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Pool Table Maintenance: What You Need to Know

Now that you have that beautiful new pool table in your house, how do you take care of it? And yes, you do need to take care of it. In order for your pool table to remain at its best, it needs some love and consideration. However, taking care of a pool table is easy and definitely worth the work! 

First of all, give your pool table a periodic check-up. The weight, blood pressure and stethoscope equivalent for a pool table are:

  • Is it level?
  • Is the cloth uniform and taut?
  • Are the rubber bumpers flush and attached to the rails?
  • Is the cabinet solid and the bolts tight?
If there seem to be issues, consult an expert.

Prevent Problems

Just like that old adage says, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Some things you can do to ensure that your pool table stays in optimum condition are:

  1. Limit exposure to sunlight: If your table is in a room with a lot of windows, keep the table covered when its not in use, or invest in some light blocking drapes to pull when the sunlight is at its worst. Sunlight can fade your cloth and dry out the wood rails. This doesn't mean you have to treat the table like Dracula; it won't burst into flames if a little ultra-violet rays reach it occasionally; but just be aware that it if is baking in the sun on a daily basis, you are risking its looks and performance down the line. A note: be careful about using an incandescent pool light over your table; it will generate heat. Opt for florescent or LED bulbs. 
  2. Limit moisture: Some basements are notorious for being damp; other rooms for being particularly dry, especially in the winter. Because it is a wood product, your pool table will benefit from being in an area with average humidity, between 40-60% on a regular basis. 
  3. Limit damage: Along with too much sunlight and too much moisture, try to protect your table from pets, jewelry, food and drink, chalk build-up, rough shots, and human abuse. This is not a cat tree, a dining table, a chalk board, or a bench. It is also not a bed, so get that idea out of your head. Respect the table. 

Routine Maintenance

The Cloth

After every game, brush away the chalk from your table cloth. Use a brush that has been designed especially for this purpose in order to avoid damaging the cloth. Brush the chalk residue in one direction, towards the pockets, where you can wipe it up with a soft cloth. As well-intentioned as brushing is, the fact remains that a considerable amount of chalk dust will end up in and under your felt. So periodically vacuum the cloth to get rid of this build up. If you have a crevice tool, those work particularly well. Don't use the brush provided with your vacuum, as it may be too harsh. And be sure to use the lowest setting. 

The Cabinet

Don't spray furniture polish on your pool table; it will get on your cloth. Seriously, just don't. The best way to clean the wood surfaces is with a soft, dry, lint-free cloth. There are a variety of microfiber cloths that work well for this. If someone or something has left some residue on the frame, you can lightly dampen a microfiber cloth and get rid of the grunge. Follow this up with a dry cloth to remove all moisture. And if you just absolutely have to use a cleaner formulated for wood, use it sparingly, put it on the cloth, not on the table, and avoid the felt surfaces. 

The Pockets

Exterior leather pockets can be kept supple and beautiful with the use of leather cleaner. Use a soft cloth to apply, and be sure to follow up with a dry soft cloth to remove any excess. Avoid getting it on the felt. 

Pool Table MaintenanceThe Balls

Pool balls collect a substantial amount of chalk during play. There is also the human factor; every hand that touches a ball leaves behind residue in the form of oil. After every game, wipe your pool balls with a clean, soft cloth. You can also use a commercial billiard ball cleaner. While you are at it, wipe off your pool rack too. Avoid wax and silicone based products. 

Keep It Covered

One of the best things you can do for your pool table is keep the cover on it when it is not in use. This will filter out UV light and moisture, keep the table free of dust and that free floating fur and dander that accompanies pet ownership. 

Use It

Your table was meant to be used! Using your pool table responsibly keeps it reactive and resilient. Playing on it keeps you happy. And happy is a good thing to be.  

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