A well-maintained pool table will last a lifetime and as long as you regularly clean the cloth this can last many years of home use depending on how much you play.

Like any avid pool player, we’ve all dreamed of owning our own pool table. But just like with any other piece of furniture in your home, you need to keep it clean and maintain it.

A little tender loving care for your pool table goes a very long way and fortunately cleaning the cloth doesn’t take much time and only requires a few tools.

In this step by step guide I’ll show you:

  • How to clean your pool table cloth
  • How to make a pool table cloth last longer
  • And some common mistakes to avoid

Let’s get started.

How to Clean Pool Table Cloth

Cleaning a pool table cloth comprises a few simple steps. Firstly you brush the cushions and cloth in one direction from the top to the bottom of the table, use a vacuum to clean up the debris, and finally wipe the cushions and cloth with a damp microfiber towel.

Below I’ll go into more detail for each step.

What You’ll Need:

– A Pool Table Brush
– A Damp Micro Fiber Towel
– A Vacuum Cleaner

Steps to Clean a Pool Table:

1. Brush the Cushions and Clean the Rails.

Start with brushing the tops of the cushions followed by wiping down the rails with a damp cloth. The table’s rails and cushions can accumulate a lot of talcum powder and chalk debris from the player’s hands and when chalking the cue.

If you don’t have a brush, I recommend this brush set from Amazon. Having both types of brushes makes it easier to get under the cushions.

2. Brush the Cloth.

Brush the cloth in one direction from the top to the bottom of the table. Use a medium firmness and with every brushstroke, keep the brush in contact with the cloth all the time and not flicking it into the air. That way you keep the chalk dust down on the table and not up into the air only to settle back down on the cloth later.

3. Use a Vacuum Cleaner.

Now that all of the chalk and dust is at the bottom of the table, avoid the temptation to brush it into one of the pockets. (we’ve all done it) It will just get picked up by the balls and end up back on the cloth. Instead, use a vacuum cleaner to pick it up.

A small portable vacuum with a hose attachment and a fine brush is the easiest to use. Alternatively, a handheld vacuum is also ok.

At this point, if you feel the table is still dusty, it’s ok to go over the rest of the cloth with the vacuum cleaner. Though do so with great care.

Start by vacuuming the tops of the cushions, then under the cushions and along the rail grooves, and finally the cloth, one quarter at a time.

Very Important! Your not vacuuming your carpet. Make sure your vacuum is on the lowest power setting with a fine brush and that you only move the vacuum in one direction. Preferably the same that you brushed with. This is very important as too much suction will stretch and damage the fibers of the cloth, reducing its lifespan very quickly.

4. Use a Damp Microfiber Towel.

After vacuuming wipe the table down with a damp microfiber towel.

You can use just water on the microfiber towel or if the cloth is really dirty try mixing a small cap of laundry detergent with water in a bucket.

First, with medium pressure, wipe any spots that look the dirtiest, then wipe the rails again, then the cushions, then wipe the table cloth in one direction from top to bottom one quarter at a time with a back and forth motion.

How to Make Pool Table Cloth Last Longer

  • Don’t put chalk face down on the rails: Chalk is an abrasive substance and can scratch the wood on the rails. Players can also transfer that chalk from their hands to the cloth. Plus it makes a mess.
  • Don’t use talcum powder: In most cases, you don’t need it, especially on the palm of your bridge hand. If you are in a humid country or environment try to use it sparingly. I would also suggest trying a glove. This is my personal favorite.
  • Don’t eat messy or greasy food when playing pool. Hard to do if you get hungry whilst playing at your local bar as most bar food is a prime example of what not to eat. The grease will stain the cloth and is very difficult to get out. Make sure to wash your hands after eating.
  • Use a spare piece of cloth as a breaking pad. If you play a lot of games or practice breaking this will stop the permanent burn marks that appear.
  • Clean the Balls: This is more important than you think as dirty balls will just transfer dirt back onto a clean cloth. You should regularly clean your pool balls with the Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner at least once per week but ideally after every time you play.
  • Clean The Pockets: Dust and chalk debris will collect in the pockets which will then get on the balls and transfer onto the cloth. A good habit is to clean the pockets at the same time as you clean the cloth. The best way to clean the pockets is to use a vacuum cleaner with hose extension followed by a damp cloth.
  • Don’t Drink, Eat, or Smoke Over a Table: Walk into any bar or pool hall and you’ll see the “No Drinking” or “No Smoking” signs, usually placed next to the pool table or on the table lights, and for good reason. A spilled drink, ash, or dropped cigarette can stain or damage the cloth beyond repair.
  • Don’t Chalk Your Cue Over the Table: Just like talcum powder when you chalk your tip take a step back from the table as a lot of chalk debris will fall onto the cloth increasing cleaning time, affecting the roll of the balls and shortening the life of your cloth.
  • Cover the table: If your pool table is in a dusty environment or if you have pets or young children, cover the table with a pool table cover when not in use. An old bedsheet is also fine but spilled liquids will soak through. A cover will keep the table much cleaner, increase the lifespan of the cloth and you won’t need to clean it as often. If you’re looking for a pool table cover, try this one from amazon. It’s made from heavy-duty leatherette, is durable, waterproof, and comes in multiple sizes.


Hopefully, the tips in this guide will have your pool table looking beautiful and clean in no time.

Regular cleaning and maintenance is an important aspect of owning a pool table, not only increasing the life of the table and cloth but most importantly make the game of pool far more enjoyable.

Well, that’s all for my guide on how to clean a pool table. Did I miss anything?

Either way, I’d love to see your tips and advice in the comments.


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