Felt can be damaged by spills, heavy use, and harsh cleaning products. In order to keep your pool table in top condition, it is necessary to clean the felt regularly. There are several different ways to clean pool table felt and the method you choose will depend on the type of dirt and stain your felt has. Some methods use only a brush and vacuum, while others involve some liquids and cleaners. Some of the methods also include steps to help prevent future stains from occurring.
The best way to avoid stains on your felt is to brush it regularly. This will minimize dirt, dust and chalk buildup, which can damage the material. In addition, you should brush the table before each game and after every use. Be sure to use a brush that has soft bristles and is designed specifically for pool tables. Using regular household brushes with hard ends may damage the felt.
Another important thing to do is to keep food and drinks away from the table. If you do need to have a snack while playing, it is best to place the food on a tray or plate that will protect the felt from spills and stains. Similarly, you should never leave any cues or other equipment lying on the felt for prolonged periods of time. This can cause the felt to stretch, which will affect its ability to hold balls.
If you do have a food or drink spill, clean it immediately. If the stain is water-based, blot the area with a cloth that has been wetted with clean water. Be sure to wring the cloth well so that it is not over-saturated with water and allow the felt to air dry.
For oil-based stains, you can try applying some vinegar. If the stain is still visible, you may need to purchase a specialized mild cleaner that is safe for pool tables. You can find one online or at a local store that carries pool supplies. Always test the cleaner in an inconspicuous area before using it on your table to ensure that it will not damage the fabric.
To remove stains that are not water-based, mix some mild detergent or wool wash with warm water. Dip a cloth in the solution and then blot the stained area of the felt. Be sure to wring the cloth before blotting so that you do not over-saturate the felt. Then, blot again with a cloth that has been dampened with clean water. Allow the area to air dry before using the pool table again.
While you can prevent most stains by keeping food, drinks and other equipment off of the table, accidents happen. If you have a serious player in the house who insists on eating and drinking while playing pool, you can consider investing in a cover for the table. However, if you are not comfortable with a permanent covering, lay a clean sheet, tarp or blanket over the table to avoid any stains and damage.