One of the most overlooked aspects of darts is the maintenance that the different items require. The darts themselves are subjected to a ton of wear and tear over time. That’s why your focus should be revolving around their proper care. While the look of the darts will be the thing that deteriorates in the most obvious fashion, it is actually their performance that suffers the most if they aren’t well taken care of.
This is why, in this article, I will show you how to clean your darts and keep them in their best shape. Some of my favorite methods are:
- Using soap and water
- Using jewelry cleaning solutions
- The wet wipes method
- Cleaning darts with a toothbrush
- Ultrasonic cleaners
- Using Coke or Pepsi
Before we dive deeper into this topic, however, make sure you check out my guide on the best steel tip darts for beginners and pros! There, you will find tons of useful information as well as some of my best picks for this year. Now, let’s answer one very important question…
Why do darts need cleaning?
One of the main reasons why darts need to be cleaned is because our hands leave a lot of dead skin and grease on their barrels. On top of that, the different oils and salts from your hands’ sweat can corrode these same barrels over time. All that makes them slippery which is why most professionals use chalk or some sort of gripping wax when competing. That allows them to throw darts with precision even when their hands are sweating from the adrenaline!
The main issue is that the barrel of a dart is full of so-called “hollows” which are engraved in the metal in order to give the dart a better grip in your hand. However, these also strip away dead skin and grease from your hands extremely well.
Every professional darts player out there swears by a method that works for them. Whether it’s toothpaste, bleach, soap, alcohol, or any other solution, they all pretty much seem to get the job done. However, I’ve personally found that the following few methods are the most effective when it comes to cleaning your darts!
Using soap and water
Using a simple soap and water solution is one of the easiest and safest ways to clean your darts. Additionally, it is also very cost-effective and can save you quite a lot of time. Start by gathering the needed items for this method. These would be a deeper bowl or plastic box, a mild dishwashing soap, some lukewarm water, and your darts.
Before you get to the actual cleaning, you will need to disassemble your darts. You do that by removing the stems from their barrels. The tip is usually not as important as the barrel since the barrel is the part that gets the dirtiest over time. Now, fill the bowl with warm water and use a bit of soap to create a thick foam. Don’t overdo this step, as just a little bit of soap will still do the job. After you submerge the different darts parts in the solution, you have two options. Either you can let them rest there overnight or gently scrub them with a soft sponge.
After you’re done cleaning the barrels from the grease they’ve accumulated, rinse them with clean cold water and dry them out thoroughly. Drying your darts is actually crucial for their long-term performance. Not drying them well enough can lead to rust and other issues. Don’t place your darts near a direct heat source to dry them faster as that can warp them and make them less accurate.
Using jewelry cleaning solutions
One of the best alternatives if you don’t have anything else hanging around (highly unlikely) is using jewelry cleaning solutions. Although very expensive, these just do a superb job of cleaning small and delicate pieces of metal like the barrels of your darts. They are specifically designed to get into small creases and are very gentle towards the metal parts of your darts.
If you happen to have such cleaning solutions, simply soak the darts in it and let them rest for a couple of hours. Then, wipe them clean with a soft cloth and you should be good to go. Once again, using such solutions will be super effective but, in general, not worth your money since the cheaper methods also work well.
The wet wipes method
Using wet wipes to clean your darts has to be one of the most cost-effective methods of keeping your darts in top shape. Moreover, this is a great method for people that are constantly on the go and attend multiple local or out-of-state tournaments. You can always carry a pack of cleaning wipes with you in order to give your darts’ barrels a good clean-up.
Usually, most multi-surface antibacterial cleaning wipes should do the job. There are plenty of brands out there and you should generally aim for alcohol options since these will be stronger and will remove grease better.
Do you also want to learn how to sharpen your darts? See some of my best tips here!
Cleaning darts with a toothbrush
While all the previous methods were fairly gentle, using a bristle brush to clean out your darts is going to always do wonders. The hairs of a hard brush will enter even the narrowest places of your barrels and will make sure that nothing stays in there. On top of all that, you can move the toothbrush around which will allow you to hit the darts from all sorts of angles, ultimately leaving it like new.
This method is usually quite cheap as it can be done with even the cheapest hard toothbrush. You can also use an old one that you were going to throw away. To achieve the best possible result, I usually combine two methods. For instance, I soak the darts in warm water and soap for a few hours. Then, I take them out, and before wiping them I give them a good brush. Of course, you can brush them while they are dry as well which is what most professionals will do before a competition anyway.
If you want to simply go all-in and have your darts restored to their factory condition, you might want to check out ultrasonic cleaners. Just like jewelry solutions, they are most commonly used to clean coins, jewelry, and other small metal items. However, ultrasonic cleaners also leave the item quite polished since it removes pretty much anything that stands above the surface of the metal. They are, unfortunately, expensive. But if you think about it, they will only cost a bit as an initial investment and from then onward, you will have a great way to keep your gear squeaky clean!
I personally like ultrasonic cleaners as there are a ton of options on the market currently. On top of that, they are all super easy to use and the prices seem to be trending down for now. If you’re thinking about buying one, now might be the right time. You might even find different uses apart from cleaning your darts!
Using Coke or Pepsi
Last but definitely not least is a method that many people consider a myth. However, Coke has been long-known for its anti-corrosive properties and its ability to clean metal out of rust. Almost everyone has tried using Coke or Pepsi (although coke works better) as some sort of cleaning solution. For darts, you’d be surprised how well it works. Also, this is by far the cheapest method to fully clean your darts barrels.
Just like with the water and soap method, soak your darts overnight and rinse them clean the next day. They should be clean of any dirt, skin, or grease and will also have some of their original shine back!
There are also a few other methods that didn’t quite make the list as I think they aren’t as effective as the rest. Two good examples of such methods are using non-industrial bleach and metal polish. While the polish does a good job, it generally fails to clean all the grease and dead skin from the darts.
If you want to learn more about dartboard maintenance and see the ins and outs of this process, make sure you head over to my dedicated article on the topic!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best thing to clean darts with?
Some of the best cleaners for darts are mild detergents that can remove oil from the tips of the darts. These include most alcohol-based liquids as well as some wipes. Hand lotions that are alcohol-based are notoriously bad at cleaning metal parts, so try to avoid these. Using wet wipes will not only clean the darts well but will also be gentle towards painted barrels.
How do you clean older tungsten darts?
For these darts, you will need lukewarm water and some regular soap. Rinse the darts in the solution and use a soft toothbrush to get most of the grime out of the darts. Warm water and soap have always been the best solution for dead skin and grease from people’s hands, which is why it does wonders here.
How often should you clean your darts?
Depending on how much you play, you will need to clean your darts on a pretty regular basis. What that means, is that if you practice daily, you will need to clean them at least once a month. However, for people that only play darts every now and then, you can schedule full darts maintenance once every 6 months. That is usually good enough to keep both your darts and the dartboard in good condition.
Knowing how to clean your darts is going to be an essential part of your monthly maintenance. For players that want to train for tournaments, keeping your dartboard and darts properly maintained will not only mean they will live longer but will also allow them to perform better. That is especially important when you’re bringing your own darts to a tournament. The main takeaway of this article is that if you don’t have anything special to clean your darts with, some warm soapy water should do most of the job!