Yes, it is true. The cleaner your air hockey table is, the better chance you have of playing a game without any hiccups. Since there are many different sizes of air hockey tables, there may be some differences in cleaning methods, but the basics are the same no matter what size you have. Ensure that you examine your model’s instruction manual for cleaning procedures specific to your air hockey table. Below are tips and suggestions to keep your table in top working order at all times. Follow these tips to extend the lifespan of your table and get the most out of your investment.
If you’re interested, read our comparison of the best cheap and affordable air hockey tables to see some of the best options for your game room.
Air Hockey Table Maintenance
Keep it Covered
No matter which size of the air hockey table at home, you need to keep the game covered when not in use. The dust has a way of getting into those tiny holes and when it does, you can lose airpower and your puck won’t slide smoothly. There is no set rule on what type of cover you should use. Just make sure it is not a mesh design or something similar. The covering will also help protect the wood from high humidity levels, accidental spills, and so on.
If it is covered almost all the time you do not have to do this very often. The covering will help to keep the table clean. But, if you do not cover it, then once a week should do the trick. This does not mean you give your table a deep and thorough cleaning. Just a general wipe down will suffice. You can do thorough cleanings about once a month to once every 3 months depending on how quickly it accumulates dirt and dust. In addition to keeping your table in optimum working order, it will also help with your air hockey table sliding better.
This is more for maintaining your pucks and pushers as they will get nicks and scrapes if you play hard and rough. They may also get cracks if you are not careful. Watch your play so you do not put too much force on either piece of equipment.
If you find nicks and scrapes, a little fine-grit sandpaper, and gentle, but firm, rubbing should make the surface smooth again. Then, if you find cracks or splits, replace the damaged puck or mallet as quickly as you can.
This is important and you need to do it the right way or you may end up damaging the surface of your game. Here are the steps you should follow:
1. Vacuum the table first- this is done before you do anything else as you want the dust to be dry and not clinging to anything. Unplug the game while vacuuming.
2. Use isopropyl alcohol or window cleaner that has no ammonia. Pour the cleaning liquid onto a rag, NOT the table itself. You want to use as little liquid as possible, so it evaporates quickly
3. Turn on the blower before you wipe – this will keep the dust out of the air holes and let air flow freely.
4. Wipe the table and let it dry.
Be Careful with Food and Drinks
Accidents happen and they usually happen when food and beverages are placed close to the air hockey table. If you get thirsty or hungry while playing, stop playing and move away from the table before eating or drinking. Wipe up any spills immediately and be careful not to plug the air holes.
Remove Obstructions from Air Holes
There will be times where one or more of these little holes get clogged and nothing you do removes the blockage (see How Do Air Hockey Tables Work). To clean out the blocked hole, you will need a drill and a drill bit no larger than 1/32 of an inch in diameter. Whatever you do, do not go larger than the holes in your game. Once you are set up with the drill and drill bit, turn the blower on to push the dust, etc. Up into the bit so it can be carried out. As you drill, go only as far as 3/8th of an inch and less is better for smaller tables. Do each hole and be careful not to push any dirt further up the line or you may not get it out.
What NOT to Clean
This is not just us saying this. This big no-no has been mentioned by quite a few experts when it comes to cleaning an air hockey table. To have your puck bounce right off the side and end rails, DO NOT clean those side and end rails. At least the part that touches the puck. Above that spot, you can clean but not the section where the puck touches the rails. Also, avoid using items like wax or silicone products.
Yes, these products help the puck slide better but they also leave a buildup that can ruin your game over time. They also can plug the air holes ruining your game time by stopping the puck from moving smoothly.
No one likes cleaning, but when you have a good game like air hockey, keeping the table clean is essential. Just follow the information above and you should be able to enjoy your air hockey game for years to come. Additionally, take your time! Cleaning is not an activity that needs to go fast. Besides, fast cleaning may make the table worse as some parts could be missed.