From drink spills to dust, there are various ways in which your air hockey table might become dirty, and each of these has the potential to affect its performance and overall your enjoyment of the game. Regular maintenance and cleaning are crucial to ensuring your table lasts as long as possible and provides years of entertainment.
There is a lot of information available on different cleaning products and ideas to keep your air hockey table clean. It can be challenging to decide the best way to go about it. To simplify the cleaning process, here is the best way to clean your air hockey table, step-by-step, the easy way.
Why is it Essential to Clean an Air Hockey Table?
Various types of debris and build-up can cause issues with your air hockey table. If you have dirt on the surface, it can lead to drag during gameplay, where the pieces cannot move across easily. This can also mean clogging and blockages in the drilled air holes on the table.
If you have blockages, the fan simply can’t provide the air it needs to ensure the puck glides seamlessly on the table. If the puck can’t glide in the way it should, you may notice it jumping and bumping the sides or rails and maybe even falling off the edge. Over time this could cause chips to occur on the surface, which can be a significant problem. If you want your air hockey table to have a long lifespan and function smoothly, you need to make sure you clean and maintain all its working parts regularly. Here’s how:
Step 1: Blast the Fans or Blowers
The first thing you need to make sure you do before all else is to turn on your tables’ fan. You should make sure the fan or blower is switched on throughout your cleaning session. This is because it stops anything from dust, dirt, or liquids from seeping into the drilled holes in the table. This helps stop them from getting clogged and causing any airflow issues to the table.
Step 2: Vacuum the Table
If you happen to have let any cobwebs, dust, or debris build-up, a vacuum can remove them quickly and effectively. But there are a few things you should bear in mind. Firstly, do not put your vacuum on full suction mode. Depending on which model you have, this could be too powerful and end up doing more harm than good. Start with the lowest setting, and slowly increase suction if necessary. Be gentle, as you do not want to cause any damage to the table. Use a soft slanted or brush attachment for optimum results. If you do happen to have any clogged holes, use this time to carefully suck the debris out to clear them.
Step 3: Wipe Down the Surface of the Table
This might seem like an obvious one, but if you want to make things as easy as possible for yourself, there is a right way to do it. Take a soft, lint-free cloth, such as a cotton-microfiber cloth, and dampen it slightly. Take care to remove any marks, oil, and dirt. Do not use an abrasive cloth if marks are difficult to remove. Scourers or steel wool will scratch the plastic tabletop surface, increasing the friction level and slowing down gameplay.
You can use a mild cleaning solution to remove tough stains. If you do use a cleaning liquid, check that it is recommended in your manufacturer’s manual. Not all air hockey tables are the same. Remember to clean the playing surface and give the legs and the rest of the table a good wipe down.
Step 4: Check the Air Holes
If you have spent some time vacuuming at the start, you should have minimal debris in the air holes. However, there may still be some bits remaining that you need to go in and remove at this point. You have various options here, such as a toothpick, pipe cleaner, or a cotton swab if it fits. Some people even like to use a drill bit. Find what works for you, and start unclogging any remaining particles until they are completely clean.
Step 5: Polish and Wax
You’ve got a clean, dry table, but you want to add that little extra bit of slip back onto the surface for the smoothest possible game. Again, make sure you are using a polish made specifically for air hockey tables for this step.
You don’t need to go overboard with the application; just use enough to cover the surface. Avoid clogging the air holes that you just cleaned. For best results, spray the polish onto a lint-free cloth, not directly onto your table. You can also use a wood furniture polish for the legs if required. Silicone spray lubricants can further add to the slip effect.
You may use wax, and while this may seem like an additional step, it will make things easier in the long run. This is because it will seal the surface and keep things smoother for longer.
Step 6: Don’t Forget the Mallets and Pucks
It’s not just all about the table itself – you need to clean the playing pieces too. Mallets and pucks will endure a certain level of wear and tear that you need to keep an eye on. If you notice any imperfections or abrasions on either your mallets or your pucks, there are steps you can take to minimize the effects and keep them clean. Try using ultra-fine sandpaper to bring back the smoothness of your game pieces. Just note that this will not be suitable for mallets with felt pads.
Maintain Your Table For Optimal Game Play
It may seem like a lot of work to keep your air hockey table clean, but it becomes a much smaller and easier task with regularly scheduled cleaning. As long as you stay on top of the cleaning tasks and don’t let a large amount of dirt build-up over time, your table should be working smoothly for many years. If you do all this consistently, a real deep clean should only be necessary every couple of months.
You can minimize the amount of dirt and grime your table is exposed to by avoiding consuming food and drink near the table and investing in a table cover for when the game is not in use.