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A good game of pool will inevitably leave chalk stains all over the table’s felt. It’s of the utmost importance that you use the correct cleaning methods to ensure that your felt lasts longer. We’ve noticed a lot of conflicting information out there regarding good and bad ways of doing this, so we’ve created this article to teach you how to clean chalk off pool table felt – the correct way. Let’s get started.
One of the most common suggestions people provide for cleaning chalk dust off pool table felt is to brush it off. Unfortunately, this isn’t very good advice because using the wrong brush can spread the dust instead of removing it. This can also lead to potential damage to the felt.
Below you will find step-by-step help with cleaning a pool table felt the right way. Read on to find out how to remove chalk dust and clean the table felt thoroughly, making it ready for the next game without too much effort.
Use the Right Pool Table Brush
The first step to cleaning is brushing off the excess chalk dust from the table, but you must use the right pool table brush. The brushes made for cleaning pool table felt have soft bristles that do not damage the felt.
With this brush, clean the table regularly, at least once a week. You can get pool table brushes from any pool store or online sports store. Make sure you always use quick and short forward strokes instead of circular motions because the latter will only move the dirt around and damage the felt in the process.
Also, remember to use lighter strokes because hard scrubbing can be detrimental to the felt. Brush all the dirt and dust outwards towards the edges of the pool table. Repeat brushing again from one end to the other to pick up any dust particles you may have missed.
Vacuum the Dust from the Edges
After you have used the brush to remove the dirt and dust into piles at the edges, take a handheld vacuum with a hose attachment and vacuum the accumulated dust. Remember, don’t use the vacuum brush attachment because it is usually too stiff.
Vacuum clean carefully beneath the bumpers as the dust and dirt tend to accumulate there. You may also use a narrow nozzle attachment to clean under the bumpers.
Vacuum clean the entire table using a wide rectangular attachment, running it from one end of the table to the other. Again, remember not to run it in circles. Only apply light pressure and don’t press it down too hard. Cover the entire table, ensuring to remove as much of the dust as possible.
Another critical thing to bear in mind is to make sure the vacuum does not have a lot of sucking power, or else it may pull out the fibers, thereby weakening the felt surface. If you must use a strong vacuum, always hold it very close to the felt.
Cleaning with a Felt Cleaner
If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner or simply prefer not to use one, you can also remove the chalk dust using a felt cleaner. After the preliminary brushing, spray the felt cleaner on the entire table surface to cover every inch of it.
Wait for some time to let the foam raise the chalk to the surface. Now, take a microfiber cloth and wipe away all the foam from the felt. Be gentle, and avoid scrubbing the felt with the cloth as this can damage the surface. Let the felt air-dry for at least 60 seconds before you start playing again.
Removing Stains From Felt
With people eating and drinking while playing a round of pool, stains are bound to occur. A few drops of a cocktail or food spills on the table can leave ugly marks requiring delicate cleaning. We suggest cleaning with a mixture of water and vinegar to prevent any damage to the felt.
Follow the Steps Below to Get Rid of the Stains.
As soon as there is a liquid spill, blot immediately using a lint-free cloth. Keep blotting using a fresh cloth area by dipping it in cold water until the stain reduces much as possible. If you have a food stain, start cleaning from the outside of the stain towards its middle.
Now, wash the lint-free cloth in cold water and dab the stained area with the wet cloth without harshly rubbing on the stain. This will help to remove as much of the stain as possible.
Mix a few caps full of white vinegar with a cup of cold tap water. Now, spot-clean the stained area with this water-vinegar mixture. Keep spot cleaning that area until the stain evaporates completely.
Let the felt dry entirely before using the pool table again. If you can still see the stain after the felt dries, repeat the same process with the vinegar mixture.
Clean the Rails and Pockets Too
Once you’re finished vacuuming, and spot cleaning the felt, don’t forget the remaining parts of the pool table that need some care. Dirt and grime easily accumulate on the wooden rails, so maintain the integrity of the table by polishing (regularly) using lemon oil or citrus-based product.
Just wipe down the pockets with a slightly damp microfiber cloth to keep it clean. If your pool table has leather pockets, we recommend that you use an oil-based product to keep them soft and shiny.
Tips to Take Care of the Pool Table Felt
Having chalk dust on the pool table is inevitable, but you can follow some preventive measures to minimize the mess. This will also reduce the time spent cleaning the table felt. Read on for a few care tips.
While it’s impossible to keep chalk dust away from the table, at least you can minimize the white dust on it. To do so, apply chalk on the tips of pool cues away from the table to reduce the friction. Too much chalk dust can not only stain the felt but also get down into the fibers, affecting its overall quality.
Follow the rule of not drinking at the pool table. You can often see signs that say ‘No Drinks on the Pool Table’ in the billiards area in pool halls or bars. The reasons are apparent: a spilled drink can become a nightmare to clean if not attended to at the right time.
The next thing to remember is not to allow smoking at the pool table, as this can cause a mess due to dropping ash that can severely damage the table’s surface. Falling embers can create holes that expand over time and ruin the felt in the long run.
When you are not playing pool, keep the table covered to prevent dust accumulation on its surface. This can also prevent any unexpected accidents that can prove detrimental. You can get a pool table cover online at a reasonable price.
This is a no-brainer, and it should go without saying, yet some people still commit this mistake. To extend the life of your pool table and keep the felt good, avoid sitting on the table. This can transfer dirt and grime to the felt, causing much damage.
How long does the pool table felt last?
If the pool table is used regularly for 4 to 6 hours, as in a clubhouse, you can expect it to last for about five years. Of course, the lifespan is longer for pool tables that are not used so frequently and are adequately maintained.
How often should you change the pool table felt?
For the best playing experience, we would suggest that you change the felt every two years if you play four days a week. On average, you should change it every 2-5 years.