How To Clean a Felt Poker Table? Be Gentle With Felt!

Written by Furniture, Game Tables & Boards

Poker Table Helmsley Green Felt

Having a gaming table, particularly a poker table, with a felt lining can make the whole experience all the more inviting. Those fancy felt tables seem to call anyone around to play just one more game. Sadly, as nice as that felt can feel, sometimes accidents can happen and that can be tragic when everyone realizes that they don’t know the proper way to clean it up.

How to clean a felt poker table? Assess the type of grime before you start. If your table has a few crumbs, wipe away gently with your hands, a soft and dry towel, a microfiber cloth, or a soft toothbrush. If your table is just a little dirty, use a hand vacuum. If a spill has happened, you must clean it immediately but carefully using a dry towel to soak up the spill. If a stain has occurred, blot the spot with a cloth moistened with water and a small amount of vinegar.

As much as I’d like to give a simple answer for how to clean felt, I’m afraid that since felt is a very finicky fabric, there are quite a few ways to properly clean it up without damage. There are also lots of ways to do it wrong. Improperly cleaning felt can cause it to become damaged beyond repair, even destroying it right down to the fibers! Don’t take unnecessary risks with your expensive investment: learn how to properly clean your felt poker table. Be sure to read on for more information!

Do You Really Need to Clean the Felt on a Poker Table?

Quite a few gaming tables are made with a soft but durable felt lining. This felt can add a certain element of both class and function to it. Poker tables are one of the most common types of gaming tables to boast a luxurious felt lining. These fancy tables are the ones you may see on televised games or online videos of professional poker games.

As much as we wish our tables to remain at peak health and efficiency for all eternity, unfortunately, accidents can and will happen. Accidents are inevitable unless you keep your poor table locked away, for eyes only and no touching. But locking away a perfectly good table where everyone can see but never touch is basically torture when you’re bored or have friends over.

Even people who take only the best care of their poker tables still have to deal with the cumulative yuck that can start to form from casual or professional play. That grossness can be from snacks, drinks, dust, dirt, or even just the oils that the human body produces naturally.

So, yes, you really do need to clean your poker table!


How Do You Clean a Felt Poker Table?

The first and most important thing to keep in mind during this whole thing is moisture. While dry felt can be touched, rubbed, and maybe even roughed up a bit without any repercussions, the moment felt becomes wet is when you have to be extremely careful. The moisture from damp hands, a musty moist room, or unlucky spills can weaken felt and make it tough to clean.

Dry dirt, crumbs, and dust have a whole other set of problems to worry about.

What to Do for Dirt or Other Crumbs

Crumbs of any kind such as from food, dirt, or dust are almost impossible to avoid. They’re most likely going to occur on every surface in every home, and the poker table is no exception to this fact.

But what should you do if your poker table is starting to accumulate crumbs, dirt, or other gross bits of things that shouldn’t be there? Luckily the answer is easy: you can either wipe them off with your hands, a soft towel, a microfiber cloth, a soft toothbrush for the picky crumbs that just won’t leave, or even suck them up with a hand vacuum.

Just be sure that, whatever your cleaning method of choice is, you don’t scrub or scrape too hard across the felt. Felt is a very sensitive cloth to rough treatment such as scraping and scrubbing. Typically, you should be wiping in one direction with small, light strokes. Be gentle with your felt.

If you decide to try your luck with the vacuum method, please refrain from using one with a high-powered motor. These big-powered vacs could potentially suck a hole through the felt, and I’m sure no one wants that. A small, handheld vacuum or one with an adjustable suction level would be best.

You can cut down on some of the pilling that may occur by smoothing the felt down lightly with a pumice stone. While this can get rid of the pilling, try not to do this too often, as with any of the ways to combat pilling can also easily wear down the felt eventually.


What to Do for a Spill

Poker Table Drink

A true gaming night is never really complete without something to drink, whether it be something as simple as water or soda, or even something more like alcohol. No matter the drink of choice, a spill is still a spill to felt and should be removed from a felt surface immediately.

If a spill has occurred, grab a dry towel to soak it up right away. Lay the dry towel on the spill and let it soak it up. Don’t try to press the towel into the surface or you may press the liquid farther into the felt. You may even end up spreading it around, which will make it even harder to clean out. If the spot is still there after a few minutes, you can carefully dab, not press, another dry towel into the spot to help it soak up the rest.


What to Do for a Stain

Finding a stain on your beloved poker table can be very worrying. Where did it come from? How can I clean this out? Will this stain even come out at all? While I can’t give you an affirmation that every stain is removable, I can give you the sacred knowledge on how to possibly remove it.

To start, you will need: a bowl, a towel, some vinegar, and some cold water. Why cold water? Felt is typically dyed with a certain kind of dye that bleeds easily, so hot water will most likely leech the color off the table.

1: Fill your bowl with cold water and add the vinegar. The proportions should be about one tablespoon of vinegar per one cup of water in the bowl.

2: Soak a soft towel in the solution and wring it out until damp.

3: Dab at the stain repeatedly. Do not rub or press too hard into the fabric.

4: Be sure to re-soak and wring the cloth often for maximum cleaning power.

5: Let the spot dry completely and check to see if it’s gone. If the spot remains, repeat a few more times until it’s gone.


If you have a particularly stubborn stain and this method doesn’t work, then you can also buy specialized felt cleansers, or even hire a professional to hopefully fix it up.

Can You Clean Mold From Felt?

Mold can form for various reasons. It can come in many types as well, which makes mold a pretty common problem for almost anything, fancy poker tables included.

I’ve gone over how felt is decently durable when fully dry and of high quality, but even the best kind of felt can turn into a soggy and weak mess when wet, which makes it the perfect place for mold to grow.

This probably brings up many concerns when someone sees their beloved table stained with the familiar sight of mold or mildew and can make them panic in wonder if they can even properly remove it without ruining their precious table.

So, can you remove mold and mildew from felt? Thankfully, yes. But don’t relax just yet, because depending on the severity of your problem, you may have your work cut out for you.


How Do You Clean Mold From Felt?

baking soda and vinegar

Fighting off mold is a very common thing when you own a house, and usually the go-to for removing it is bleach because bleach kills everything. However, when dealing with special fabrics like felt, you should try to stay away from bleach. Not only will it leech the color from the felt, but there’s a possibility that it can start to break down the actual fibers as well.

So, how do you clean up mold from felt? Carefully. Much like cleaning up any stain or other debris from felt, you must use a combination of the proper cleaning supplies and a gentle touch. Unfortunately, mold is much harder to clean than most other stains, and if not removed completely will come back with a vengeance. Depending on the severity and persistence of the mold, you may even have to call upon a professional to take care of it for good.

To clean up mold from felt, you will need: baking soda, a spray bottle filled with vinegar, a microfiber or other lint-free cloth, and a brush (optional).

  • To start, carefully brush or wipe off any dry and loose mold from the surface. Wiping off the loose pieces makes cleaning up the rest easier and less likely to stain or spread.
  • Next step, cover the entire mold-infected spot with the baking soda. Make sure you cover it entirely, even expanding an inch or so slightly out from the spot to ensure you are killing it all.
  • Next, you should start to spray the baking soda with the vinegar. Just go absolutely ham with it. Okay, maybe don’t go overboard. You want just enough vinegar to make the baking soda get wet and start to fizz and foam.
  • Once your crazy science mixture starts to fizz and foam up, leave it for about five minutes. I know, I said not to leave liquids sitting on your precious table for too long, but this is the one exception to that rule. You want to leave it so it has enough time to properly kill all the mold spores. Mold takes root very deep within surfaces, so you need time for the solution to reach those roots.
  • You may also optionally use a soft brush to very lightly break up the mold to allow the solution to sink deeper into the felt and kill as much mold as it can.
  • After you have given your solution enough time to kill the mold, you’ll need to blot the area with a wet towel. Make sure you are using a fresh and clean spot of the towel to clean up the mold and solution, otherwise you’ll just end up spreading it around more. Even better, just get a fresh towel!
  • Let your table dry completely once all of the mold and solution have been cleaned up. You can also, once it’s dry, lightly brush the area with a soft brush to remove any stiffness the solution may have caused.

If a stain remains but the mold is gone, you can use the cleaning methods I mentioned above for cleaning up stains.


Felt Gaming Tables: How Do You Care for Them?

Some may think that after a game or two they can just pack up their stuff and move on, not realizing that their table yearns for the proper care and maintenance it deserves. By leaving a table like this, you’re letting all the germs, oils, and other harmful gross things just fester. This is not only a potential threat to the felt on the table, but is also kind of gross to think about.

After every game, you should be sure to remove all items from the table and look closely for any damage or gross things. You should then wipe the whole surface of the table carefully with a dry microfiber cloth or a small handheld vacuum to remove any unseen crumbs.

While you don’t really need to deep clean your felt table after every single use, you should still get into the habit of cleaning it every week or so, especially if you use it very frequently.

Always make sure to cover your table after use, and never store anything on top of it that does not belong.

To prevent any potential stains from happening, you can also buy separate foldable tables to place alongside your poker table. By having all of the drinks and snacks on a separate table, any potential disaster is less likely to claim the poker table as a victim.

Do All Poker Tables Have Felt?

Poker Table Speed Cloth

Not always. Traditional card tables were typically made as all-wood pieces that were either simple in design or elegant, but didn’t have any cloth at all. Now most, if not all, modern poker tables have either a baize or speed cloth interior. Baize is a kind of felt that is generally considered to be more durable than normal felt, while speed cloth is a kind of Teflon-coated fabric.


Do Poker Tables Need Felt?

Need is a subjective idea. Do they need felt? No, and they haven’t always had it. However, the felt lining does serve a purpose other than looking good. The felt can help the cards to slide across the table with more ease, which makes dealing cards faster and more efficient. It also adds a little friction to keep the cards from sliding too much.



Poker tables are a wonderful addition to any game room, and with regular and proper cleaning care sessions taken, you’ll be improving the life and vibrancy of your table, potentially extending its life by years, even.


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