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Though it may not seem like a sport to many people, ping pong is considered one, and ping pong tables can be found in houses, rec centers, and other places all over the world.
What the owners might not realize is that these tables are considered sporting equipment. Just like baseball gloves need a leather cleaner and relacing or golf clubs need cleaning before every round, ping pong tables need a little attention and maintenance too.
Why Is It Important to Clean Your Table and How Often Should You Do It?
Many people like to keep their ping pong tables clean for aesthetic reasons such as clearing dust or spills. While this is important for keeping the table in good shape, a clean table ensures a good playing surface.
Just like a dirty golf club can affect a player’s game, so can a dirty ping pong table. A dirty table can cause inconsistencies in ball spin or bounce and make playing difficult.
While the dirt on the table affects the reaction of the ball, it is also transferred to the ping pong paddles (see this article to learn how to clean those), yet again causing more problems. With dirt being transferred from the table to the paddle, the paddle loses its tackiness which is what allows you to have control of the ball and will lessen your ability to put a good spin on it.
The ideal frequency of cleaning your ping pong table depends on where you keep it and how often you use it.
Tables stored in a dirty, dusty place should be cleaned at least once a week and before each use by wiping them down with a damp cloth. Also, if your table gets used during parties and get-togethers, you will want to clean any spills immediately and do a general wipe down after the party is over.
How to Clean a Ping Pong Table: A Step-by-Step Guide
Now that you know why you should clean your ping pong table, here is how to clean your table. Remember that common house cleaners are too harsh for a ping pong table surface and should be avoided for this use.
Step 1: Preparation of Materials
You will need about three small pieces of cloth, a bowl or bucket with clean water, and a table cleaner. You can also make your own cleaner by mixing 1/2-cup of distilled white vinegar with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.
Step 2: Net Removal
Some nets are attached using a spring-loaded clip, making removal quick and easy. Other nets may be clamps you have to unscrew using your hands.
In either case, getting it off and out of your way is an important part of the preparation process.
Step 3: Dry Wipe
Before using any liquids to clean your table, you need to get any layers of dust off the table by wiping it with a dry, clean cloth.
Step 4: Wet Wipe
Spray the table or a cloth with the cleaning solution of your choice and wipe down the table.
If the table is really dirty, you may have to do this a second time. You might also make a third pass with just a damp cloth.
Step 5: Moving Parts Maintenance
Many ping pong tables fold up and are on wheels for easy storage. This means they have a lot of metal and moving parts.
These parts will need occasional lubrication with WD40 or another similar product.
Step 6: Drying the Table
After cleaning your table, you want to make sure its surface is completely dry.
Skipping this step will allow the table surface to absorb any moisture left behind and shorten your table’s lifespan.
Step 7: Net Installation
Put the net back into place.
When replacing the net, remember that the bottom should be as close to the table surface as possible without touching the surface.
Step 8 (Optional): Cover the Table
One way to help improve the longevity of your table, as well as cut down on the amount of cleaning it will need, is to cover it when it is not in use.
Just like a cover for a car or motorcycle, ping pong table covers can be purchased for protection from dirt, dust, and anything else that could cause damage to the table.
Things To Avoid When Cleaning Your Ping Pong Table
Part of cleaning your table is making sure you do not damage the surface. This means avoiding harsh cleaners, as mentioned above, such as regular household cleaners including bleach-based products. Abrasive cleaning tools should also be avoided. You always want to use a soft cloth.
Separately, a thing that can really ruin the surface of a ping pong table is too much moisture. Indoor tables are made of various woods meaning that absorption can be a big problem. If a tabletop absorbs too much moisture, it can warp and lose its shape rendering it useless and unplayable.
3 Best Ping Pong Table Cleaning Products
Finally, if you are not sure what product to use for cleaning your table, make sure to continue reading. Below are three of my favorite ones.
Killerspin MyT Clean Ping Pong Table Top Cleaner
The Killerspin ping pong table cleaner was specially formulated for the purpose. It is great for regular cleanings and removing oil spots left behind by hands. It comes with a fresh, clean, lemon scent and non-ionic and anionic surfactants.
Besides the actual cleaning solution, the package includes ping pong table-specific care and maintenance instructions. This is a product designed for frequently used tables and may not be necessary for tables not used often.
Joola Table Cleaner
This product is a gentle cleaner strong enough to clean your table without damaging the surface. With proper use, it will leave your table looking brand new. Be sure not to over-apply it as it can lead to the fading of your tabletop.
It’s hard to find any drawbacks that this product might have.
Cornilleau Table Tennis Table Cleaning Agent
This Cornilleau solution is an anti-static foam table cleaner that will keep your table looking like new. It works great at removing all types of dirt and debris, including stains, grease spots, and dust layers. It revives your table for better responsiveness while playing.
This product is to only be used on indoor tables, not outdoor ones.
For the best playing surface and to ensure a long-lasting table, a ping pong table needs regular cleaning and maintenance just like any other sports equipment. Owners just need to remember that the surface of a table is actually delicate when it comes to cleaning materials. Household cleaning agents should not be used to avoid damaging the surface of the table, as well as coarse or rough scrubbing tools.
While cleaning is important, you also want to make sure that the table remains free of moisture. By keeping your table clear of dust, dirt, and debris allows for better response and control while playing.