How to Clean Pool Table Felt [Full Guide]

how to clean pool table felt

Are you a proud pool table owner? If so, the most important routine to ensure that you and your family can enjoy countless hours of competitive play in a game room is keeping your table’s felt in tip-top condition.

With proper care and maintenance, even an entry-level pool table can provide many years of fun without degrading its performance.

So how do you keep your pool table’s cloth clean and ready for action?
In this blog post, we’ll outline the simple steps necessary to make sure that your felt stays fresh and inviting for every game night!

How Often to Clean Pool Table Felt

pool balls on a table

Having a clean pool table cloth is integral to ensuring you get the most out of your game. Ideally, the felt should be brushed after every game to remove chalk dust that can interrupt the balance of the rolling cue ball.

If brushing after every game isn’t possible, brushing at least weekly is necessary; even if your table is covered while not in use, bristle loss and dirt accumulation can still occur.

Furthermore, spills and food stains should be cleaned immediately with a clean cloth. To further ensure your billiards table’s longevity and quality efficiency, all felt surfaces should be wiped down with a wet cloth, at minimum monthly.

What Not to Do When Cleaning a Pool Table

Pool tables are unique pieces of furniture and should be treated with special consideration when it comes to cleaning. Applying the same methods you use on other tables, or furniture surfaces may seem sensible, but this could damage your pool table felt and even the table itself.

One crucial piece of advice is never to use a vacuum cleaner without special tool attachments explicitly designed for use on felt. When using full suction power, the force can pull on the felt, causing it to separate from the table and stretch the cloth. This, in turn, will lead to wrinkles and air pockets on the playing surface, eventually throwing off a pool player’s game as shots that should go one way suddenly miss their mark.

Furthermore, avoid using paper towels or napkins as they can leave their fibres on the felt. To properly clean and preserve these soft fabrics, it is best to use a damp cloth made from microfibers or lint-free material.

It’s also essential to be mindful of what cleaning products you use when cleaning the surface of your table. Harsh chemicals can be incredibly damaging to the wood and overall finish of your pool table, dulling its lustre, discolouring its surface, and in some cases, even removing the finish entirely. To ensure that your pool table looks amazing long into the future, always read labels carefully before selecting a cleaning product and opt for milder deterrents if possible.

Cleaning Equipment

pool table brush

Special Pool Table Brush

Get a pool table brush designed to clean the pool table felt.

A pool brush has an end that is shorter than the others so they can climb underneath the rail. The best brushes are made of either horsehair or nylon bristles. This brush can be purchased from a pool tables store.

Brushes range in length from 9 to 12 inches. A longer brush is best for an 8″ or more sized pool table because you can get the task done quickly and easily reach the center of the table.

Microfiber cloth

Microfiber cloths are an essential part of any pool table cleaning arsenal.

They offer powerful, scratch-free cleaning capabilities for many different surfaces, making them an essential item for this job. Additionally, few other fabrics have absorbency, like microfiber cloths.

Vacuum cleaner with an upholstery brush attachment

We strongly recommend investing in a vacuum cleaner with a hose and upholstery brush attachment.

While some vacuums may come standard with these attachments, they may not be able to reach many of the places where dirt and debris tend to accumulate.

Using the hose and brush attachment ensures that even the most hard-to-reach places are cleaned thoroughly, allowing your pool table to look like new.

Cleaning Instructions

vacuum with brush attachement

Vacuum the Felt

The first step in cleaning your pool table is to vacuum it thoroughly with an upholstery attachment. Don’t forget to vacuum around the edges of the table as well.

This will help remove any dirt that has collected on the surface of the felt over time and prevent it from becoming ground into the fabric while scrubbing it later.

Brush the Table Felt

brush on-a pool table

#1 Don’t put too much pressure on the felt

To prevent excessive wear and stretching, don’t brush vigorously or use too much pressure. All you need is to allow the brush to make contact gentle contact with the felt surface.

#2 Always brush in a straight direction

Avoid a circular motion and, instead, brush in one direction only – from the head of the table to the foot. This will ensure all areas are properly covered and that any tension put on the fabric is minimized. Using a single direction also ensures nap lies are consistent if applicable. A firm but steady pressure should be used with each stroke for the best result, similar to how you would pet an animal. Use this technique regularly, and you can enjoy your felt-lined playing surface for years to come.

#3 Clean the brush after each pass

After each pass from one end of the table to the other, remember to take the time to clean your brush thoroughly before using it again; otherwise, you might find yourself inadvertently transferring dirt or dust from one area of the table to another.

#4 Always clean the felt on the rails first

Chalkdust and dirt will accumulate along the rails, which can easily be swept up or wiped down. However, if you clean the playing surface before the rails, then all that dust and debris from the rails will get onto the playing area and into the pockets, compromising the angle of shots and making for an unpleasant experience for players.

#5 Clean pool balls

With a mild dish detergent and warm water, you can make a cleaning solution that is gentle yet effective. Simply wet a clean cloth with the soapy mixture, wring out any excess liquid, and wipe down the pool balls. Finish off by rinsing the balls with cold water to remove any soap residue. Air drying or using a dry cloth will ensure everything is spotless and ready for play.

Remove Spills and Stains With Damp Cloth

To remove visible stains:

  1. Mix a few drops of a gentle detergent or wool wash with some warm water.
  2. Dip a microfiber cloth in the mix and lightly blot the stained areas – be careful not to scrub as you may damage the fibres.
  3. Wring out your cloth as much as possible before reapplying it to the board, so you don’t over-saturate the felt. Once these areas have been treated, rinse them off with a damp cloth dipped in clean water – then let them air dry before using them again.

Tips to Keep Your Felt Clean Longer

man playing pool

  • Cover your pool table when not in use.
  • Regularly clean the accessories: balls, sticks, and rack.
  • Clean any spills or food bites from the table as soon as possible.
  • Apply chalk to the cue away from the table.
  • Do not wear accessories that can snag the felt.

Taking proper care of your pool table felt is easy. Still, it does require regular maintenance if you want to get the maximum performance out of it over time. By following these steps – vacuuming, scrubbing with soap and water, then drying off – you’ll have a sparkling clean playing surface that everyone can enjoy safely!


Is it OK to vacuum a pool table?

Vacuuming a pool table is ok as long as you use an upholstery brush attachment. Don’t use vacuums with strong suction, as it can result in stretching and damage to the felt surface.

How do you get stains out of pool table fabric?

To get rid of stains on pool table fabric, mix a few drops of a gentle detergent or wool wash with some warm water. Dip a microfiber cloth in the mix and lightly blot the stained areas – be careful not to scrub as you may damage the fibres. Make sure to wring out your cloth as much as possible before reapplying it to the board so that you don’t over-saturate the felt. Once these areas have been treated, rinse them off with a damp cloth dipped in clean water – then let them air dry before using them again.

Can you steam pool table felt?

You can use a steamer for your pool table’s felt maintenance, but always make sure to remove dirt and stains from felt before starting the process.

thomas graver

About Author

Thomas Graver

As a pool table enthusiast, I've dedicated the last 8 years of my life to learning everything possible about the right way to manage pool and snooker tables. Apart from installation and maintenance, I also play pool professionally and hope to open my own pool hall at some point.

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