by Laura Leiva
Properly caring for your billiard table will help to ensure that you get many years out of your pool playing surface. Taking proper care of your billiard table will also ensure that it performs well and doesn't interfere with your billiards, so take just a few minutes after every billiards session to maintain your table. This can go a long way to extending the life of your pool table.
Invest in a cover to protect your pool table during non-use. When you purchase a billiard table, a dust cover is often included; however, it is often not thick enough to protect the table from pets. If you have pets that might get on the table, consider buying a heavy-duty pool table cover. Pool table covers come in many different colors, so it should be easy to find one that looks good in your billiard room.
Brush the table after each use to keep the felt in good condition. Billiard and pool table brushes are approximately 9 to 10 inches in length and feature short, soft nylon or horsehair bristles to remove any chalk or dust residue that remains after a game. The most common style is the tri-brush, which features three rows and lengths of bristles. The smaller bristles brush debris from the table, while the medium and longer ones get underneath railings. Brush the felt in the same direction, from the middle of the table towards the rails and into the pockets. Use soft pressure to keep from stretching the felt or reducing the nap of the cloth.
Vacuum with a soft-brush attachment. Vacuum the entire billiard tabletop every few weeks to suction up any lint or pet hair that may have found its way into the felt. Vacuuming will also pick up any chalk powder that has been missed by frequent brushings. Use a bristled dust attachment on the vacuum and lightly run it over the felt. Apply the same pressure and direction as you would with a brush to avoid stretching or damaging the felt.
Wipe the leather down. Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe dust from any leather on your billiard table.
Apply a furniture polish to the wood portion of the table. This will keep the wood moisturized and shiny. Commercial furniture polishes often contain lemon oil, which cleans the wood without staining it. When cleaning a billiard table, it is best to use a bottle of polish as opposed to a spray, since spray residue may get onto felt or leather and cause staining. To apply, add a small amount to a dry cotton cloth and rub it into the wood, avoiding the siding or felt. Use a furniture polish once a week to keep the table looking brand new.
Don't let your pool table become just a table. Avoid placing chalk, drinks, food plates or cigarette trays on the table as well as on the wooded rails to prevent accidental spilling or staining. This may be best achieved by adding a few cocktail tables to your billiard room, so your friends have other, suitable options.