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How to Clean Your Pool Table Felt or Cloth

How to Clean Your Pool Table Felt or Cloth


Let’s be real – your pool table is going to get dirty. Whether it’s from regular play, dust, pets, kids, spills, etc, it’s going to happen. So what’s the best way to clean the cloth or felt on your pool table play surface and rails?

Here’s a quick “how-to clean your pool table guide” from our experts at Game Rooms Direct.

First, a warning - never, never, never use a vacuum cleaner on your pool table cloth. At a minimum, you will reduce the life of your cloth, and at worst, you may stretch and even tear the cloth.


Tips for keeping your pool table clean.

Here are some tips before we get started.

  • The best way to keep your pool table clean is to invest in a good cover and keep the table covered when not in use.  We sell covers for pretty much any pool table size on our website.  If you don’t have one, get one.
  • When you clean your cloth, don’t forget your pool balls – good time to get that tackled as well.  Use a bit of detergent in warm water to dampen a rag.  Use this rag to clean the pool balls.  Then rinse and thoroughly dry them.
  • When cleaning the cloth, always brush in the direction of the nap in the cloth. To figure this out, run your hand over the cloth.  In the direction of the nap, the cloth will feel smooth while going against the nap the cloth will feel slightly rougher.  Also, be sure the brushes you use for cleaning are clean before you start.

Pool Table Cleaning

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started.  

  • First, clean the cloth on the rails with a pool table rail brush (pictured below) by brushing in the direction of the nap.  Always brush in straight lines, no circles and no back and forth.


Pool Table Cleaning: Rail Brush - Game Rooms Direct


  • Next, use the under rail brush (pictured below) to get at any debris under the cushions by brushing in the direction of the nap, forcing the debris out toward the middle of the pool table.


Pool Table Cleaning: Under the Rails Brush - Game Rooms Direct


  • After that, use your table brush to sweep in the direction of the nap from one end of the table to the other.  Again, only in a straight motion in the direction of the nap. Do not go in a circular motion and do not go back and forth. You can be fairly firm with the pressure you press down with to be sure the indented brush bristles in the center of the brush are pressing down on the cloth
  • Keep repeating this until you’ve cleaned the entire play surface and brushed all the debris to one end of the table.  You can choose to either brush the debris onto a piece of thin cardboard or dustpan (be sure the dustpan doesn’t have any edges that could catch on the cloth), or you can brush the debris into a pocket.  
  • Lastly, use either a vacuum attachment to clean inside the pockets or better yet a damp cloth.  Better to leave the vacuum in the closet so you won’t be tempted to use it on your cloth.

There are some commercial cleaners labeled for tabletop 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 they would recommend.


What do I do if I have a spill on my table cloth?

Get to it right away!!!  If you let the spill remain on the table cloth, it will permanently stain it.  There are some models and brands of cloth out there that have a Teflon coating on them that will help to protect the cloth against a spill and make them easier to clean up.  

Regardless of what cloth you have, use a dry, white, cotton absorbent rag to dab up the spill right away.  Always dab the rag, do not rub the rag into the cloth.  If the spill is not recent, you can try a slightly wet, warm absorbent cotton cloth to try to dab out the spill.  Use water only, soaps may stain the cloth.  


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