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Sarah Fowler, Foosball Fiend

A graphic designer and freelance writer, Sarah is a foosball fanatic with a wealth of knowledge about game tables that she can share to her readers

How Do You Maintain a Foosball Table?

When you buy any piece of furniture, you need to be prepared to maintain it. Particularly when it’s one that’s frequently used, the table will accrue quite a bit of not so much damage, but general wear and tear that needs to be fixed.

A big part of keeping your table in good shape is knowing the biggest things that can damage it in the first place, so that’s in large part what we’ll be focusing on, as the actual maintenance is surprisingly simple.

Damage Prevention

The biggest thing you can do to keep your foosball in good repair is to ensure it needs maintenance as little as possible.

This means avoiding the biggest things that can damage your table.

One of the amusing fun facts about foosball is that moisture and the game table doesn’t mix well. Many people like to take their foosball table outside, to enjoy a little fun while the sun is out and you can enjoy it. Many people like to take their foosball table outside, to enjoy a little fun while the sun is out and you can enjoy it.


However, those people often neglect to bring the table back inside when they’re through, which is one of the worst ordeals you can put your table through. Even if it doesn’t rain (though it certainly can do so unexpectedly), morning dew and other moisture can destroy your table, warping the playing surface and sides. Once this happens, your table is completely done for; you’ll need to buy a new one.

Similarly, keep food and drinks away from your table. The former is just more crumbs and smudges you need to clean up; not a big deal, but does impact the playability of your table quite a lot. But the latter is the same insidious killer as that nice morning dew; it will need to be cleaned up fast, or you risk warping the surface the same way, or leaving sticky smudges that are hard to get up.

Lastly, try to avoid being too rough with your table. “Jarring” is an illegal move, but a certain amount of banging and knocking is to be expected during vigorous play. Just try to keep it to a minimum.

Doing all of these things will keep the maintenance you need to do low, which will increase the longevity of your table. Still, you’ll never be able to completely obviate the need for maintenance, so let’s move onto the most common.

Cleaning the Table


Even if you avoid spilling drinks and what have you on the surface, a certain amount of grime will be accumulated on the table’s surface over time. So like it or not, eventually you’ll need to clean your table. The consolation here is that cleaning is an awesome way to burn calories.

This comes in the form of settled dust, but also a potentially unexpected source for a new owner of a game table: smudges left by (and on!) the balls themselves.

The movement of the balls along the table’s surface results in unsightly black streaks, and similar smidges on the balls.

Likewise, over time the men themselves can get pretty grimy too.

Your best friend here is a diluted alcohol solution; rubbing alcohol works just fine. A little bit of this on a cloth or cotton swab, after passing over the table with a dry cloth first (to snag any loose dirt and hairs and whatnot) will quickly and easily remove any black smudges.

The alcohol is fast drying as well, so you can get back to play almost immediately if you’re so inclined. This works fine for both the table itself and the men, so no need to vary things up for the two different bits.

When it comes to cleaning the balls themselves, you have a few options. You can clean them off with the cloth the same way you did with the table, but this can get a bit tedious, especially when the grooves and crevices in the balls make things difficult.

Otherwise, you can wrap them in a piece of white cloth (socks work well, but so do other options) and run them through the washing machine with your other clothing.

General Maintenance


There are no rules regarding foosball cleaning but for you perform amazing foosball tricks you’ll need the table to be in top shape. So, the first step is to take a look around your table, and try to note anything out of the ordinary.

Pay special attention to the screws in the table legs and all around. The way a foosball table will naturally be jostled during use will lead to a lot of loosening these screws, and after a while could lead to the collapse of the table, or at least a very shaky play space.

These need to be tightened regularly to ensure they don’t come completely loose, and this is a very simple task; just use the appropriate screwdriver for your screws and turn to tighten. Although for wobbling issues, this would mean that the legs are in disrepair and you might need to brace the legs.

The rods likewise need some attention to ensure they glide smoothly through the bumpers.

A silicone based lubricant is perfect for this purpose. It provides a lot of quick lubrication that’s easy on all the little moving parts that make up your foosball table. A water based lubricant would theoretically work as well, but it would certainly be a lot more short lived, so not recommended unless you’re concerned about the possible environmental benefits of using a more biodegradable lubricant.

In no circumstances should you use an oil based lubricant like WD-40. The lubrication is off the charts, for sure, but it will quickly dry out and start to destroy the bearings and bumpers that the rods glide through.

Speaking of, keep an eye on your bearings and bumpers; if these are dry or even cracked, they may need to be replaced.

Finally, take a look around your table for any bits that may have come loose; parts of the siding, or a corner of the table’s sticker, that sort of thing. These pieces will need to be carefully glued down.

For all of these things, ensure you do them at least once a week for a regularly used table, and once a month for a more infrequently used one to ensure maximum longevity.

Tom Erickson