Whether you are a serious ping pong player with a competitive streak or a casual player who occasionally uses the table for beer pong and parties, your ping pong table will occasionally get dirty and need cleaning. When cleaning your table tennis table, it’s important to protect the surface and use the right products to ensure good gameplay. So here is our guide on how to properly clean a ping pong table. But first, here are some of the reasons why you should clean it.
Why clean your ping pong table?
While you may want to clean your ping pong table for simple aesthetics, because it has a stain or spill that needs to be cleaned up, there are great reasons to regularly clean the table, even if you don’t see any stains or spills. A dirty ping pong table:
Impedes game play
On a dusty or dirty table, the ball doesn’t bounce or spin correctly. It is a lot less consistent and so can affect game play.
Transfers dirt to your paddles
With every bounce, the dirt on a ping pong table gets transferred to your paddles, spreading dirt and dust. Dust can cause your paddle to lose its tackiness and you won’t be able to generate as much spin. (Check out our guide to cleaning a ping pong paddle here).
Doesn’t last as long
Proper care and maintenance keeps a ping pong table attractive and useful for longer, preserving its life and value. If you ever need to sell it you’ll find it a lot easier to get a good price for it if you’ve kept it in good condition. If you think your table is beyond salvage though you can check out our guide to choosing a ping pong table here.
How often should you clean your ping pong table?
How frequently the table gets cleaned depends on how often you use it, how dirty the environment is, how you store it, and other factors. As a general rule, if your ping pong table is stored uncovered in a dirty or dusty environment like a garage, it should be wiped down with a lightly dampened cloth once a week, or before every use.
What not to do when cleaning a ping pong table
When cleaning your ping pong table, you should be careful to preserve the surface of the table. This means:
Avoid using harsh cleansers
Most household cleaners are too aggressive for the more delicate surface of a ping pong table. Use a cleaning product designed for ping pong tables, or make a simple DIY solution (more on this below).
Avoid getting the table too wet
Water and moisture can ruin an indoor table tennis table. Unless it’s a table designed to be used outside the surface of a ping pong table should be protected from excess moisture. Indoor tables are made of wood and so may absorb moisture which will cause it to warp and lose its shape. Use water sparingly, and make sure that the ping pong table dries completely.
In other words, clean a ping pong table gently with the minimal amount of chemicals and moisture that will get the job done. If you have to manage tough, sticky stains, you may need to use more aggressive methods, but use the gentlest methods that are effective.
How to clean your ping pong table
What you’ll need
- A clean, dry sponge or cloth. Microfiber cloths are a great choice for a ping pong table
- A cleansing product: You may want to use a specialized cleaning product like the Butterfly Table Tennis Table Cleaner particularly if your table is very dirty, sticky, or stained. The Butterfly cleaner is free of VOCs and harsh chemicals, but gently cleans and dissolves dust and dirt from a ping pong table.
- For light, regular cleaning, you can make a diluted vinegar solution that will work well for cleaning a ping pong table. Just mix 2 cups of water with ½ cup of distilled white vinegar. You can put this solution in a spray bottle for misting or use it from a bowl or bucket with a cloth
- A lubricant. Using a lubricant like WD40 will help keep your ping pong table’s moving parts in order
- A small bucket or container with a diluted vinegar solution. Even if using a cleaning product, mix up a diluted vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 5 parts water) and bring it with you
- Clean water
Step by steps instructions
- Remove the net
- Using a clean, dry cloth, wipe down the entire ping pong table to remove any superficial dust and debris
- Mist the table with a spray cleaner and wipe it down, or wipe the table with a cloth that is dampened with a vinegar solution
- If the table was very dirty, you may want to wipe it down one more time with a cloth that is just lightly dampened with clean water
- Lubricate all the metal and moving parts of the frame
Cleaning the net
To clean the net you can use a diluted vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 5 parts water). Just place the net so that the fabric part of the net is inside the container of vinegar solution, but the vertical supports and attachments on the ends aren’t resting in the vinegar. Then allow the net to soak while you clean the table.
When it’s soaked in the vinegar solution for a bit remove it and rinse with water before leaving it to dry for 30 minutes.
How to keep a ping pong table clean
Using a ping pong table cover when the table isn’t in use will help to protect and preserve it, particularly if the table is stored in a garage, basement, or unfinished room. A covered ping pong table needs cleaning less frequently and lasts for longer.
If you notice that the table has gotten dirty or sweaty during the course of a game, wipe it down after using it, even if you cleaned it before use. Removing dirt and moisture before storing it will help to make it easier to clean the next time.
If you use a ping pong table for parties, and particularly if you use it for beer pong, it’s best to clean it after every use, and before covering it. This will prevent stains and damage from setting into the table and damaging the surface.
While these cleaning steps may seem a bit fussy and meticulous, it really only takes a few minutes to clean a ping pong table and keep it in peak condition. The more frequently it is cleaned and the more carefully it is stored, the better it will be to play on, and the longer it will last.