When you stop and think about it, pool tables aren't exactly all that cheap. After all, a relatively inexpensive one can run you around $600, and they usually only go up from there. Even the felt itself isn't all that cheap since, depending on where you go, it will run at least $80 for just the material necessary to replace a damaged tabletop. That doesn't count installation costs. Cleaning pool table felt properly is one of the easiest, and most important, methods that you have for ensuring that you don't end up wasting your money on such a purchase. All you need to do is follow these instructions.
- Have the proper tools. The first thing that you need to do when cleaning pool table felt, as with cleaning just about anything else, is to have the right tools for the job. Most of the tools that you will need can be purchased at any pool store, some sporting goods stores, and online. The two biggest tools that you will need to purchase are a pool table brush (also known as a broom) and some specially formulated pool table felt cleaner. Other tools and items that you will need you should be able to gather from around the house, such as a clean white absorbent rang, some warm water, and either a handheld vacuum cleaner or a regular vacuum cleaner with upholstery attachments.
- Identify any stains. Take a good look at your pool table, and see if you can find any stains. Stains typically need to be dealt with differently than a table top that is simply dirty from general use. There are specific steps that need to be taken to deal with stains, but they should only be handled after the table has been generally cleaned so as to avoid any potential problems.
- Work the rails. Brush the rails of your pool table using a clean pool broom. When you do this make sure that you are using short, quick strokes to avoid damaging the felts. At the minimum this step should be done on a weekly basis, though it is recommended to do it after you have finished playing for the day.
- Start in the center. Starting in the center of your pool table, begin brushing your pool broom in quick short strokes (again to avoid damaging the felt) outwards. Eventually you will want to end up in one of the corner pockets, but by starting in the center you are more likely to get everything.
- Chose one end. Go over your table once more to ensure that you haven't missed anything, unlikely though it may be if you did step four correctly. This time though you will want to start at one end of the table, and work your way towards the other.
- Vacuum. Place the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, or use a hand vacuum, and go over your tabletop. Once you have done that, make sure that you also vacuum out the pockets to pick up any dirt, dust, or trash that may have ended up in there.
- Dampen a rag. Now that you pretty much have your pool table felt clean, you can begin working on any stains that there may be. Get one of your clean white rags, and get it damp, not soaking wet, but damp. This means that when you get the rag wet you need to wring it out really well.
- Apply some cleaner. With the rag damp, you can now apply the felt cleaner to the stain. Be sure that you apply it in the manner that is described in the instructions that came with the cleaner.
- Dab, dry, inspect, and repeat. After the cleaner has been applied then dab (do not rub) at the cleaner and stain. Continue to dab at the stain until the area is completely dry. Do not be afraid to change rags if necessary to help facilitate removing the stain. When you believe that the stain has been removed, allow the area to dry. When the area is dry, inspect, and if necessary repeat steps seven through nine as necessary until the stain has been removed.
If, for any reason, you are wary or uneasy about cleaning pool table felt yourself, don't risk it. One of the most important parts about cleaning items such as this is that you need to have self-confidence in your skills, or you will end up second-guessing yourself and possibly causing damage that you didn't intend. Instead, hire a professional to help you out.