How to Clean a Felt Pool Table Top

Two Methods:General CleaningTreating a Stain

Someone will always end up spilling something on the pool table at some stage during its lifetime! Pool table tops get dirty – drink spills, chalk marks and powder, dirt build-up, accidents with food, just to name a few possibilities. Regularly cleaning the felt top is important to help keep it looking great and to prolong its life.

Method 1
General Cleaning

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    Remove all balls from the pockets. Take this opportunity to give them a clean too by wiping them with warm water and a soft cloth.
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    Purchase a pool table brush. This brush is suitable for using on felt table tops – it consists of bristles in two lengths, longer at the edges and shorter in the middle. They're inexpensive; look for them online under "pool [or billiard] table brush" Use it after every playing session to remove dirt, dust, chalk dust, and any other foreign contaminants that have appeared during the games. Wipe or brush down the bumper railings first, then brush the felt top; this allows the dirt on the railings to fall on the felt top before you have gone to the effort of brushing it. Sweep all of the dirt from the center of the table into the nearest pockets using straight brush strokes. Do not use circular motions as this will go against the weave of the felt, causing it to rub up.
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    Vacuum the pockets using a thin, long nozzle connection on the cleaner. Repeat this process for each hole.[1]
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    Polish the wooden areas around the top, sides, and legs. Although this doesn't impact the felt itself, it does help to remove possible contaminants located on the wood that can migrate to the table top. Use your usual wood polish or oil; citrus based wood polishing oil is suitable.
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    Try a proprietary product. If preferred, there are pool table cleaning products on the market. These cleaners claim to penetrate the felt pile without dampening it and the manufacturers of such products claim that sweeping just moves the chalk around rather than removing it. Do your own research of such products and ask at a specialist sports store.

Method 2
Treating a Stain

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    Clean spills immediately. Only use warm water and an absorbent cloth. Soap will leave an unsightly scum stain.
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    Place the absorbent cloth over the spill. Don't press, just let the cloth do the work.
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    Blot the area with a dry and clean uncolored cotton cloth. This will soak up any remaining liquid.
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    Add warm water to the spill area and blot up again without rubbing. Felt responds poorly to rubbing; it shifts its shape, fluffs up, and it never looks the same again – don't do it! Continue until the spill is cleaned.


  • Purchase a pool table cover. This should be in place when the table is not in use; it is the best defense against dirt and other contaminants affecting the table top when unused.
  • Encourage players to chalk their cue stick away from the table to minimize the amount of chalk dust falling on the felt.
  • Immediacy of cleaning is the key to an effective clean of pool table tops - fix spills as soon as they happen and clean the table top every time the session of games is finished.
  • Encourage people to eat and drink away from the pool table by providing high bar tables away from the table, with stools.


  • Never let kids play on an uncovered pool table and never let pets sit or walk on it. If you let this happen, the table will get marked and damaged. Keep the cover on.
  • Avoid using soapy products lest they leave a residue on the felt. Always prefer a clean, damp cloth over any cleaning product when it comes to cleaning felt.

Things You'll Need

  • Pool table brush
  • Vacuum cleaner with thin nozzle attachment
  • Pool table cleaning solution (optional)
  • Wood polish and polishing cloth (or wood oil)

Article Info

Categories: Stain Removal | Cue Sports