It might not seem like a big deal, but a dirty pool table can become a problem over time. It looks bad, for one thing — a dirty pool table is not a pretty sight, especially if it's meant to impress guests and entice them into playing a game. Felt is also absorbent, which means if it isn't cleaned regularly, it can become permanently stained or, worse, start to smell.
Beyond that, a dirty pool table will impair your ability to play. Pool balls need a low friction surface to glide across. As your pool table felt accumulates dirt and grime, it will eventually affect how the balls roll. Markings may also become indistinct, making it tougher to perform.
So what can you do to protect your investment in your family's entertainment? Simple — learn how to clean pool table felt properly.
Prevention Is Key
Before we get into how to clean felt on a pool table, here are some good habits that will keep your table from getting so dingy in the first place.
Keep Food and Drinks Off the Table
This is a tough one for many people, as pool and refreshments go hand-in-hand. If you accidentally spill something on your pool table, it could stain the felt or even damage the wood underneath.
Don't Smoke Around Your Pool Table
You can learn everything there is to know about cleaning felt on a pool table, but the smoke will be infused into every nook and cranny of the tabletop. The felt absorbs smoke easily, and the odor often ends up being permanent. And if someone drops hot ash on the felt, it can leave an unsightly stain or burn right through it.
Apply Chalk Away from the Table
To minimize how much chalk you'll have to scrub out of the felt later, make sure you chalk up your cue far enough away from the table that the dust won't settle on the soft, absorbent surface.
Clean Your Pool Balls Occasionally
Pool balls pick up oil and grime from players' hands that can be transferred to the felt over time. Cleaning them helps them roll more smoothly and keeps them from making a mess of your table.
How to Clean Pool Table Felt Without Making a Mess
To extend the lifespan of your pool table and its surfacing felt, it's essential to find the right tools and learn how to use them properly.
Use the Right Brush
Ensure you get a brush with soft bristles to avoid unnecessary wear on the felt. Many companies make brushes specifically for cleaning pool table felt. These typically have longer bristles on one side to better clean under the rails.
Brush in One Direction and Clean Afterward
Brush in a single direction, beginning at one end and working your way to the other. Every time you make a pass, pause and remove any debris that has built up on the brush. Don't scrub the felt like you would a concrete floor.
Start Around the Rails
Take care not to touch the bristles to the wooden section of the tabletop — you only ever want the bristles to touch felt. To make this easier, you can cover the bristles closest to the wood with a microfiber cloth.
Get a Suitable Wood Cleaner for Wooden Areas
Shop around for a pool table-approved wood cleaner and use an ultra-soft, lint-free microfiber cloth to work it around the frame. Steer clear of any products that might scratch or discolor your table!
Clean Spills Immediately
Dampen a clean cloth with warm water and use it to gently blot the mess. Don't rub! After absorbing the worst stain, take a second dry cloth and use it to soak up the moisture left behind by the first cloth.
Use Special Products for Hard Stains
There's no secret to how to clean pool table felt stains — it's as simple as seeking out cleaning products designed specifically for pool tables. For best results, use them as instructed and only when necessary.
Don't Forget the Pockets
When you're done with the rest of the table, wipe the pockets from top to bottom with a damp microfiber cloth, then dry them with a second microfiber cloth.
How Not to Clean Pool Table Felt
Don't use a vacuum cleaner. Some guides recommend using a vacuum for specific steps, but this is never a good idea. As tempting as it may be to treat your pool table felt like an area rug, it's practically guaranteed to tear it up.
Get All the Supplies You Need at Billiard Factory
Billiard Factory has been providing families with quality pool tables and accessories since 1975. We offer an unmatched selection of cleaning supplies to help our customers protect their tables so that they'll provide years of fun and fellowship!