How to Clean a Ping Pong Table: A Step by Step Guide
Whether you are a serious ping pong player with a competitive streak or a casual table user who plays beer pong, the result is the same. Over time your ping pong table will get dirty and need cleaning.
Now you can’t just hose it down and call it a day. Heavens no! That would ruin the table! Instead, you need to take more of a methodical approach. In this guide, we discuss the proper process of how to clean a ping pong table. But first, here are some of the reasons why you should clean it.
Why Should You Clean Your Ping Pong Table?
While you may want to clean your ping pong table for simple aesthetics, perhaps due to a spillage, there are great reasons to regularly clean your table. Even if you don’t see any stains or spills. A dirty ping pong table:
1. Impedes Gameplay
On a dusty or dirty table, the ball doesn’t bounce or spin correctly. It is less consistent and so can affect gameplay.
2. Transfers Dirt to Your Paddles
With every bounce, the dirt and dust on a ping pong table get transferred to your paddles. Dust can cause your them to lose tackiness and you won’t be able to generate as much spin. (Check out our guide to cleaning a ping pong paddle here).
3. Doesn’t Last as Long
Proper care and maintenance keep a ping pong table attractive and fully operational, preserving its life and value. If you ever need to sell it you’ll find it a lot easier to get a good price if you’ve kept it in good condition.
If you think your table is beyond salvaging though, you can check out our guide to choosing a ping pong table here.
Read More: How to Clean an Air Hockey Table
How Often Should You Clean Your Ping Pong Table?
How frequently you need to clean the table depends on how often you use it, how dirty the environment is, how you store it, and other factors. As a general rule, if you store your ping pong table uncovered in a dirty or dusty environment like a garage, you should wipe it down with a lightly dampened cloth once a week, or before every use.
What You’ll Need to Clean Your Ping Pong Table
- Two sponges/cloths: Although you can get by with one, we recommend having two sponges or cloths for when you clean your table. The first is to apply your cleaning solution and the second is to wipe the table’s surface dry. Any sponge or cloth should do provided it is not rough — you don’t need a microfiber cloth.
- Water: The bulk of your cleaning solution will be water — the surface of a table tennis table is delicate so we don’t want to use anything too harsh.
- Dish soap/white vinegar: Either of these will act as your grime-busting source. For the dish soap, you can add it to the water by eye until it becomes a little foamy. As for the white vinegar, use around a 1:4 vinegar-to-water ratio.
- Ping pong table cleaner (optional): This is a dedicated cleaner made for table tennis tables. As such, it’s the best way to clean a ping pong table.
How to Clean a Ping Pong Table
The cleaning process for a ping pong table is very quick and straightforward. Before we get into specifics, we just want to stress the importance of not drenching your table with water.
Indoor table tennis tables are made of wood, and wood is porous. This means indoor tables will absorb excess water which may cause them to expand/rot. So only use as much water as you need and wipe off the excess.
For outdoor tables, on the other hand, you don’t need to worry about saturation as these tables have a waterproof coating. This means you can dump on as much water as you feel you need risk-free.
- Remove the net.
- Using a clean, dry microfiber cloth or whatever you have on hand, 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 lightly saturated with a vinegar/dish soap solution.
- Rinse out your cloth with water and do another take over the table’s surface to ensure that no vinegar or dish soap remains.
- Finally, go over the table with a dry rag or sponge to prevent water from penetrating the surface of the table (skip this step if you have an outdoor table).
Cleaning the Net
To clean the net, you can use a diluted vinegar solution (1 part vinegar to 5 parts water). Remove the net from the posts and place it in the vinegar solution. Allow it to soak while you clean the table.
When it’s soaked in the vinegar solution for around 15 minutes rinse it off with water before leaving it to dry for 30 minutes.
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:
1. Avoid Using Harsh Cleansers
Most household cleaners are too aggressive for the delicate surface of a ping pong table. Use a cleaning product designed for ping pong tables, or make a simple cleaning solution.
2. Avoid Getting the Table Too Wet
Water and moisture can ruin an indoor table tennis table. This is because they are made from wood — they will absorb water which can cause them to warp and lose their shape. Use water sparingly, and ensure that you dry your ping pong table after cleaning.
3. Don’t Clean Too Often
Most tables don’t need cleaning all that often, especially if you keep them protected under a cover. Therefore avoid cleaning them too frequently as this will increase the likelihood of the paint job degrading.
How to Keep Your Table Clean
Using a ping pong table cover when the table isn’t in use will help to protect and preserve it. Particularly if you store your table in a garage, basement, or unfinished room. A covered ping pong table needs cleaning less frequently and lasts for longer. Here’s our post on what we think are the best ping pong table covers.
If you notice that your table has gotten dirty or sweaty during 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 beer from setting into the table and damaging the surface.
Can You Use Windex to Clean a Ping Pong Table?
Although Windex is designed for glass and other non-porous surfaces, it seems to work well as a cleaner for ping pong tables. However, I would do a quick spot check on your table to be sure, and as with other cleaning solutions, apply sparingly.
How Do You Clean Ping Pong Wood?
Ping pong tables react to water the same way any other type of wood does. The surface expands and breaks down if it becomes exposed to too much water. Therefore you shouldn’t use excessive water when cleaning your table.
Use just enough alongside either dish soap or vinegar. Alternatively, purchase table tennis table cleaner.
What to Clean a Ping Pong Table With?
The best to clean a table tennis table is to use a cleaner designed specifically for table tennis tables. Killerspin cleaning spray is one of our favorites.
Now you know how to clean a ping pong table and what to use to clean a ping pong table. Wasn’t so hard, was it?
Sure cleaning a ping pong table can be a bit of a pain, but it doesn’t take very long to do, and you don’t have to do it very often if you use a cover for storage. Besides, cleaning your table is worth it for a higher-quality surface. It also keeps your table looking tip-top, and who doesn’t want that?
Read More: Best Mid-Size Ping Pong Tables
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.