How to Clean a Ping Pong Paddle: What You’ll Need and Instructions
Having a quality ping pong paddle is essential to your game. A good paddle has the right feel in your hand, the right responsiveness for your gameplay, and the proper amount of spring and spin. Once you’ve found the perfect paddle, it can make all the difference. But ping pong paddles easily accumulate dust, dirt, and debris during use, along with sweat from your hands.
So, what’s the best way to clean a ping pong paddle?
In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how to clean your ping pong paddle based on my many years of experience. I’ve gone through countless ping pong rackets in my time and know just how much of a pain dirt can be!
Table of Contents
Why It’s Important to Clean Your Paddle
You need to clean your ping pong paddle regularly. Clean table tennis rubbers produce noticeably greater spin than dirty rubbers.
Taking proper care of your paddle will prolong its lifespan, meaning it needs replacing less often. And since a quality paddle can cost quite a bit, it’s worth taking care of.
What to Avoid When Cleaning a Ping Pong Paddle
Ping pong paddles need particular care in cleaning and storage because the surface is made of rubber. Table tennis rubbers degrade over time and have a precise surface texture that can be easily damaged. Here are some things to avoid when cleaning a ping pong paddle:
Harsh Cleaning Products
You shouldn’t use harsh soaps and detergents to clean the rubbers of your ping pong racket as they may cause damage.
You should also steer clear of bleach and vinegar. They are very harsh and will degrade the paddle rubbers on your blade.
Never use an abrasive scrubber on your paddle. You should avoid anything like the image above! Always use a gentle cloth or soft-bristled brush (like a soft toothbrush) for cleaning your bat. Wipe or buff gently without any hard scrubbing. You don’t want to pull the rubber off your blade by scrubbing too hard.
What to Use to Clean a Ping Pong Paddle
Here are some of the recommended products to use for cleaning a ping pong paddle:
Sponges and Cloths
Always use a gentle sponge or soft cloth when using rubber cleaners. If you need to scrub, you can use a soft nylon brush or an old soft toothbrush to tackle stubborn residue.
You can use cool or warm tap water to clean a table tennis racket. It’s not the best way to clean your paddle, but then again, it’s practically free.
Specialty Rubber Cleaners
Many table tennis manufacturers make special cleaning solutions for cleaning ping pong paddles. Products like the Butterfly table tennis paddle cleaner kit include a foam-based cleaner that doesn’t introduce excess moisture and a sponge designed specifically for cleaning and drying a racket.
We always recommend using a kit like this to clean your bat. We use them ourselves and find that they are the most effective at delivering a clean ping pong paddle.
While alcohol is a great way to fight sticky residue, it should not be your primary method of cleaning a ping pong racket. Over time, alcohol will dry and degrade the rubber. So, you may use it from time to time to manage sticky messes, but it should not be part of your regular cleaning regimen.
If you don’t want to purchase table tennis cleaner and plain old water just isn’t cutting it, dish soap is the next best step. If you opt for this route, you should select a non-biological dish soap as these are less likely to react with your rubbers.
You should also only use a very small amount. Most of the solution should be water. Remember, you can always add more dish soap if needed, but it is irreversible if you do any damage.
Baking soda is an excellent stain and odor-fighter. You can use a baking soda paste from time to time to remove stains on a ping pong paddle. However, even though baking soda is a gentle cleanser, a soda scrub can be abrasive and damage the surface of a ping pong paddle. As with alcohol, it is a good option for particularly tough dirt and stains but should be used gently and not for regular, ongoing cleaning. We like using it on the handle of our bats to remove the smell of sweat. Get a toothbrush, give it a light scrub with a baking soda paste, and dry it afterward.
How to Clean Your Table Tennis Paddle Step By Step
Step 1: Apply Cleaner
The first step of how to clean your table tennis racket is to apply a cleaning solution to your paddle rubber. Ideally, this should be a table tennis cleaner specifically designed for table tennis rubbers.
Step 2: Distribute Evenly and Wipe Toward the Edges
Once you’ve got your rubber cleaner on your surface, it’s time to spread it across the entire racket face to ensure no area is left untouched. We recommend using a cloth or sponge to do this. When you have full coverage, wipe toward the edges. This helps ensure no dirt remains on the rubber.
Step 3: Repeat on the Other Side
Flip your racket over and repeat steps 1 and 2.
Step 4: Dry Your Rubbers
Finally, you need to dry your rubbers before you put them away. You can do this by waving your racket about a bit or by using a towel. Either works. And then you’re all done, and you have a nice clean ping pong paddle! Don’t forget to put it away in a case for protection, though.
If you want a demonstration of how to clean a table tennis racket, check out the video below. You really get to see the power of ping pong paddle cleaner in action!
How to Clean Table Tennis Rubbers That Are Pimples Out
While you can use various soft materials for cleaning inverted rubbers, the same can’t be said for pimple-out rubbers. Their protruding pimples prevent you from cleaning the recessed areas of rubber. Therefore instead, you need to choose something a little more specialized to work the cleaner into the grooves between the pimples.
Any soft-bristled brush will do the trick. You can even use a toothbrush, just don’t be too rough with it to avoid causing excessive wear. A light touch is all that’s needed.
How Often Should You Clean Your Rubbers?
As a general rule, cleaning your racket after you play each session is a good idea. Even if you’re only playing for around an hour or so, your rubbers can become plenty dirty in that time, especially if you’re playing in a dirty sports hall or outside.
Therefore it’s a good idea to just make it part of your routine if you’re concerned about keeping your rubber clean. After all, the cleaning process takes less than a minute, so it’s not much hassle at all. Alternatively, you can clean after every few sessions if you want to stretch out the usage of your rubber cleaner. The thing is, table tennis cleaners are pretty inexpensive, so there is no real need to stretch out their use.
How to Take Care of Your Table Tennis Racket
Rubber is an exceptionally durable material. After all, we use it to make car tires. However, it does degrade over time and is sensitive to several things:
Stop It From Drying Out
You’ll want to avoid leaving it in dry environments. Rubber is particularly sensitive to moisture and dryness and, if left in these conditions, will shrink and crack. If you need to replace your table tennis rubber, check our guide here.
Avoid Sunlight and UV Damage
Rubber is sensitive to ultraviolet light, which will bleach and dry it. Therefore you should not just keep it away from direct sunlight outdoors but also keep it well away from sunny windows and bright light.
Extreme temperatures will cause the rubber to break down prematurely. In other words, you should clean your ping pong paddle regularly and store it properly to help it stay in the best condition.
Whether you use a case or not, avoid storing a ping pong paddle in temperature extremes like a hot car or attic or a freezing cold basement.
Keep Your Table Clean
As the ball makes contact with your table tennis table it picks up dirt and dust which is then transferred onto your racket. That’s why it’s important to regularly clean your table tennis table.
Get Yourself a Case!
While it’s good to know how to clean a table tennis bat, the best way to ensure your racket stays in a healthy condition is to store it in a case. Using a cover protects the paddle from UV damage and keeps it from accumulating dust or debris that can be difficult to remove. When you store your paddle in a case, it needs deep cleaning less frequently and remains in good condition for longer. If you’re looking for a paddle case then check out our list of the best ping pong paddle cases here.
We hope you found this guide on how to clean your ping pong paddle useful! With proper cleaning and storage, a good ping pong paddle can last for many hundreds of hours of gameplay, and still deliver great bounce and spin.
Considering that quality table tennis rackets are costly, it makes sense to invest a bit of time and attention to preserve your racket to get the most value from it.
Eugene (Gene) Sandoval has been one of those guys who spent too many hours around ping pong tables in high school. However, soon enough, Gene understood that there is more to ping pong than having fun. That is how he started a journey that made Eugene one of the experienced semi-professional ping pong players in the United States. As the founder of the PingPongRuler, Eugene spends most of his time surrounded by ping pong tables and research. He always has this knack for coming up with new ping pong strategies and telling the good and bad equipment apart.