How to Clean Your Air Hockey Table in 6 Simple Steps
Are the pucks on your air hockey table not sliding properly? Maybe it feels somewhat slower than usual or looks especially tired and dirty? The truth is, you absolutely must clean your air hockey table to uphold performance and maintain a smooth table.
But how should you actually go about the job?
In this article, we talk about how to clean your air hockey table and tips for getting the job done more efficiently. It’s true, a quick wipe-down every now and again will help but maintaining the initial condition of the table requires a proper and thorough clean.
Why You Should Clean Your Air Hockey Table More Often
Even the smallest fragments of dirt and dust can wreak havoc on your air hockey table over time. If you ignore the importance of cleaning, this will certainly slow the table down and cause unseen damage to the performance of your air hockey table.
When you think about it; air hockey is all about speed (even more than foosball games) which means that removing these kinds of objects is important for the experience. When dirt, grime or dust is on the table, this can also impede the puck. In other words, the direction of the puck is often impacted by whatever dirt and dust is on the table. Also, a puck will often move at more than 75/80mph, so any slight impact can change its course significantly.
And then there’s the clogged holes in an air hockey table. When these holes are clogged, they can cause the puck to stop due to “dead spots” on the table. What’s more, clogged holes demand the blower to work harder and faster which then reduces the lifespan of the motor on your air hockey table. It might sound a little dramatic but all of these issues are common reasons why some air hockey tables last longer than others.
But before we take a look at how to clear your air hockey table, let’s consider the importance of maintenance for keeping your air hockey table in shape:
Prolonging the Life of Your Table through Maintenance
Dirt and dust is always quick to take refuge on a table of any kind. Whether you use the table often or not, these surfaces will inevitably attract these unwanted particles. For this reason, the overall experience often depends on how often you clean your air hockey table and the same can be said about the pucks and mallets. At the same time, a table cover will also prevent most dirt, etc from reaching your table surface in the first place.
Moral of the story? If you take time to care for your air hockey table, you will prolong the lifespan of your table, while improving and maintaining the overall gaming experience.
Now, let’s quickly consider what chemicals you might use to clean the table:
What Chemicals You Should Use to Clean Your Air Hockey Table
It’s worth remembering that chemicals are not necessary when it comes to cleaning your air hockey table. Mixing such chemicals with dirty residue can clog the holes on an air hockey table and detract from the gameplay experience even more than before.
However, with a small microfiber cloth, you can sometimes use a light alcohol-based furniture cleaner to wipe down the table. It’s especially important to wipe the table down afterward because this residue is likely to stick around unless you try to remove it.
In case you might be asking yourself, a microfiber cloth is recommended as this light material can remove dirt etc without causing any damage to the table. The small bristles on a microfiber cloth can also pick up this dirt more quickly and easily. Either way, the main objective here is to remove dirt without causing any damage to the table.
The Best Time to Clean Your Air Hockey Table
With proper upkeep, a monthly clean is usually enough to maintain an air hockey table. But routine maintenance should take place every week and the best time to clean is usually before or after playing a game each week. If you leave the table in storage, a deep clean is necessary right away but hopefully, it’s never in storage, right?
Just so you know, a deep clean is recommended every couple of months and certainly two or three times a year. Anyway, the point is, there is never a right or wrong time to clean your air hockey table but regular maintenance is necessary as often as possible.
How to Clean Your Air Hockey Table in 6 Simple Steps
In the following steps, we take a quick look at the simple steps that will help keep your air hockey table clean. While the first few steps can be done in any order, it’s recommended to use the following process exactly as outlined below. For step three, it might be necessary to remove some bolts but the motors on most air hockey tables are situated in clear view, directly underneath the table.
Step 1 – Clean the Mallets and Pucks
You just cannot clean your table without paying attention to the pucks and mallets. After all, both of these objects will also attract dirt and then pass these particles onto the table itself. While only water is necessary, a short soak in some soapy water can remove most of this dirt or dust. If the bottom of your mallet is made of felt, you might want to replace this felt after a year or two, and scrape away any surface dirt at the very least.
Step 2 – Brush and Vacuum the Table
If there’s a lot of surface dust and dirt, it’s sometimes best to start by brushing away any large or bulky material. Next, turn on the motor and start vacuuming until all debris is gone from the table. Just so you know, turning on the motor will help push a lot of dirt and dust out from the holes. And a light vacuum is all you need, for anything more might scrape or damage the table.
Step 3 – Clean Out the Blower/Motor
Without a functioning motor and blower, there is no air hockey table. You must ensure this blower is clean to run correctly and a quick vacuum is usually best for cleaning out any dirt or debris. Depending on the table, you will sometimes need to remove a couple of bolts or screws to get at the motor but either way, it should only take a few minutes.
Step 4 – Clean out the Clogged-Up Holes
Clogged-up holes is probably the most common reason why an air hockey table is not performing properly. As already mentioned, clogged holes can create dead spots on the table and the puck will simply stop or look very sluggish whenever this happens.
You can quickly clean these holes using a small toothpick, needle, or similar shaped object. By pressing this object through each hole, you should be able to remove or dislodge any dirt. It can take a while to clean each hole but this part of the process is essential when it comes to learning how to clean your air hockey table.
You should also make sure the blower is turned on throughout this time because air is needed to help remove this dirt from the holes. It should also be said that poking a toothpick through each hole is not necessary every month but rather something you should do every few months or maybe more, depending on how often you play.
Step 5 – Wipe Down the Table with a Damp Cloth
Take a damp microfiber cloth (or soft alternative) and wipe down every side and surface of the table. You can use an alcohol-based agent for this part of the job or just plain water. Wiping down the table should remove any last-minute dust or residue and even some of the remaining dirt in the holes on a table. However, try not to use a wet cloth or apply too much moisture as you need the table to dry out as quickly as possible.
We should also remind you that an alcohol-based cleaner might be okay to use but soap is a bad idea, for subsequent soapy residue can easily clog the holes on the table.
Step 6 – Wax/Polish the Table
You don’t need to polish the table every month and you might not even need to polish the table at all. But polishing an air hockey table can most certainly improve gameplay and help the puck move faster along the table. Waxing or polishing is also a way to reduce wear and tear, but try not to use too much wax or polish as it makes the table too slippy. What’s more, applying too much polish/wax can clog the holes. Finally, use a dry cloth to buff and shine the table when the wax is dried into the table.
Last Minute Tips for How to Clean Your Air Hockey Table
Investing in a Table Cover – You might not always have time to wipe down your table before and after play. For this reason, a table cover can help reduce the amount of dirt/debris on the table, while also preserving the table over time.
Cleaning the Mallets – Try not to forget about wiping down the mallets before and after play. Much of the dirt from a mallet will inevitably end up on the table during play.
Replacing Felt – Most table owners also forget about the importance of replacing the felt on mallets. Replacements are cheap and you should do this once a year if possible.
Turning on the Motor – It’s safe to lean an air hockey table while the motor is running. Also, the blower will help you clean the table, especially in terms of clearing the holes.
Use Microfiber – If you don’t have a microfiber cloth, it’s important to use a soft alternative. Microfiber is also very useful for picking up the smaller pieces of debris.
Clean Regularly – It’s easier said that done but a regular clean is the key to prolonging the lifespan of your air hockey table. There’s no need to clean every week but once every month or two will certainly improve the performance of any table.
Summary – How to Clean Your Air Hockey Table
You don’t need to spend every week giving an air hockey a deep clean but regular maintenance is definitely the best way to maintain the performance of a table. Investing in a table cover is also a smart move, while a microfiber cloth is undoubtedly the best item for wiping the table. Chemicals should also be avoided but alcohol based cleaning agents are sometimes useful in low doses.
Finally, it might be a good idea to use wax or polish but try to keep in mind that too much of anything is never a good thing. That being said, you don’t really need any special items to clean your air hockey table and the overall aim here is to maintain its condition without causing any physical harm or stress to your prized possession!
Every air hockey table is built symmetrically which means the holes are perfectly aligned on the surface. The blower pumps air through these holes to create friction and without this friction, the puck simply will not glide across the surface. Similarly, with dirt, grime, or dust on the surface, the puck will not move smoothly on the table. With this in mind, air hockey is reliant on a steady flow of air and a clear playing surface. The only way to ensure these features is to clean your air hockey table and at least this also removes the risk of friends using a “dirty table” as an excuse anytime you beat them!