Pool Table Felt Cleaning

Pool tables are a long term investment that will last many years if you maintain them well. The felt on the pool table is delicate and must be clean with caution. Only use brushes that are made for pool tables and never scrub in a circular pattern. Vacuum dust off of the table after you brush it. Dab at spills immediately but never rub them. Only use pool table approved cleaners. Keep your table clean by not chalking over it, keeping it covered, and keeping anything that’s not pool equipment off of it.

Method 1. Brushing and Vacuuming the Table Use only a pool table brush
1. Use only a pool table brush. Brushes made for pool tables have soft bristles that are gentle on the felt. Never clean the felt with an abrasive brush because the felt is delicate. Brush the table regularly, at least once a week.
  • Pool table brushes can be bought at pool table supply stores, recreation and hobby stores, some big box stores like Wal-Mart or Target. They can be ordered online from various vendors, too.
  • In most cases you will pay around $10-$20, but you will use the brush often enough to make it a worthwhile purchase.
Brush with straight strokes
2. Brush with straight strokes. Anytime you brush the felt of a pool table, use quick and short forward strokes rather than circular motions. Brushing the felt in a circle only moves the dirt around and damages the felt. Use light strokes rather than hard scrubbing strokes.
Start brushing in the center
3. Start brushing in the center. Brush the dirt outward to the edges of the pool table. Brush the dirt into a lines or piles so you can vacuum it up. Once you have done that, brush the table again from one end to the other to get anything you might have missed on the first pass over the felt.
  • Don’t brush the lines of dirt all the way under the bumpers because this will make it harder to vacuum up. Make the lines a few inches from the edge of the table.
Vacuum up the piles you made
4. Vacuum up the piles you made. Use either a handheld vacuum or a standard vacuum with a hose attachment. Don’t use the vacuum brush attachment because it may be too stiff. Be sure to vacuum carefully under the bumpers where dirt and dust are more likely to accumulate.
  • Use a narrow nozzle attachment to get under the bumpers.
Vacuum the entire table
5. Vacuum the entire table. Use a wide rectangular attachment and run it from one end of the table to the other in long strips. Don’t run it in circles. Use light pressure rather than pressing it down hard into the felt. Make sure to get the entire table to remove as much of the accumulated dust as possible.
  • Be sure that your vacuum does not have too much sucking power as it can actually pull at the fibers of the felt and cause more problems. If you have to use a strong vacuum, don’t put it directly onto the felt to reduce some of the force.
Method 2. Cleaning Up Spills
Place a dry, white towel on the spill immediately
1. Place a dry, white towel on the spill immediately. Lay paper towel, or a white fabric towel, flat on the spill. Don’t press down or you might push the spill into the felt. Replace with dry towels multiple times until the majority of the spill is absorbed.
  • The most important thing is to clean the spill up as soon as it happens to reduce the time it has to soak into the felt and the table board beneath it.
Blot the spill with a white towel dampened with water
2. Blot the spill with a white towel dampened with water. If you spilled something besides water, gently dab at the spot with the damp towel. Rinse the towel multiple times to pull up as much of the spill as possible. Don’t apply too much pressure as you dab at the spot.
  • Never scrub at the spot because this will mess up the felt.
  • After you have blotted the stain away with water, you can dab it with another dry towel to help it dry out faster, then allow it to air dry.
  • Use vinegar to lift stains
    3. Use vinegar to lift stains. If blotting the stain with water does not sufficiently remove it, mix a solution of vinegar and water at a ratio of 50/50. Dip a cloth in the solution and dab at the stain again. The vinegar will break the stains chemical bonds better than water. Rinse the cloth and dab repeatedly as needed.
    • Vinegar is a less harsh solution than chemical cleaning products so it is safer for felt tables.
    Use a pool table felt cleaner
    4. Use a pool table felt cleaner. If blotting the stain with a damp cloth does not completely remove the effects of the spill, use a cleaning product. Only use a cleaner that says it is specifically for pool table felt. Carpet cleaners and other stain removers can damage the felt worse than the spill did.
    • Only use cleaners as a last resort if the spill is bad and can’t be blotted away.
    • Seek help from the manufacturer or a professional pool table dealer to determine which product you should use.
    Method 3. Reducing Debris
    Chalk your cue away from the table top
    1. Chalk your cue away from the table top. People often carelessly chalk their cue over the top of the table, but the fine grittiness of chalk can slowly wear away the felt. Keep the table top clean by always chalking your cue off to the side of the table rather than over the table’s surface.
    • Don’t be afraid to tell guests that you don’t want them to chalk over the table. They won’t think about it if you don’t tell them, and it’s your table so it’s okay to have rules.
    Cover your pool table when it’s not in use
    2. Cover your pool table when it’s not in use. Pool table felt attracts animal hair from shedding pets. Dirt and dust get into the felt, so keep it covered whenever you aren’t using it to prolong the life of the felt.
    • Pool table covers are often included in the purchase, but if you don’t have one, it is a worthwhile investment to protect your table.
    • Even if you don’t have a cover and don’t want to buy one, lay a clean sheet, tarp, or blanket over the table which will still keep it cleaner than being uncovered.
    Keep anything that isn’t pool equipment off of the table
    3. Keep anything that isn’t pool equipment off of the table. Never set food or drinks on the table. Never hold cigarettes or cigars over the table. Place some stools, tables, or shelves near your pool table to avoid setting things on the table. Set ashtrays near by if you have smokers playing on the table.
    • This rule applies to anything that does not belong on the table, including but not limited to messy kids toys, pets and pet supplies, chemicals and cleaning products, and dirty clothes or shoes.
    • Preventative measures will keep the table clean so that you don’t have to do more work than necessary.