How to take care of your Pool Table Cloth
Congratulations on the purchase of your pool table, we know the research you have done and joy you will experience now you own your treasured game table. Therefore it makes good sense to invest your time in caring for your cloth as it is one the most crucial components for accurate and enjoyable play. Try to get into good habits from the minute you get your table as looking after your cloth will provide you with years of enjoyment. It is easy to keep your cloth in tip top condition and the better you look after your table the better the game play you will enjoy. Any damage in your cloth or dust will alter the way the cloth plays. It might seem obvious but cloth that has holes, liquid stains, bare patches or chalk build up will reduce the performance of the cloth and will cause the ball to veer off in different directions or will travel slower.
Here is our complete guide to maintaining and caring for your cloth. We strongly advise you to read all our comprehensive details on caring for the cloth on your table, however if you are looking for a quick ‘fix’ the click on the relevant link below to see the full information.
General Cloth Care & Maintenance Tips
A lot of this advice might seem obvious but we can all get complacent and forget the obvious.
Remember, treat the cloth with care. Don’t pass liquids, sharp or heavy objects over the table. Don’t use the table with dirty hands. Oils and solvents can damage the cloth, so wash your hands thoroughly before using the table. Keep coins clear of the table, a sharp edge of a coin can easily put a hole in the cloth. Replace your table spots regularly to avoid the cloth underneath getting worn.
Regularly check your balls for chips, dents and damage. Chipped balls can wear the cloth prematurely. Clean balls regularly with an approved cleaning agent like the Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner, and you can buy replacement pool balls here. Lastly, don’t allow anyone to smoke over the table, make sure there is always an ashtray nearby.
Pool Table Covers and Tops
It makes sense that the best way to look protect and look after the cloth on your pool table is to cover it up when it is not in use. There are various options that allow you to do this easily, economically and practically to bespoke and stylish. Soft pool table covers are fitted dust sheets, made to the approximate size of your table, that can be easily stretched over the pool table to protect the cloth from dust, UV rays and any light spillages. There are a range of soft pool table covers available from our shop.
The other option to protect your table are hard pool table tops. Hard pool table tops really are the best way to protect the cloth and slate on your table and are usually made in two or three pieces to be easily lifted onto your table when it is not in use. Hard table tops can also double up to provide useful storage space and can even convert your pool table into a bespoke dining table or why not consider a table tennis top for even more enjoyment. You can see our range of pool dining tables here, and see our table tennis tops here.
Lightning Pool Diner Table with hard top. (From £4995)
Brush your cloth
Once you have protected your cloth when it is not in use the next thing you must do is get into the good habit of brushing your cloth. Keeping your cloth clean from any build up of chalk and dust with regular brushing will allow for much faster, cleaner game play and longer life for your table. Keep your cloth free of chalk and dust by brushing it. However, it is important to know whether your table is fitted with a napped cloth or speed cloth as it will make a difference to the way you will brush your cloth.
Napped cloth is a woven cloth whereby the weave of the fabric will run in one direction. You will be able to feel this if you run your hand along the fabric of the table. Napped cloths are traditionally found on English pool tables and it vital to brush it correctly to maintain the best performance possible. To do this brush gently but firmly in straight lines in the direction of the nap (not against it), from the baulk line and ‘D’ towards the spot. Take care to brush under the cushions to dislodge any chalk dust build-up – again, in the direction of the nap. You can create a pile of dust at the end of the table ready to hoover up. The easiest way is to use a specially designed brush kit for your pool table. See our pool table brushes here.
If your pool table is fitted with a speed cloth then the cloth is predominately made of nylon and doesn't have a directional nap so brush it in any direction you like.
How to Vacuum your Pool Table Cloth
Once you have brushed your cloth then you can you can use a vacuum cleaner gently to remove any piles of chalk and dust you’ve made. A hoover used gently on the rest of the table can also be really helpful to dislodge any dust or chalk that the brush might not reach. To vacuum your table you should use a very low setting on a non-powerful vacuum cleaner, small handheld/car vacuums are ideal and an extended nozzle will really let you get right under the cushions. It is imperative that you gently use your vacuum in long straight lines that run with the nap of the fabric. DO NOT use circular movements or run the vacuum against the nap of the fabric.
Ironing your Pool Table Cloth
If you really want to keep your table in professional condition then you can use a special pool table iron to ensure the nap is laying in the correct direction. Ironing should only be done after brushing, hoovering and cleaning the cloth.
Set the iron to a low-to-medium heat, allow it to warm up, and then use the iron at a 45-degree angle, this helps to avoid heat marks, and always keep the iron moving. Make sure you move the iron in straight lines in the direction in the direction of the nap. NEVER iron against the direction of the nap or let the iron stop on the cloth. We would only advise using a specialist pool table iron. Pool Table Dowsing Iron available in our shop.
If your table is fitted with a speed cloth then these cloths do not need to be ironed. It is, in fact, advisable not to iron them due to the high nylon content in case you melt the cloth.
Removing A Stain from your Cloth
Obviously, we hope that you are careful with your pool table by protecting it and keeping it covered, as the best way of removing a stain from your cloth is not to get one in the first place. However, accidents do happen, and if they do, then there are steps you can take to stop all from being lost.
Fast action is key here, the quicker you react to any spillage the better the chances of saving the cloth. Ensure that you immediately lay paper towels as soon as liquid is dropped onto your cloth. Lay the towels gently on the top of the spill and let them soak up the liquid, keep changing the towels as they become saturated with the liquid. DO NOT be tempted to press down or scrub at the spillage, this might push the liquid deeper into the cloth.
Once the staining liquid is removed, dampen a cloth towel with water and gently start to dab at the area. Again do not scrub at the stain, push down on the towel hard or soak the area. When you are happy that you have done all you can with wet cloth towels, immediately use dry cloth towels to dab at the area and soak up all the moisture.
If the above advice does not work on a particularly stubborn stain then you can try a solution of vinegar and water. Mix the solution on a 50/50 concentration and use a clean cloth to dab at the stain, again take care bot to soak the table and use clean dry cloths to absorb any moisture after. If none of the above has worked, consider using a specially-formulated cleaning agent that is designed for pool table cloths, like the Ambersil Pool and Snooker Cloth Cleaner.
Remember, the quicker you act on any spillage the better the result will be.
Minor Cloth Repairs and Cue Tip Damage
Sometimes unfortunately accidents happen and your cloth may get damaged. A small hole from a miscue or minor cloth damage can temporarily be repaired with a cloth plaster. Cloth plasters are strips of baize that you can stick over the hole or damage.
Whilst it is not a perfect solution they will allow you to continue to use the table without causing any further damage to the hole. They will also level out the hole which will improve ball travel and certainly look better than a hole.
Of course the best way to avoid any holes from a miscue is to keep cue tips well-chalked. Your cue will also need regular maintenance so ensure tips and ferrules are in good condition, and replace if necessary.
Re-covering your Table
Your pool table is a piece of precision gaming equipment, and the cloth is one of the crucial components. A cloth that has been looked after will provide years and years of accurate, enjoyable play, however, if your cloth has become too worn and threadbare then the only solution is to have your table professionally re-covered. This isn’t as drastic as it sounds and a good professional will give you years more enjoyment of your table. You might even want to use this opportunity to try a different quality or colour of cloth or even have a bespoke design to give your table a whole new look. Book our professional pool table recovering service here.