest way to clean carpets, and linen-like fabrics, such as a pool table felt. But with pool table felt, you need to practice some caution to be sure that vacuuming won’t damage it. We’ll highlight whether vacuuming the felt is safe and how you can choose the right cleaner. 

Will Vacuuming Pool Table Felt Damage It?

Vacuuming the pool table felt is the quickest way to remove dirt, debris, and dust. This helps maintain the smoothness and functionality of the table felt.

You might be wondering… won’t the vacuum damage the felt? Yes, it can, but only if using the wrong vacuum cleaner or attachments. The felt can’t be vacuumed with the same cleaner attachment used for cleaning floor carpets. Vacuuming the pool table felt is recommended as long as you gently use a non-rotating brush to avoid damage. 

Typically, the felt is delicate, and its damage will significantly impact the table’s performance when playing. It’s essential to understand the materials and habits to use and avoid when cleaning. Vacuum cleaning with the right tools is a surefire way of keeping your pool table in its best condition and elevate your gaming experience. 

Besides vacuum cleaning, is there any other better way of keeping the felt clean? Certainly, there isn’t. That’s why you need to ensure it’s done with the proper vacuum cleaner attachment. We’ll review some of the best attachments suited for cleaning the felt.  

Best Vacuum Attachments to Use on Pool Table Felt

Your choice of vacuum cleaner should have a light suction with upholstery and crevice attachments. Connecting the attachment to the hose makes it easier to remove chalk and dirt off the table. Crevice attachment enhances cleaning under the rails. 

The efficiency of the attachment also depends on the type used. Non-rotating brush attachments are the most ideal for cleaning the pool table felt. Normally, most vacuum cleaners use a rotating brush attachment to kick up the tiny dirt and debris from a carpet, enabling the suction mechanism to suck them up easily. 

In the case of a felt, a rotating brush attachment will pull up the felt and cause damage to the smooth surface every pool enthusiast desires. Therefore, always go for a non-rotating attachment and test it before putting it on the felt to ensure it’s soft. 

Ensure your vacuum cleaner uses an upholstery attachment to attach to a regular cleaner’s hose. 

What Vacuum Attachments NOT to Use on Pool Table Felt

When choosing an attachment, avoid those with bristles, as these can damage the delicate felt. If you must use one with bristles, ensure they’re very soft; otherwise, they can easily cause damage. Generally, it’s recommended to use a handheld soft bristle brush to sweep away dust and chalk residue before using a vacuum cleaner to go deeper.

 After using the handheld soft bristle brush, ensure that your vacuum cleaner has a suction-only attachment. Additionally, do not use vacuum cleaners with a straight suction as this can also pull the delicate fibers of the felt, causing damage. 

Canister vacuum cleaners often are the most preferred for cleaning pool table felt. These cleaners offer better suction and flow rate, making it easier to clean the pool table. 

Tips For Vacuuming Pool Table Felt

Apart from using the right vacuum cleaner with the proper attachment, it’s also crucial to apply the right technics when vacuuming the felt. Below are several important tips we put together to assist you in cleaning the table felt.  

Tip 1: Start with a handheld soft bristle brush

Since rotating brush attachments are not ideal for cleaning the table, use a handheld soft bristle brush to dislodge the dust and chalk residue. Always keep the motion straight and avoid making patterns to make the felt smooth and even. 

Tip 2: Test the suction power beforehand 

Before starting the cleaning, ensure you’ve tested the suction power of your vacuum cleaner off the table. Applying too much suction will stretch and pull the cloth, creating uneven bumps that can be annoying or derail the ball’s movement. 

Tip 3: Avoid Circular Motions when vacuuming 

Never move the vacuum cleaner in circular motions. Instead, vacuum from one end to another, moving in the same direction. Also, you can clean from the pockets but always maintaining the same direction of motion. 

Ensure the motions are slow and in straight lines, with each line closely parallel to one another until the whole felt is clean.

Tip 4: Pay attention to felt in hidden spots

Direct the vacuum cleaner attachment to the felt beneath the rails and move it slowly and carefully when vacuuming. Take caution not to jam the attachment into the pool table rails, as this can cause damage to the bumpers, thus affecting the quality of gameplay. 

Tip 5: Clean the pockets with a slightly damp cloth

The leather pockets and wooden rails also need to be kept clean. You can do so using a slightly damp microfiber cloth. If the pockets contain debris, suck them gently using the vacuum cleaner.  

After vacuuming the felt, inspect the pool table to ascertain whether the equipment did a good job. If you just bought a new vacuum cleaner and are simply trying it out, we recommend vacuuming only a small square section in a corner. If the quality of the work it does isn’t impressive, don’t proceed any further and get yourself new equipment. 

Other Options if Vacuuming Doesn’t Clean the Felt

In most cases, if done right, vacuuming the pool table felt is the most effective way of removing dirt and dust. But the efficacy will also depend on how dirty the felt was and the frequency of cleaning. A regularly cleaned pool table will rarely be very dirty and therefore easier to clean. But if the cleaning wasn’t effective, you can use other cleaning options. 

Pool table brush 

Gently brushing the felt with a pool table brush is much safer and is less likely to cause damage. However, the brush must strictly be a soft and light billiard table brush. Again, note that the brushing direction should be from one end to the other while avoiding circular motions. 

When brushing, take caution not to drop the dust and dirt in the pockets. Instead, use a small dustpan or cardboard piece to collect the dirt.

Slightly damp cloth

Use a slightly damp piece of cloth sparingly to remove spots from drink spillages. Avoid dipping the cloth in cleaning agents used for carpets. Instead, use plain water only and rub gently on the stain without making circular motions to avoid warping the felt.

After cleaning with a slightly damp cloth and the section has dried up, gently brush it to create an even nap. 

Chemical option

Some manufacturers have some chemicals marketed for cleaning pool table felt. The table felt cleaners are ideal for getting off the tough stains caused by liquid spillages. Take caution to use only cleaners specifically made for pool table felt. 

Avoid using stain removers and carpet cleaners as these can cause irreparable damage to the felt. Felt cleaners should be the last resort if other cleaning methods do not remove the stubborn stains. It’s also recommended to seek advice from the pool table manufacturer if it’s ideal to use the felt cleaner

Final Thoughts

Generally, the pool table felt is delicate, and any inappropriate cleaning methods can ruin it and eventually ruin the gameplay. 

While you can vacuum a pool table, it’s crucial to understand that only proper types of vacuum cleaners and attachments should be used. Always avoid rotating brush attachments and use non-rotating types. Also, the suction power shouldn’t be straight to prevent pulling the felt and damage it.