Can You Iron Pool Table Felt

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For someone who has invested a good amount of money to get that perfect pool table, there can be nothing worse than seeing wrinkles on it. Taking good care of the pool table is of course inevitable, but despite this you may notice irregularities. Don’t panic! There are solutions and some suggest ironing the felt as the best bet.

So, today we will try to get the answer to – ‘can you iron pool table felt? Yes, you may with a normal iron if you do not have a special pool table iron but you need to go easy on it. The iron temperature should be set to wool settings (290 to 300 F) and you must clean both the iron and felt surface before contact.

More heat can damage the delicate material on pool table, so always do a test on newspaper before attempting to straighten out the wrinkles. If you have already ironed a section and it becomes smooth, don’t treat it with heat again. At the maximum, two passes of the iron should be enough to make it straight.

We know the task is not as easy or simple as it looks, but the trick lies in arming yourself with the right tips and advice. Hence, we have created this post especially for all you pool enthusiast and fans out there to learn more about how to iron the pool table felt without damaging it.

A Little About Pool Felt Before We Go Ahead

If you are a beginner then probably you need to dig a bit deeper into facts and know what the pool felt is made of before using an iron on it. So, let’s start with bursting one of the most common misconceptions that says felt is a synthetic material that melts if ironed. It’s wrong!

Pool table felt refers to the cloth that covers the table, and it is one of the most versatile elements in the game. It plays an important role in ensuring that a billiards game goes smoothly. The fabric is typically a combination of wool and nylon material that is treated to eliminate any fuzziness on the surface.

The top surface of the felt wears a crisp look while the bottom part is fuzzy. The quality of pool table felt has a major impact on the game, and it’s important that you take good care of the material by eliminating any wrinkles that may arise every now and then.

Now that we know ironing a felt is a quick and easy solution to fix any irregularities and get a smooth surface, let’s take a look at a few things to avoid. The Internet is full of stories about people who had a bad experience at ironing the felt, but look closer and you can realize that these people did a few mistakes that you must avoid.

Tips To Prevent Damage When Ironing  A Felt

While a quick ironing can save the day and fix a few wrinkles hurting your eyes and obstructing the game, you need to follow a few things. Being careful can save the felt from damage and make it last more before you need to get a new one. So, here are some tips to prevent damage.

  • Always use wool settings and avoid high temperature exceeding 300 F or 148 C as this can damage the delicate surface beyond repair.
  • Even if you use a regular iron, make sure you avoid sprinkling water on the pool table felt as this can damage the surface. Also remember to avoid a steam iron.
  • The special pool table irons are designed in a way to adjust the settings automatically. However when you are using a regular iron, you need to take more care.
  • Cleaning the iron before using is also essential because any stains on the surface can transfer to the felt and affect the movement of balls. 
  • Besides removing the stains, you must also clean the iron surface when it’s cold to remove any dirt or dust particles or else these may get transferred to the felt.
  • Never hurry or iron in haste as you may end up damaging it rather than doing any good. Make sure you have enough time at hand to carefully smoothen the light fabric.

Steps To Iron Pool Table Felt Correctly

The steps are crucial because your objective is to eliminate the wrinkles to improve the game, not to damage it. Surface should be uniform to reduce friction to the movement of ball and help you get the desired results quickly. Here are the steps that you need to follow:

  • Start cleaning the pool table by removing any traces of dirt and dust. We recommend that you use a brush end to easily sweep out the dirt to the table end and dispel them from the table pockets.
  • Next, you need to treat the nap, which is the fuzzy woven material over the felt. You can use the back side of the brush to get rid of this and then brush the table clean one last time.
  • Set the heat or temperature ranging between 290 and 300F, and always perform a quick test on paper before ironing. If the hot iron burns the paper then it is probably not fit for the felt and may end up scorching it.
  • After adjusting the right temperature, put the iron on the pool table and start by ironing sideways to get a smooth texture like it was new. If one pass of the iron make the felt straight, stop and don’t go for the second pass. Iron it twice only if you notice wrinkles after the first iron.
  • Make sure you don’t iron too much or too frequently or else felt may turn dry and lose its shine. You must also avoid direct contact of the iron with cushion (the rubber material).

Taking Care Of Felt To Ensure Longevity

As a pool enthusiast, it’s important to love the gear and equipment as much as you love the game. You need to start with taking care of the table felt from day one and not when you start seeing marks, stains, or wrinkles on it. The preventive measures will add more years to your investment, avoid premature wear, and prevent costly repairs. Here are some quick care tips:

  • When not in use, remember to cover your table as this will prevent the felt material from fading or accumulating dirt and dust.
  • You must also avoid leaning against the table to ensure there is not much pressure applied on the rails.
  • Always keep the table away from hot and humid temperature to ensure that moisture does not harm the surface.

Knowing When To Change Felt

The best time to change the felt is when the fabric begins to deteriorate and one of the first signs is warping. After several gaming sessions, the table felt will not be in its original condition anymore. While some form of wear and tear is natural, felt is the only part that requires frequent replacement.

The pool felt can easily last anywhere between 4 and 10 years, and sometimes more if not used so often. If we are taking about a person home pool table then the felt may last for 8 years or more. However, the life of a pool table in public places or bar may be only for 5 to 6 years due to excessive use.

As the felt is installed on the surface, which is the most used part of the pool table, the replacement of this part is more frequently needed than the rest.

Most common reasons behind the wear and tear of felt are not due to the carelessness of users but the overall effect of playing the game. As the balls are covered in chalk dust, which is abrasive in nature, this works like friction to propel the balls.

Due to the nature of the pool game, it’s inevitable to use chalk and the resulting dust often acts harsh on the felt tearing the toe fibers.

Ways To Improve The Speed Of Pool Felt

The reason why ironing or maintaining the felt is so important is that the quality of table cloth has a major impact on the overall behavior of the balls. If the pool table cloth is too thick or fuzzy, it will end up absorbing a lot of kinetic energy, restricting the movement of the ball. Here are a few tips that can help in improving the game.

Cleaning regularly is important to ensure that the pool table felt feels smooth to touch and the balls roll with less resistance. Make sure you brush the cloth regularly to remove chalk dust and dirt to increase the quality of game.

Take a damp cloth and move it in a straight line to get rid of excess dust, tough stains, and stab marks that cannot be easily removed by mere brushing. Blocking is a process that prepares the felt area for ironing and should always be performed before you treat the fabric to heat.

After you done with brushing and blocking of the table felt, next you must ensure that the ‘nap effect’ is well maintained. For this, you must use a special pool table iron or any normal iron and use it at low heat to get a smooth finish.

While you can successfully make the table felt last longer with proper care and maintenance, sometimes a badly damaged felt may not be worth reviving. The best way to improve your game in such a scenario is to replace the existing felt with a new one.

Related Questions

Can I use a vacuum cleaner on my pool table felt

Vacuum cleaning is a good option as it can help you easily get rid of pet dander, dust, and chalk that cannot be removed easily with brushing. Make sure you attach a brush with soft hairs to the nozzle and avoid straight suction or rotating bristles.

What is pilling and how can I get rid of it

Pilling is the name given to formation of fuzz balls on the pool table cloth and it happens mostly with the blended wool fabrics. Negative pilling can significantly impact the ball movement and you can prevent this by brushing table frequently.

See Also:
Can You Reuse Pool Table Felt? (Here’s The Answer)
5 Best Pool Tables For Small Spaces
4 Best Pool Tables With Ball Return

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