How to Clean The Cloth of a Pool Table
A well enjoyed Pool Table is going to get dirty. It's a fact you can't deny. You've got the normal "dust" and fuzz ball issue, pet hair if you have a pet in the home, chalk trails, accidental spills and sometimes things you can't quite identify.
What you should never do
The main thing to remember when taking care of the cloth on your table is never, ever, ever use a vacuum on it. This is going to pull and stretch the cloth which dramatically decreases its' durability, not to mention affect the play of the table. Not much is more frustrating than having a shot lined up perfectly, only to have a wrinkle in the loose felt send your shot off in a completely different direction.
So, how to clean properly?
For cleaning the cloth, begin by using a special brush to sweep the bumper railings debris on to the table and then sweep any debris or lint from the edges and around the pockets, towards the center of the table. Use straight motion with your sweep, don't go circular. You want to keep your motion going with the weave of the felt so it doesn't "pucker" or shift. Once you've swept the bumper railings and edges and are ready to begin the full table sweep, begin in the middle and work towards each end. Remember to keep straight motions, no side to side or circular.
At each end of the table, lightly sweep the debris on to a piece of thin cardboard or dust pan. Make sure your dust pan doesn't have hard plastic edges or metal along the bottom that can accidentally snag or tear the felt. The ones with a soft, pliable rubber edge work great.
Some people use a vacuum attachment to clean the inside of the pockets. We recommend using a clean, damp towel to wipe them out. Don't even bring the vacuum out and you won't be tempted to use it on the felt. If there is a spill on the table, it's best to clean it immediately with a dry, white, cotton absorbent cloth. If the spill is not recent, use a slightly wet, warm, absorbent cotton cloth. Water only. Soaps will leave a mark and some residue. Place the cloth over the area and let it do the work. Don't over-saturate the felt and don't rub- this will stretch the felt and weaken that area. Pat over the area until the spot is removed.
When you clean your felt, it's a good time to clean the balls too. For the balls, warm water with a little bit of detergent works well and rinses clean. Wet a towel, wring it out, clean each ball and set aside to air dry while you tend to the cloth.
There are some commercial cleaners labeled for table top cleaning. They have been formulated to offer a "dry clean". Talk with a specially trained representative at your local Pool Table retailer to see if they have a product you would like to try.
For further information please see our video "How to Maintain your Billiard Table Cloth":