How to Clean Your Pool Table & Felt
By Phill Williams
9th Mar, 2023, 6 min read
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A billiards table can easily set you back several grand. Even the simplest of models can cost at least a thousand dollars. With such a hefty investment, it's only natural that you'll want your pool table to have a long life, right?
Despite their size, pool tables are exceptionally delicate, and even the slightest mishaps can have lasting effects on them.
Here are some innovative ways to keep your pool table looking brand new for years to come.
First, let's start with some good habits to practice that will extend the life of your pool table. After all, the less you dirty the table, the less you have to clean it.
Treat the table Nicely
Your pool table is not a coffee table, end table, or kitchen table. Do not rest your purse, grocery bags, or any clutter on the felt of your expensive investment. And don't even think about ever sitting on it!
Treat your pool table the way it was intended to be treated.
No Drinks around the table
If you invite your friends over for a round of pool, odds are you're cracking open a few drinks. Go ahead and relax, you deserve it! However, make sure there are other flat surfaces nearby as you should never put your beverage down on a pool table. The moisture from your drink can warp and stain the wood.
Even if you don't care so much about the wooden railing, you should still never put your drink down on the wood as it could easily spill onto your felt.
No, Cigarettes either
Many people keep their pool table in their basement, garage, or somewhere in the house where smoking is permitted. If you care about the longevity of your table, you may want to strongly reconsider allowing smoking. Cigarette butts and even stray pieces of ash can damage and burn the cloth of your billiard table. Not to mention, you'll never be able to get the smell out.
Lastly, don't chalk your cue over the pool table. The dust from the chalk would eventually discolor the felt as well as make it dirtier.
Get a Cover
The easiest way to protect your table is to get a pool table cover! Put your mind at ease, knowing that your table is protected from dust and harmful sun rays.
In the following section, we've discussed different methods to clean your table. The steps remain the same, whether you're cleaning a mini pool table or a regulation table.
How to Clean a Pool Table Stain and Spill
Even though you aren't keeping your drink on the pool table itself, accidents still happen. If you ever have a spill on your pool table, it's imperative to clean the mess up as quickly as possible. Use a cloth or napkins to soak up the liquid. Then grab a cloth soaked in cold water to clean the spot. It's important to remember to blot the area and not rub back and forth. Rubbing can stretch the felt or change the direction of the grain. Finish off with a dry cloth to soak up any excess liquid.
For stubborn or old stains, use a mixture of dish soap and white vinegar to lift the stain from the table. Again, remember not to rub the felt. Cleaning solutions made specifically for the pool table felt can also be purchased online (like this).
Best Way To Clean Pool Table Felt
A dirtier and dusty felt plays a lot slower and may prevent the cue ball from rolling true. There are a couple of ways to go about cleaning your pool felt:
To vacuum or not to vacuum the pool table felt? Many billiards enthusiasts will insist you should NEVER vacuum your pool table. However, you'll find just as many players who swear you have to vacuum your table.
Vacuuming is a quick way to get the pool cue chalk dust and other debris off your pool table; however, the suction can stretch and warp the felt. If you decide to vacuum your table, make sure you set your vacuum to the lowest possible section setting.
Many choose to avoid the repercussions of vacuuming altogether and opt to brush their table instead.
Pool table brushes are designed with very soft, light bristles that won't damage your pool felt. The most efficient and affordable brush is the Iszy billiard brush. This fine bristles of the brush reaches hard to reach corners, allowing you to remove most of the dust and dirt.
When brushing your table, it is essential to brush in only one direction. Start at one end of the table and brush in one direction to the other end of the pool table. Don't drop the accumulated dust in the pockets. Use a cardboard or something similar to pick the fine dust.
Brushing in circles or haphazardly can damage the felt by stretching and warping it. So, make sure your motion is straight and swift while brushing. Otherwise, you may end up disturbing the nap of the felt, which might make it loose or stretched out.
Pool Felt Cleaner - Commercial Options
In the market, you can also find ready-to-use commercial felt cleaner solutions. They're actually a great option for removing stains and hard to remove spots marks. However, it's recommended to use the cleaning solution only after you've done the brushing or vacuuming.
The reason is, the solution and the chalk dust under the table can mix and turn into a paste. So, it's best to use when all or most of the chalk dust is removed.
Recommended Product: Game Room Guys Pool Table Felt Cloth Cleaner Solution
Cleaning the Pool Balls
A pool table is nothing without the balls. Some billiards enthusiasts recommend washing the pool balls after every use, but cleaning them once a week when you brush your pool table will suffice.
For standard cleaning, just buff the billiard balls with warm water and dish soap to keep them looking clean. Lay them out (not on your pool table) to dry. There are also specialty products (like this) that are capable of removing oils from the balls that water alone can't do.
To prevent the yellowing of balls, or for balls that have already started to yellow, use a special mixture to clean them.
Alternatively, you can also use baking soda and water for cleaning. Mix them until you have a toothpaste-like consistency. Rub this mixture onto the balls like an exfoliant and rinse afterward. This little trick will keep your billiard balls looking brand new.
Pool table pockets are traditionally made from leather. Leather, while durable, is known to dry out and crack if not taken care of properly. Much like your skin, leather needs to be moisturized.
Applying a simple leather conditioner to the pockets of your pool table a few times a year will keep the pockets in tip-top shape. When using the leather conditioner, be very careful not to spill any of the liquid onto the pool table, as it is a difficult stain to get out.
The Rest Of The Table
The rest of your pool table is not as delicate as the felt, but should still be cleaned regularly. Odds are your pool table is constructed from wood. If this is the case, you can clean your pool table like any other piece of wooden furniture.
Clean regularly and pay special attention to any spills. Keep your table looking new by finishing off with furniture polish.
A Simple And Easy Process
These simple steps hardly take any time to complete, and some of them only need to be done a couple of times a year. Cleaning your pool table the proper way will ensure that your table is around for a long time to come.
Take that fifteen minutes out of your week to clean your table so you can enjoy having fun and making memories.