How to Clean a Ping Pong Paddle (9 Simple Steps)

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If you have invested in a ping pong paddle that you love and find that it is responsive, grippy, and helps you with accurate shots, then you want to make sure that you keep it in great condition. This guide on how to clean a ping pong paddle in 9 easy steps will help!

ping pong paddle on a table

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1. Gather Supplies

The first step when cleaning a ping pong paddle is to make sure that you have the supplies that you need. Make sure that you use room temperature bottled or distilled water to keep it in good condition. Rather than opting for a rubber cleaning solution, using water is a great way to ensure that you don’t use any solvents on your paddle.

Here's what you'll need for this guide...

  • Bowl with room temperature bottled or distilled water

  • Clean sponge

  • Toothbrush - optional

  • Commercial cleaner - optional

  • Storage Case - optional

2. Use a Damp Sponge

Once you have your water, you will want to use a small sponge to remove any dirt or dust from your paddle. Rather than allowing the sponge to drip everywhere, make sure to squeeze out any excess water. This will ensure that you can clean your paddle without extra water causing the wood of your racket to swell.

3. Wipe the Entire Paddle

While holding the paddle with the head down to the floor, start by wiping the damp sponge along the head of the racket in a straight line. Always start from the handle and work down to the top of the racket towards the floor. Doing this will ensure that you are removing debris instead of spreading it around.

4. Repeat Until Clean

After washing one side of the paddle you will want to turn it over and then wash the other side. It’s important to fully clean one side before moving to the other so that you don’t spread dirt from the dirty side and bring it over to the clean side.

5. Wipe the Handle

While it’s normal to spend more time worrying about the condition of the head of your paddle, you also must make sure that you keep your handle in good working condition. Never allow water to rest on the wood of the handle for too long, especially if it is unsealed, as this will cause the wood to warp and become damaged.

It’s a good idea to carefully wipe down the handle to remove any oils or sweat from your hands after a game. This will keep the handle looking and feeling its best.

6. Allow it to Dry Completely and Then Store

It’s important to rest the paddle on a clean surface once you have washed it and allow it to fully dry. It’s only once the paddle is completely dry that it is safe to put it in storage. Once the paddle is no longer damp, then it can be stored in a case or with plastic covers on the rubber surfaces of the head.

7. Things to Avoid

While it makes sense to use detergent when cleaning a paddle, this is unnecessary and can actually cause problems in the future. The ingredients in detergent tend to be abrasive because they are really harsh. While this may result in a clean paddle at first, the great results will not last for a long time.

In fact, using detergent can shorten the life of your rubber because it will cause it to dry out and become brittle. This, in turn, leads ping pong players to have to replace the rubber to improve the way that their paddle works. Also avoid using any cleansers that have bleach or alcohol in them, as they will have the same problems.

8. Consider a Toothbrush

Depending on the pimples in your rubber you may want to use a toothbrush to ensure that this part of your rubber is getting nice and clean. These pimples can easily fill up with dirt and dust, and this can be difficult to remove with a damp sponge. Gently using a toothbrush to remove any contaminants from the pimples helps keep the rubber in great condition.

9. Choose the Right Commercial Cleaner

If you do choose to use a commercial cleaner, then you need to make sure that you carefully consider the ingredients in it to make sure that it won’t dry out your rubber. Follow the directions on the package so that you don’t leave the cleaner on for too long, which can have adverse effects. 

While cleaning a ping pong paddle does require a little more effort than simply putting it back into its storage case after a game, making sure to clean the paddle on a regular basis is the best way to keep it in great condition. Failing to do so will not only cause the paddle to eventually fall apart and become unusable, but also can decrease the grip that you enjoy when adding spin to a shot or controlling the ball.