If you’ve finally decided to take the plunge and purchase the best air hockey table for kids, then chances are you’ve spent a lot of money and you want to make sure your table lasts.
Our guide on how to clean an air hockey table will give you some great tips on how to keep the surface clean and free of debris, for an ultimate gaming experience. We’ll also go over basic care and what you can do to keep your table looking new.
Key Takeaway: You don’t have to devote a lot of time to deep cleaning your air hockey table regularly, instead, focus on keeping the playing surface free of gunk, dust, and debris, otherwise, a dirty playing surface can have a major negative impact on the playing experience. Deep cleans should be done every two months or depending on how frequently the table is used.
Keeping it Clean
If you take care of your air hockey table, there’s no reason it can’t last for years. In fact, a well-built model like the Hathaway BG1157M Rapid Fire can even survive your kids, if you properly maintain it and keep the playing surface clean and dirt and grime-free.
Fortunately, cleaning an air hockey table is pretty easy, especially if you routinely wipe down the playing surface.
When to Clean Your Air Hockey Table
So, why do air hockey tables need to be cleaned? One of the biggest reasons is because a table that’s dirty can seriously hinder gameplay. A dirty playing surface will slow down the puck and can make it difficult to make certain shots. When a lot of dirt or dust accumulates on the playing surface it can even clog up the holes on the table, causing what are referred to as dead spots. In these dead spots, air is not able to make its way through the dirt and grime. This means when you shoot a puck over one of these areas the puck may stop in its tracks or significantly slow down, ruining a great shot.
If there is dirt, debris, or another type of substance on the surface it can cause the puck to jump, buck, or slide in the wrong direction. This can be very frustrating for players. Even worse, it can also end up damaging the surface of the table causing nicks and chips. If this happens, even a regular deep clean won’t help to improve gameplay.
In order to avoid this issue, the playing surface should be cleaned right before and after use. Routine maintenance should be done once a week. If you only use the table once in a blue moon then you should do a deep clean before adding a cover and another deep clean when you pull the table out of storage. A typical deep clean should be done every couple of months.
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Switching On the Blowers
Before you start cleaning the table, make sure you switch on the blowers. This will help prevent any of the dirt and grime from settling into any of the holes on the table’s surface. Make sure you carefully go over the surface using a light touch in order to avoid damaging the surface of the table with the nozzle attachment.
Wipe Down the Playing Surface
After the table has been vacuumed, use a soft, clean cloth to wipe down the playing surface. We recommend using a soft cotton or microfiber cloth.
We also recommend using the same cloth to wipe down the sides of the table. Some hockey table players will tell you to avoid this step since many feel that a small amount of dust can help when making a bank shot. Basically, this is a personal choice. We recommend wiping down the sides of the table simply because the same dust can travel to the table’s surface, potentially clogging the holes in the playing surface.
One of these biggest issues that can negatively impact your playing experience is clogged holes throughout the playing surface. Fortunately, this is an easy fix, although if your table has never been cleaned before, it can be a very lengthy process.
If your table has many clogged holes in the playing surface then you’ll need to do a deep clean. Most deep cleans can involve polishing after cleaning the playing surface, the sides of the table, and the legs. But it will also include cleaning out the holes in the table. Fortunately, cleaning the holes out is an easy fix, although, if your table is pretty filthy then this step can be time-consuming.
To do, you’ll need to use a toothpick to carefully poke through each of the clogged holes. Another option is to use a drill bit. Always remember to keep the blowers going to help dislodge the holes and remove the gunk from the surface of the table.
Approved Cleaning Products
Some air hockey table owners are totally against using any type of chemical to clean their tables. These people will stick to a damp cloth only, while other owners prefer to use cleansers that are alcohol-based, or common furniture polishes, window cleaner that’s ammonia free, and dish detergent such as Dawn. Whichever product you decide to use, make sure you thoroughly dry the table once you’ve removed all the dirt and grime. You should also make sure you don’t soak the surface of the table with chemicals. Residue can get caught in the holes of the playing surface and turn into a sticky gunky surface, clogging the holes and hindering gameplay. Because of this, we recommend dipping a microfiber cloth in warm water and going over the surface of the table after you’ve used a cleanser. This will remove any remaining cleanser or dish detergent.
During this step, it’s very important that you’re careful regarding the amount of pressure you use to wipe down the surface. However, you also have to ensure you remove any gunk from the surface, which can require using more pressure. Again, it’s important to make sure that you never use a type of abrasive cleaner on the table’s surface in order to prevent scratches.
Waxing Your Air Hockey Table
While it’s not required, many air hockey table owners will wax the surface of the table during a deep clean. Even though it’s not a requirement, it can actually work to help retain a smooth surface and can make even an older table look brand new. The purpose of waxing the surface is twofold: first, it smooths out a roughened or age-worn table, and it protects the table’s surface from future damage.
If you decide to go ahead and wax the playing surface, make sure you use a small amount of wax and don’t go overboard. Use wax that’s specifically designed for air hockey tables and apply an even, thin coat, covering the entire surface. A thin layer will do a great job of smoothing out the surface of the table, but if you make the mistake of applying too much wax you can end up clogging some of the air holes, creating dead spots.
After you have applied the thin layer of wax, once the wax dries wipe down the surface of the table using a dry, clean cloth to buff out the wax. This will produce a glossy, shiny surface.
Cutting Down on Cleanup
If you don’t have time to wipe your table down before and after a game, or you want to cut down on the amount of dirt and dust that builds up on the table’s surface, an air hockey table cover is a great solution. The cover will help to keep the playing surface dust-free and clean until you’re ready to use it again. It can also preserve the table. Additionally, make sure that you clean the strikers and pucks when you’re cleaning the table. You’d be surprised to learn how much gunk and grime both the pucks and strikers tend to pick up over time. The last thing you want to do is introduce dirty pucks and strikers to a freshly polished table.
The felt pads on some strikers can attract dirt and wear down over time. If these pieces get really grimy, it’s time to replace them.
To learn more about air hockey tables, how to determine what size to get, and other interesting air hockey table facts, click here to read our article on air hockey table dimensions.
How to clean an air hockey table can be tricky in the beginning, especially if you’ve had your table for months and have never cleaned it. Following our cleaning instructions and keeping up on air hockey table maintenance will extend the life of your table and can keep it looking brand new. You may need to do a little experimenting in terms of what cleansers to use, or whether a polish will help to improve a puck’s performance. With proper upkeep, you should only have to do a major deep clean once every two months.