How To Clean an Air Hockey Table From Start to Finish
Once you’ve got your hands on a quality air hockey table, you will want to ensure it stays in great condition. You’ll need to learn how to clean an air hockey table and undertake this process fairly regularly.
If you don’t, you’ll notice that dirt build-up causes the puck to slow down, making games far less enjoyable. So make the smart decision! A little air hockey table maintenance keeps your games action-packed and your table looking great.
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Table of Contents
Why Should I Clean My Air Hockey Table?
Any quality air hockey table has a motor that ejects air power. Tables without a motor have no air force, making games slow and lackluster — this is commonly known as push hockey.
Air hockey is much faster because the air power propels the puck. As a result, the table’s air holes must remain unobstructed, so airflow is not restricted and nice across the table’s surface.
Besides cleaning the air hockey table’s holes, it’s also important the surface is well-maintained. It is natural for dirt and dust to build up, slowing the puck’s pace. If left for long periods, this may lead to scratches on the surface.
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How Often Should I Clean My Air Hockey Table?
A good rule of thumb is to clean your table once every week after playing. However, this only relates to removing dust and dirt from the table’s surface. Cleaning air hockey table’s air holes is a far more infrequent job. Around once or twice per year will suffice.
When you clean the table’s surface, there’s no need to clean the side rails. While this can seem neglectful, a thin layer of dirt on the rails is actually pretty essential. It helps to prevent the puck from flying off of the table.
What You Will Need:
- Soft cloth/paper towel
- Cleaners such as isopropyl alcohol or window cleaner
- Drill and 1/32” drill bit
- Polish (optional)
- Clear epoxy (optional)
- Cotton swab/toothpick (optional)
How Clean an Air Hockey Table Surface Step-By-Step
Step 1: Turn the Blowers on
The first step is an easy one. Turn on the blowers. This prevents dust or liquids from getting into the holes during cleaning.
Step 2: Repair Dents (Optional)
For those unlucky enough to have a large dent on your table, you will want to fix it to ensure it doesn’t hamper the puck’s movement during games.
The easiest way to do this is with clear epoxy. Fill the dent with epoxy slightly over the point to where it is full (this prevents underfilling, which will require re-pours). Then, after the epoxy has hardened, sand it down to the point it is flush with the table.
If the epoxy covers a point where an air hole should be, take your drill, a 1/32” bit, and drill any new holes as needed.
Step 3: Vacuum the Table
Vacuuming handles the loose debris on the surface of the table. We are talking dust and dirt here. Take your time and cover the table’s entire area, leaving no section unvacuumed.
We also recommend adapting your cleaning method depending on your vacuum. If you have a nozzle with soft bristles, you can make contact with the table and get the job done quickly. If you don’t have a special attachment, you’ll have to hold the hose slightly above the table. This means vacuuming will take much longer.
Step 4: Clean the Table
Next up, we are tackling the tougher dirt. You have a few options as to what you can use for your air hockey table cleaner. We recommend isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol, it’s very common, and you may already have some at home. You can also use window cleaner. Just make sure you get the non-ammonia kind!
Sparingly apply your cleaner to either a soft cloth or paper towel and wipe the entire surface of the table. We also recommend wiping down the exterior portions of the table, such as the legs, to keep your table looking fantastic.
Step 5: Polish the Table (Optional)
The last step of cleaning the table’s surface is an optional one. Air hockey tables are made with slick surfaces, so polishing your table is no longer necessary. In fact, some experts advise against it as it can clog up the air holes.
That said, polish can be a good tool if your table is still a little slow after cleaning and you use it sparingly. Our advice is to only purchase air hockey table polishes in particular and to use one very light, even coat. Once it’s dry, wipe the table once more and buff the surface for a nice shiny finish.
Step 6: Sand the Pucks
An overlooked area of air hockey table maintenance is the care for the pucks. After long periods of usage, pucks take a ton of punishment and can become well-scratched or even dented. This prevents them from gliding smoothly across the table.
The solution is simple, lightly sand the pucks with fine-grit sandpaper until smooth. Fortunately, this is another cleaning step you only need to carry out sporadically. Like cleaning air holes, once or twice per year does the trick.
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How to Clean an Air Hockey Table’s Holes
The air holes are a portion of the table that need particular care — simple vacuuming just won’t cut it. At least once per year, you should manually clean out each hole.
You have a few options for this, a drill bit works rather well. However, more anxious owners might want to use something more manageable like cotton swabs or toothpicks.
Whatever you decide to use, the process is the same. Carefully poke every hole to ensure there are no obstructions. While the blowers help you, you should still try to prevent loose material from falling into the holes.
After you’ve tackled each hole, either vacuum or use a soft cloth with a cleaner to pick up any loose material that you have freed up, and that’s it! You now have a sparkling clean air hockey table!
How Do You Clean an Air Hockey Table Without Damaging It?
The key to cleaning an air hockey table without causing damage is to use the right materials and to be careful with your cleaning.
We have two main tips. The first is to avoid ammonia-based cleaners. They are too harsh and may damage your table’s surface. The second is to be careful not to scratch your table. Avoid using scourers for cleaning and use a soft-bristled vacuum attachment if possible.
How Do You Clean Air Holes on an Air Hockey Table?
The first step is to turn the blowers on. This prevents any unclogged material from falling into the holes. You then have the option of using any thin instrument to dislodge dirt. Drill bits, cotton swabs, and toothpicks are all good options.
Can I Use Furniture Polish on an Air Hockey Table?
We recommend avoiding furniture polish. Polishing is an optional cleaning step, as air hockey tables already have a slick surface. If you want to polish, we recommend using a specifically designed wax for air hockey tables. And remember, use sparingly. Too much can clog up the air holes.
What Do You Spray on an Air Hockey Table?
You can spray on your air hockey table with either cleaners or polish. However, we recommend spraying these solutions on your cloth rather than the table’s surface. This usually results in a lighter coat and helps prevent liquid from getting into the air holes.
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Learning how to clean air hockey tables is incredibly straightforward. And given how regular cleaning can help revitalize your table, it really is a no-brainer to undertake regular cleaning.
While we recommend seven steps, you only have to do three regularly. That’s to turn the blowers on, vacuum the surface to deal with loose debris, and clean the surface with cleaner to handle more stubborn dirt.
These steps should only take you a total of around 5 minutes or so. We feel that’s a small price to pay for having a tip-top air hockey table that provides endless hours of fun.