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How to Clean a Bristle Dartboard

A Championship Style Bristle Dartboard

The dartboard that you have in your local bar, pub or home isn’t that different from those that were first used when the sport of darts was invented. They're both backed and filled with cork and fronted with sisal fibers packed closely together. Sisal fibers come from a large shrub with a thick central trunk called an agave and are closely related to hemp fibers. They are incredibly tough, long lasting and resilient. They're the most effective material for making dartboards, as they can take being pierced or pushed aside countless times by darts. But after a decade of faithful service, that dartboard might be looking a bit worn out. The front of the board may be faded and holes in the front might be visible. But you needn't go out and buy yourself a new dartboard. All you need do is clean the old one.

Remove your dartboard from its place on the wall and bring it either outdoors or to a workbench.

Remove the wire covering on the front of the dartboard. All bristle dartboards have the scoring zones and point values delineated by wire rims and numbers. Remove it with a screwdriver or it spring it free by working the rim over the metal catches on the sides.

Set the wire aside and douse a few rags with some liquid wood polisher, the same kind you would use to polish wood furniture.

Work the liquid wood polisher into the front of the board with firm circular strokes. The reason your board may be faded and have holes in it is because the sisal fibers have lost all their moisture. With the loss of moisture they lose their ability to spring back into place after being compressed or pushed aside by a dart. What you're doing is replacing the fibers' lost moisture. Don't use water for this task as it often causes sisal fibers to swell and will destroy the playing surface of the board. Water on your board can also promote smelly molds and mildews that give off a strong odor.

Let the board sit for a day. The next day push a toothpick into the board's face and inspect it. if the board comes out dry then it will require another polishing. Don't polish the board more than once a day or the wood polish will not have chance to soak into the board's fibers and simply leak or sweat out.

Repeat polishing the surface as many times as is necessary until the toothpick comes out moist or damp.

Place the wire rims back on the dartboard and rehang it back in it original spot. Your dartboard should shine like new.

Things You'll Need:

  • Dartboard
  • Rags
  • Wood polishing oil
  • Toothpicks


  • Make sure not to use polishing oil that contains abrasive chemicals as it will damage the sisal fibers of your dartboard.
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