Cleanliness is next to top entertainment
At least it is when it comes to playing air hockey. A clean surface means that the puck will slide better and faster. Those conditions ensure that your game will be fast and exciting.
To learn how to clean an air hockey table, just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to get the job done right.
Air hockey table surface material
An air hockey table’s surface material remains basically the same throughout its many renditions and sizes. It is usually made from particle board covered by laminate. The wood is for strength and keeps the air hockey table surface material durable as well as sturdy.
Then that wood is covered with a smooth laminate to make sure the puck slides or floats smoothly from end to end. The laminate is pierced with tiny holes that let the air flow come out smoothly.
That air flow ensures the pucks float and move like you want it to.
Why should you clean your air hockey table?
The very first reason that you keep your air hockey table clean is fun. If the table surface gets dirty then your puck does not move that well and your fun will be limited. You also may not like the fact that your opponent took advantage of the dirt and scored some tricky shots that wouldn’t normally go in.
Another good reason why you clean your game is that it lasts longer if you do. These tables can outlast your children’s childhood and teen years if they are properly maintained and cleaned. The dirt and grime can creates nicks and chips in the surface which will also spoil your fun.
A third reason to keep your table clean is to make sure the air holes do not get clogged. The less air flowing to the surface the slower and more difficult the game will become.
When do you need to clean your air hockey table?
The frequency of cleaning of your air hockey game will depend on the room it is placed in. If it is located in the basement it will need more cleaning than if it was placed in the upstairs family room. basements are dustier and dirtier than other rooms in your home.
The general rule of thumb is to clean the table once a week. You may get away with less time if you keep your game covered and free from dust. If you do not cover the game and keep it in your basement then may 2 to 3 days a week should be a sufficient amount of cleaning time.
Anything more than that will be over kill.The key to cleaning your air hockey game is to use the right air hockey table cleaner. Not every cleaner will work on the surface of this game.
How To Clean Air Hockey Table: Step By Step Guide
Knowing how to clean your air hockey table is a must. When the table gets dirty you can accidentally damage the surface ruining the game. You either have to do a lot of repair work or pay for a replacement.
Here are the steps you need to take to keep that from happening:
#1. Switch on the blowers on first
This is the most important step you must take. Having the air blower on while you are cleaning is essential in keeping dirt, grime, cleaning liquid and dust out of those holes. If those items get into the holes, then your cleaning time will become longer and more difficult.
Also, those air holes will become clogged and not let any air out. When that happens your game slows down and becomes less fun.
#2. Vacuum the surface first
The next step in the cleaning process is vacuuming the surface. This well get any loose dirt and debris off the surface that a wiping cloth can’t pick up. You should use the upholstery attachment that came with your vacuum as you do not want to add any scratches to the surface.
Also, you should hold the nozzle just above the surface for the same reason. Scratches ruing the smooth finish and hampers your play. Take your time, making sure to cover the whole surface. Spend a little extra time over the air holes to pick up loose items that have fallen inside.
#3. Wipe Down the Playing Surface
After the vacuuming is done, it is time to use the right air hockey table cleaner. Usually a mild glass cleaner, without the ammonia, will work best or you can use a slightly damp microfiber or soft cotton cloth.
Next, you put the cleaner onto the cloth not the table surface. You want as little moisture on the surface of the table so it dries quickly. Use enough pressure to remove the stuck on dirt but not so much that you harm the table.
Clean the exterior part of the game and it is up to you to clean the rails or not.
#4. Clogged Holes
This is the tricky part of keeping your air hockey table clean. You can use pipe cleaners, drill bits, toothpicks, or cotton swabs to get down inside each hole and lift the dirt out. You have to be careful not to drive the dirt further down into those holes are you are asking for more cleaning trouble.
be careful when you lift the dirt out and do not rush this step. Make sure not to turn your blower off during this cleaning step.
#5. Approved Cleaning Products
What products you use are important. Air hockey games need special care due to the damage that can be done to the surface if you use the wrong cleaner. First, you need to select the right cloth to wipe the table.
This should be a microfiber fabric or soft cotton. Then you can use an alcohol-based cleaner like rubbing alcohol or you can go to an ammonia-free dishwashing liquid or glass cleaner
If you have none of those products in your home, just wet the cloth with a little warm water and wipe away.
#6. Waxing Your Air Hockey Table
This is an optional step and it is up to your preferences. The drawback to waxing your air hockey table is that the wax can get down into the air holes, if you are not careful. All you need is a thin coat of wax that is specially made for air hockey tables.
After putting that thin coat on, buff it so that you get a nice glossy shine. Some spray silicone lubricants will replace the wax if you want to make your work a little bit lighter. Just keep the blower on through this step as well.
The key is to keep those air holes free from dirt, liquids and grime while making sure the surface is perfect.
#7. Cutting Down on Cleanup
The best way to cut down on your work and the clean up that comes afterwards is to keep your table covered at all times when not in use. The less dirt on the table the less cleaning you have to do.
Then the less cleaning means the less clean up after you are done. In this step, you can sand your mallets and puck if you want. They get nicks and scratches that might influence your play.
How do you clean an air hockey table without damaging it?
The very first step you need to take here is not to be in a hurry. Air hockey games are fine tuned machines for the most part and it takes care to make sure they do not get damaged. Take your time as haste does make waste even with air hockey tables.
The second step is to make sure you only use approved air hockey table cleaning supplies. Using the wrong cleaner or the wrong cloth will add scratches and other damage to the surface or walls of the game.
Third, if you use a drill, do not use a drill bit that is too large for the holes. Those holes are the right size for the blower power and making them larger does not get you more air power, it will get you less.
How to Clean Air Hockey Table Holes
This, as we said earlier, is the trickiest part even though you have a variety of tools you can use. Toothpicks are probably the safest item to use as they are not that sharp and can fit easily into those air holes.
No matter which item you choose to use, vacuum first to get the loose dirt, etc., then take care to lift the hard to get dirt up. Do not go down as that will keep the dirt in the holes and block passageways.
Always keep the blower on when cleaning those air holes. That air flow blocks the passageway keeping the dirt from going down into the game.
7 GOLD STANDARD AIR HOCKEY MAINTENANCE TIPS
#1. Use a light grit sand paper, often included with your game, to sand the puck or your mallets when they get nicks and scrapes in them. The grit should be 100 to 150 and very fine.
#2. Rubbing alcohol is probably the best cleaner you can use on your table. It goes on thin and dries faster than other cleaners
#3. Do not clean the side rails. Some people believe that the dirt on the side rails makes sure the pucks bounces true. This is not mandatory and you are free to clean them if you wish.
#4. Keep food and drinks off the table- this is mandatory as any spills or crumbs will clog up those air holes or damage the surface of the game. Do everything you can to keep the air hockey table free of crumbs and so on
#5. If the laminate gets dented- use a clear epoxy that is not runny to fill those dents. Let it set up a bit so you can fix the dent not fill the air holes.
#6. It is possible to insert a portion of a plastic straw into the air holes to stop the epoxy from running into them.
#7. A 1/32 drill bit is the ideal size to use when cleaning out those air holes. Use the rotating bit to help you lift the dirt out.
#1. How Often Should I Clean My Hockey Table?
At least once a week. If you allow food and drink onto the table or keep it in a dusty area, then more times per week will be needed to keep it clean
#2. How Can I Make Air Hockey Table Slide Better?
You can use wax made for air hockey tables or a good silicone spray. Most people do not recommend using either as the risk of logging the holes is great. Just keep the surface clean and you should be fine.
#3. How Can I Make Air Hockey Table Slippery?
You do not really want it slippery as that may affect the puck an dhow it slides. The best thing to do is make sure all the air holes are free from dirt and the air flows like it should.
#4. How do I keep my pucks and mallets in top shape?
The best way to accomplish that is to use 100 to 150 grit sandpaper and lightly sand the surface just where the nicks and scrapes are
#5. Should I cover my air hockey table?
When not in use, it is a good idea to cover it. You never know when accidents may happen and if uncovered, the table could get damaged. It cuts your cleaning time down as well.
As you can see how to clean a air hockey table is not as easy as it may seem. You cannot go fast and you must be careful how you do it. It takes time, effort and a bit of work to make sure your games are flowing, quick and fun.