How to Clean a Felt Poker Table

By James Holloway
Everyone feels sophisticated until someone knocks over a glass.

A convivial game of poker requires not just cards and chips but also drinks and snacks. This means that, sooner or later, someone is going to spill a drink on your table surface or paw it with greasy hands. When that happens, you'll need to clean the felt. You should also clean the table regularly to keep it in the best possible condition.

Routine Cleaning

Brush your poker table gently with a small brush to remove crumbs or other debris. Alternatively, use a microfiber wiper.

Remove dust from the surface using a vacuum cleaner. Use a small hand vacuum cleaner; larger models may pull the felt away from its backing.

Reduce pilling by smoothing the felt with a pumice stone. Be aware that, like all methods of eliminating pilling, this will eventually wear out the fabric.

Dealing With Stains

Respond quickly to spills. Absorb as much of the liquid as you can using a clean towel. Blot from the outside to prevent the stain from spreading.

Fill a bowl with cold water and add a small amount of vinegar; one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of water should suffice. Moisten a soft cloth in this mixture.

Gently blot the stained area with the cloth, periodically remoistening it. Dampen the cloth but don't get it too wet; excess water will soak through to the backing.

Allow the area to dry. If it is still stained, repeat the process. You can also buy specialized felt cleaning sprays, but these shouldn't be necessary for most stains.

Tip

The speed cloth used on most modern poker tables is water-resistant; simply absorb the spill as quickly as possible and then allow the cloth to dry.

About the Author

Dr James Holloway has been writing about games, geek culture and whisky since 1995. A former editor of "Archaeological Review from Cambridge," he has also written for Fortean Times, Fantasy Flight Games and The Unspeakable Oath. A graduate of Cambridge University, Holloway runs the blog Gonzo History Gaming.