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How to Clean & Maintain an Air Hockey Table

My grandkids love playing air hockey but they are notorious for spilling stuff on it. Over the years through trial and error, we learned that if we wanted our air hockey to last until the youngest was old enough to play we had to regularly maintain it.

To clean an air hockey table start by turning on the fan and wiping the surface with a soft cotton or microfiber rag. Next, spray the top with a silicone lubricant and then clean the fan. Use a toothpick or small drill bit to unclog airholes and keep your air hockey table covered between uses.

Some people think their air hockey table is indestructible, it’s not. You need to clean and maintain it if you want it to last. This article explores some simple tricks to help keep your air hockey table in shape so it will be around for many fun sessions.

The guide provides quick, comprehensive solutions to the following:

  • How can I make my air hockey table slide better?
  • Can you wax an air hockey table?
  • Can you resurface an air hockey table?
  • How do you clean an air hockey table without damaging it?
  • How do you remove scuff marks from an air hockey table?
  • Sandpaper On Mallets and Pucks
  • Why should I clean my hockey table?
  • How often should I clean my hockey table?

clean air hockey tableHow to Clean Air Hockey Table?

Even the highest quality air hockey table will, over time, underperform because they aren’t kept clean.

With usage, airflow holes may clog, and the puck gets stuck — little wonder why most owners don’t get the best from their air hockey tables.

Note this – proper maintenance is as relevant as the build quality of your hockey table. So, regardless of how much you spend on your table, you still won’t get the desired outcome without regular maintenance.

Are you wondering how to clean your air hockey table? No worries, cleaning your hockey table is pretty easy.

How Can I Make My Air Hockey Table Slide better?

Polishing your air hockey table makes it glide better. For wooden tables, you may apply furniture polish. However, do not spray on the table directly. Instead, first, spray on a cloth.

Then, turn on the table and use the sprayed cloth to wipe over the table surface. After polishing, your table will wear a smooth look, promoting smooth puck sliding. You can also apply the polish on the legs and sides, only if they are also made of wood.

Can you wax an air hockey table?

Although not required, a lot of people wax their air hockey tables during a comprehensive clean. So, while it may not be a requirement, waxing your table helps improve the anesthetic appeal of your table, making it look new.

Typically, waxing your air hockey table has two purposes:

  • To smoothen out an age-worn or roughened table, and;
  • Acts as a protection against future damage.

Remember to be moderate in applying your wax on the table surface. Also, ensure you go for the wax best fit for air hockey tables and apply a thin coat evenly over the table surface.

While little application helps smoothen out the surface, some air holes may clog when the application gets overboard. This, in turn, may develop into dead spots. After applying a small amount of allow it to dry and gently wipe the surface with a dry clean towel. Go ahead and enjoy your glossy, sparkling surface.

Can you resurface an air hockey table?

Of course, you can. Is your table surface damaged or dented? No worries. There are some solutions to it. Clear epoxy is an example of such effective measures. Epoxy helps fill in the gash and ensures it levels up to the other parts of the table.

As soon as the epoxy hardens, level out the fixed portion with ultra-fine sandpaper. Be careful, as much as possible, to avoid scratching the table itself.

Pro tips

  • If you mistakenly covered an air hole during the repair, re-open the hole with a 1/32” drill bit.
  • To avoid the above, insert a drinking straw, or a similar-shaped object, into the hole before applying your epoxy.

How do you clean an air hockey table without damaging it?

A picture of air hockey table

Here is a step-by-step guide to help clean your hockey table without damaging it.

Clean and Lubricate the surfaces

Dirt accumulated over time can cause friction on the surface of your air hockey table. This may prevent easy sliding of the puck, causing frequent disruptions during play.

So if you want a surface that the pluck can slide on you need to clean and lubricate the surfaces, including mallets and pucks.

For a good clean, turn on the fan and wipe the surface with fabric made of cotton or microfiber. You may have to dampen the cleaning cloth and pour some dishwashing detergent for more effective cleaning. I suggest using a small amount of Dawn dishwashing liquid.

Apply Silicone Spray Lubricant – Cautiously

Here’s a tip, particularly for lovers of fast-paced games. Proper use of lubricant increases the sliding speed of the puck over the table. However, caution is advised against excessive application.

When too much, the lubricant may leave an extremely smooth surface, which can negatively impact your playing experience. A moderate application of silicone lubricant is your best bet.

You should spray the lubricant on a rag of soft material and, then, apply it across the tabletop. A good silicone spray to use is Game Room Guys Silicone Spray for Shuffleboards.

Ensure the fan is clean

Keep the fan clean always. Since air hockey gets constant air infusion through the table holes, the Fan’s blower soon gets dirt clogs.

Dirt and grime on the fan blades usually reduce the fan speed and functionality. Be sure and check on the blower at regular intervals. You may also apply pressurized air to blow off caked dirt. A vacuum cleaner may come in handy.

Cover table when not in Use

Your hockey table is exposed to a range of risks when left open, particularly when not in use. Dust and other particles flying around could settle on it and clog the holes.

To reduce such settling particles, always cover your air hockey table when not in use. There are appropriate covers – in the form of table cloths – sold in the same stores the hockey tables are sold. Again, always ensure the table cloths fit your table size.

Amazon sells various tabletop covers for air hockey tables and pool tables. Before ordering be sure and measure your table so you get the right size.

Keep Table Holes Dust-free

Be diligent in ensuring the table holes are free from dirt and dust. These holes largely determine the functionality of the table, as the air blows through it.

For effective cleaning, a drill bit, toothpick, or any tiny object that fits properly into the holes proves effective. Get rid of as much dust as possible. Leaving fragments behind could shorten the table’s lifespan.

While the guide promotes a good clean, here are some things to avoid:

  • Do not clean off dust from the rails that connect to the puck. Light dust on the rails improves bounce.
  • If not specifically designed for air hockey tables, avoid such cleaners. While they may look good initially, most times, they cause more havoc, reducing performance, and plugging up the air holes.

How do you remove scuff marks from an air hockey table?

After much use, your air hockey table will likely accumulate fingerprints, light scratches, and the like. Don’t worry, though; you can scrub them out.

To tackle this, use a clean, dry towel to wipe down dust and other particles off the table. Dampen the towel with some rubbing alcohol. Avoid soaps, as it may clog the air holes.

Switch on the air and scrub the surface with your alcohol-damped rag. You may need to exert some pressure hard enough to get rid of those unwanted marks on your tabletop.

However, avoid scrubbing with an abrasive material, as it may do more damage than good to your table surface. When done with the tabletop, wipe the sides and legs with a mix of dishwashing agent and warm water.

Do not use soapy water on the inside rails and the surface.

Using Sandpaper On Mallets and Pucks

While sandpaper is a handy tool for every air hockey table owner, do not use sandpaper on your tabletop during your normal weekly maintenance. Sandpapers are best used for mallets and pucks, not the surface.

Typically, with usage, pucks tend to wear and tear. You may have to check the pucks if you notice an uneven movement on the table. If nothing seems wrong visually, you may want to sand the puck.

Ensure you use extremely fine sandpaper. 240 or 150 grit sandpaper is most recommended. As with the pucks, mallets also suffer little abrasions that are practically invisible. Of course, sandpaper can also be used on the bosom of the mallets.

Why Clean your Air Hockey Table?

Red stick on an air hockey table.

The reasons are numerous. However, here are a few:

  • A dirty table prevents proper gliding of the puck, resulting in drag.
  • When durst and other particles drop on and clog the air holes, the puck glides with difficulty, causing dead spots at the point the puck stops.
  • Also, you wouldn’t want your table to appear ugly with those black marks. So, get them off and restore your table’s glow.
  • When the tabletop is dirty with bits, the puck will likely jump, bump or, sometimes, fly off.

How Often Should I Clean My Hockey Table?

It depends on the usage frequency and dustiness of the play environment.

However, once-a-week cleaning is a nice rule of thumb. With such regular weekly maintenance, you may not need frequent deep cleaning.

A general wipe-down helps guide against dust build-up, which not only slows the game but may clog the air holes if left unmaintained for long.

Ensure you do regular inspections on the mallets and pucks. Although they do not need cleaning, you may need to level them out with sandpaper when speed reduces.

Wrap up

Over time, grime and dirt tend to accumulate and block the holes on your air hockey table. Typically, this drags the motor, causes wear, and a likely breakdown.

However, proper and consistent cleaning will help keep your table in top shape and prevent expensive replacements.