How do I Clean the Top of My Pool Table?

Home pool tables can get surprisingly dirty. The felt collects dusty and debris, and those unsightly chalk marks are inevitable. Thankfully, cleaning your pool table doesn’t have to be a big deal.

But you’re probably wondering how do I clean the top of my pool table?

  1. Remove debris with a pool table friendly vacuum.
  2. Brush the top of the table with a brush meant for use on pool table felt.
  3. Clean under the rails using a rail brush.
  4. Use a pool table cleaner to remove chalk marks.
  5. Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe off the rails.
  6. Follow up with a dry microfiber cloth.

If you need a little more detail, keep reading. In this article, we’ve outlined the whole process for cleaning the top of your pool table in detail so that you can keep your pool table looking fantastic and ready for the next game.

What You’ll Need to Clean the Top of Your Pool Table

Before you get started cleaning the top of your pool table, you should gather up the supplies you’ll need. We’ve put together this list for you to get you started.

  • Pool table friendly vacuum: Not all vacuums are suitable for use on a pool table, and some would recommend not using one at all. Look for one that is gentle and has an upholstery attachment.
  • Pool table brush: A pool table brush like this one can be used instead of or in addition to the vacuum.
  • Rail brush: A smaller rail brush is used to get in the nook under the railed where debris often collects. It would make a great addition to your pool table gear.
  • Pool table cleaner: We like David Hodges’ Quick Clean Table Cleaner. It removes chalk marks like a dream and leaves the table top looking great.
  • Microfiber cloths: You can use microfiber cloths to wipe away the pool table cleaner and clean the rails. You’ll need at least two of these on hand. One that is damp and one that is dry.
  • Microfiber brush: A microfiber brush like the Ettore Progrip Performance Brush isn’t absolutely necessary, but it makes quick work of wiping away pool table cleaner.

Once you have everything gathered, you can jump right into the cleaning!

How to Clean the Top of a Pool Table: Step by Step

Keeping your pool table clean is so easy and quick that you’ll probably find yourself doing it more often than necessary. It can easily take under five minutes, and your table will look amazing afterward.

We won’t go over removing stubborn stains from your felt, but if you’re looking to remove one, check out our post How Do You Get a Beer Stain Off Your Pool Table?

Remove the Debris with a Vacuum (Optional)

There is some debate over whether or not you should use a vacuum on a pool table. For more information on what we think about this check out our post Can You Vacuum a Pool Table?

But in general, we think it is okay to use a vacuum with an upholstery attachment to clean off the top of a pool table as long as the vacuum doesn’t have powerful suction.

Simply attach the upholstery brush and gently use it to remove any large debris or dust from the felt.

Remove the Debris with a Brush

Whether or not you’ve done the first step, you should go over the table with a horsehair or nylon pool table brush. This will pick up some of the chalk marks and any leftover debris or dust.

Most people brush the debris into the pockets and then use a vacuum to clean them out, but you could also brush it onto a piece of cardboard. Just careful you don’t scrap the felt with whatever you use.

Brush Under The Rails

Getting under the rails is nearly impossible with a normal pool table brush or a vacuum. Use a rail brush to clean out under the rails. There’s sure to be some dust and dirt hiding under there.

You can brush this debris into the pockets as well.

Use a Pool Table Cleaner

Pool table cleaner is about as easy as it comes. Here’s what you do:

  1. Holding the cleaner as far above the pool table as your arm allows, spray it evenly over the pool table felt. If it gets on the rails, don’t worry. You’ll wipe those down later.
  2. Let the pool table cleaner sit for about 60 seconds.
  3. Wipe away the cleaner using a dry microfiber cloth or a microfiber brush.
  4. That’s it. Really.

Now the felt of your pool table should be looking fresh and clean. But you’re job isn’t quite done yet.

Wipe off the Rails

Whether you got cleaner on your rails or not, it is a good idea to wipe them down with a damp cloth. This will prevent the dirt on the rails from making its way on to the table, and it will make your pool table shine.

After wiping the rails down with a damp cloth, you should go over the rails one more time with a dry microfiber cloth. This will really make them shine.

This whole process can easily take under five minutes if you know what you’re doing, so don’t put it off. Your pool table will thank you for it.


Benny is the owner of Supreme Billiards and has been shooting pool and teaching people how to shoot pool for a few years now. He enjoys showing new players techniques and drills to improve their pool game.

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