Playing darts is never boring and is one of the best ways to spend time with your friends. However, even though most dartboards can withstand thousands of throws, they still need some basic care to prevent them from deteriorating. Not only that, but the darts themselves are also susceptible to wear and tear and will need frequent inspections and repairs in order for them to perform at their best.
The proper dartboard maintenance includes doing the following things:
- Rotating your dartboard
- Avoid wetting the dartboard
- Keeping your darts sharp
- Knowing how to pull your darts from the board
- Be mindful of the dartboard placement
Before we dive into each of those aspects, make sure you check out my guide on some of the best bristle dartboards for 2021! Now, let’s jump straight into this!
Rotating your dartboard
As you get better, you will begin targeting (and hitting) certain areas of the dartboard more often than others. For example, the 19 and 20-point areas will definitely wear faster due to you targeting them more than other zones. To prevent an unequal amount of damage across the dartboard, you should rotate it. If you play or train on a daily basis, you should rotate your dartboard at least once per week. For more casual playing, once a month should do the job.
How to rotate your dartboard
Most bristle dartboards will have a metal wire running across them that separates the board into scoring zones. This wire is often called “the spider” and is removable. The center scoring rings cannot be moved and they are almost always embedded into the board, as moving them won’t change anything.
Before rotating, remove the metal ring from the board and turn the board clockwise. You should rotate until the next black zone is at the top of the scoring board. For instance, this would mean having zone 12 fall onto the place of zone 20, and so on.
If you’ve worn out the bullseye, then there isn’t a lot you can do about it and you should probably be pretty proud of yourself!
Avoid wetting the dartboard
No matter what you’ve heard around, bristle dartboards should never get wet. Using light or gentle substances isn’t going to help you clean the dartboard. In fact, a good dartboard can almost never get dirty unless you spill something over it or drop it on something. That being said, your daily chores associated with it are cleaning the dust off and making sure it is stable on the wall.
The whole reason behind this moisture restriction is because the bristle (sisal) fibers are prone to warping or getting damaged from excess moisture. The glue between the fibers or on other parts of the dartboard is also susceptible to damage from water. Last but not least, if the wire isn’t made out of stainless steel, you might also get rust spots all over it after just a few cleanups.
Another thing you should avoid is hanging the dartboard on a damp or humid area on your wall but we will discuss dartboard placement further down the article.
Keep your darts sharp
One of the things that damages a dartboard the most is having blunt, uneven, or hooked dart tips. These will create uneven holes in the dartboard and might even tear some of the sisal fibers. To prevent this type of unnecessary damage, you should keep your dart tips in a smooth and sharp condition.
One of the best ways to keep your darts sharp and free of burrs (uneven structures along their tip) is by sharpening them on a regular basis. Most professional players sharpen their darts almost daily. They do that by using pocket sharpeners which are very small and are made to specifically fit a darts tip in them. These usually don’t cost a lot and are easily pocketable, meaning you can also take them in the bar for an extra bit of advantage over your friends!
If you want to learn more about steel-tipped darts and see which are the best models for this year, click here!
Knowing how to pull your darts from the board
Apart from knowing how to throw darts, you also need to learn how to pull them from the dartboard. Just like in any type of archery/aiming sport, you have to twist the projectile rather than simply pull it outwards. By doing so, you can decrease the damage the tip will do to the tightly-packed sisal fibers.
By only pulling, you can also bend the tip of the darts if it isn’t very well-made. With magnetic dartboards and other types of boards, you should be even more careful since the tips of the darts are often made out of plastic and can easily bend.
Be mindful of the dartboard placement
As I mentioned earlier, you should make sure that your dartboard isn’t placed over a damp spot on the wall. Rooms with excessive moisture can also damage a good bristle dartboard by ruining its sisal fibers’ properties over the long run.
Also, make sure that you use the proper mounting that you don’t put a ton of weight on them. One of the worst things that can happen to a dartboard is for it to fall down from the excess weight put on the wall fixtures. If you’re going to use a dartboard backboard or a cabinet, fix it well and don’t put a ton of weight on it.
Avoid using bright lamps or ones that emit too much heat near the dartboard as that can also damage it in the long run. The sun is also not-so-great for the sisal fibers.
As a whole, placing your dartboard outside isn’t a great idea, especially if it is a bristle one. Some of the best places to hang a dartboard are in a darker room on a solid wall, preferably inside a dartboard cabinet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should you wet a dartboard?
This really depends on the type of material which the dartboard is made of. Since most modern dartboards are made out of sisal, I strongly advise not to wet them. Sisal shouldn’t be exposed directly to water or indirectly to high levels of moisture. The sisal fibers will lose their rigidness over time and even worse – the glue holding the sisal board together will start falling out, completely ruining the board.
How long does it take for a dartboard to fully heal?
Self-healing dartboards are very common nowadays and can usually last up to a couple of years if you treat them right. On average, it will take less than a few days for a hole in them to fully heal. However, you should still rotate them on a regular basis to avoid a ton of damage accumulating on a single spot.
How often should you replace your dartboard?
This really depends on the dartboard and how often it is being used. Typically, most bars will replace their dartboards once a year due to their heavy use. However, if you play at home, a good bristle dartboard can easily last you 3-4 years. Electronic dartboards tend to be a bit more problematic and will require change earlier than that.
Can you leave the darts inside the board?
For bristle dartboards, leaving the darts inside for a short period of time is generally considered okay. However, leaving them on the board for longer periods is definitely going to cause some long-term damage. The least you will be doing is hindering the board’s ability to self-heal and close its holes. Storing the darts in the board will cause the holes to become and remain bigger and might also cause the sisal fibers to disform and dry out.
Magnetic dartboards, on the other hand, don’t have a particular issue with darts staying in them, as the holes are there already and it won’t damage the board.
Why do my darts fall off the board?
One of the major reasons for a dart to fall off is if it has hit the wire (or spider). When the darts hit the metal part of the board, it fails to enter the bristle material behind the wire, hence the drop. Moreover, if a wire has already been hit, it becomes flattened, making it even easier to bounce from. Some premium dartboards have special wire edges that prevent darts from falling upon contact and direct the tip of the darts towards the bristle surface. With magnetic dartboards, the main reason for your darts to fall off is not entering one of the pre-made holes on the board.
The proper dartboard maintenance starts with learning the dos and don’ts. First, never wet your board and clean it with active chemicals. Secondly, avoid exposing it to excessive light or nature’s elements. Apart from that, rotate your dartboard on a regular basis, keep your darts straight and sharp, pull them out carefully and that should be more than good enough!