The ping pong paddle is one of the most important tools for a professional ping pong player. Having a quality ping pong paddle can make the difference between winning and losing. As such, you must take care of your ping pong paddle so that it can provide you the level of service that you deserve.
Every time a ping pong ball is held by a player or touches the play area, it picks up all sorts of germs, oils, dirt, and grime that becomes easily transferred to the surface of your ping pong paddle upon contact. You don’t want dirt to buildup on the playing surfaces of your paddle as it will mean less control and grip over the ball.
That’s why it is so essential that you keep your ping pong paddle clean and free of dust so that the tackiness of the paddle can be maintained. The good news is that there are numerous ways of cleaning a ping pong paddle.
But how often should you clean it? Why should you bother cleaning it? Here is everything that you need to know about how to maintain your ping pong paddle:
Why it’s important to keep your ping pong paddle clean
Becoming a world champion in ping pong requires a lot more than just having quick reflexes. It is also very crucial that one is able to control the ball, which can only be done with a good tack. When we speak about tack, we are referring to the stickiness of the rubber material covering the surfaces of the paddle.
If you fail to clean your paddle properly and regularly, it is likely to collect dust and debris and over time, the amassed dirt on the surface will lead to total tack loss- which is the last thing any ping pong player wants.
How regularly should you clean your ping pong paddle?
It is important to clean your ping pong paddle each time you use it. If you’ve had your paddle in storage for a while without using it, it is a good idea to take it out every few weeks to get rid of any built-up dust on its surface. If you allow the dust to sit for long, it will be harder to get rid of it.
How to clean a ping pong paddle
You don’t need much to get your ping pong paddle clean. All you need is a sponge and good old-fashioned hot water. Plus, according to the rules of the International Table Tennis Federation’s handbook, all players are responsible for ensuring that their paddles remain free of any harmful solvents. Since some cleaning solutions out there contain said solvents, it is safer to use water (temperature distilled or bottled) for cleaning purposes.
Before you start cleaning, use a soft-bristled brush to carefully remove any dirt on the surface. You don’t want to use a hard brush as it could scratch the rubber surface, which will pave the way for tack loss on your paddle.
Dip your sponge in the water so that it is wet enough to cover the surface of the paddle for cleaning. Scrub the surface gently; if you scrub too hard you could be getting rid of the tack and no one wants that. After cleaning, dry the surface with a cloth and let the paddle air dry completely before storage.
There are also some great paddle cleaners out there that can get the job done in minutes. There are many types out there, but it is generally recommended that you stick with water-based paddle cleaners. If yours is a dotted paddle, you can use a toothbrush to get rid of dirt in those hard to reach spots on the paddle.
As a rule of thumb, you should never use detergent powder to clean your paddle as it could damage the rubber on the surface. The use of bleach or other alcoholic cleaning products is not recommended either. Chemical cleaners that have high alcoholic content can cause the rubber surface of your paddle to dry up and crack so it’s best to stay away from them.
If you do use commercial foams to clean your paddles at home, ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid breathing in the dangerous fumes. If you want to clean your ping pong paddle like the pros do it, here is a full list of which ping pong paddle cleaners to use.
Are there ways to protect a ping pong ball from damage?
Even the best ping pong paddles start to wear out after they have been used for some time. However, you can slow down the process considerably by protecting your paddle. After every match, remember to cover the paddles using self-adhesive plastic sheeting.
The sheeting will prevent debris from collecting on the surfaces and the adhesiveness will add more tack to the rubber. If you play professionally, be sure to check with the committee for accepted standards; some rule committees do not allow players to use plastic sheeting that is made using non-water based glues.
Aside from the plastic sheeting, you can also use a rubber protector to cover and protect the surface when the paddle is not in use. The rubber protective sheet will prevent dust and debris build-up so that you can use your paddle for longer.
You can have the most expensive ping pong paddle in the world. However, if you don’t take care of it, it won’t be of service to you. Your ping pong paddle can make or break you. Your paddle’s ability to create the right amount of spin largely rests on the quality of your rubber.
The tackier and softer the rubber, the better the spin you will get. And this cannot occur with a dingy, broken down ping pong paddle. Cleaning and maintaining your paddle consistently will help to preserve the quality of your rubber so that you can continue to use it for years to come.