How to Treat Spills on Your Billiards Table

Billiards tables get dirty with use. Chalk, dust and other debris are unavoidable during gameplay; however, such things are easy to brush off. Conversely, liquids spilled onto the felt—especially sugary and starchy ones like beer, coolers and juices—can ruin your table unless immediately treated.

Best case scenario, an untended spill will result in only a minor stain. Worst case, the liquid will dry, harden and change the feel of the fabric, causing erratic ball behaviour around the area. Even for amateur players, this can seriously degrade the playability of a table and warrant a re-felting.

Treatment for a Fresh Spill

When a drink first spills onto the table, follow the steps below as quickly as you can.

  1. Dab with a dry lint-free cotton cloth. Make sure that the cloth is white to prevent colours from bleeding onto the felt. Do not rub the spot either; this will stretch the fabric and set the stain quicker.
  2. Rinse the cloth with cool water, then wring it out thoroughly before returning to the spot and blotting the stain again. Warm water will set the stain, so watch the temperature! Repeat this step until the stain has been lifted.
  3. Pour white vinegar into a pot of cool water for step two if the stain is particularly tricky or sticky.
  4. Dry the spot adhering to the instructions outlined in step one. You might not be able to capture all moisture from the table, so you’re best to leave the table open to air dry before playing again.

Instead of vinegar, you can also purchase special billiards table cleaners. This cleaner typically comes in a bottle that dispenses foam. Just refrain from using soaps and detergents! These will leave residue and make matters worse.


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