It goes without saying that the paddle is the most crucial part of the ping pong game. A good paddle needs to be responsive, have just the right amount of spin and balance. It should feel right in your hands. Without a doubt, the composition of the paddle is of utmost importance. However, buying a good quality racquet that fits your playing style is not everything you need. You also need to maintain your paddle or else it won’t last.
When you play, the paddle tends to collect dust, debris, dirt, and sweat from your hands. I know, right? Yikes! This affects the performance of your paddle, no matter how great its quality is.
So what should you do about it? You should keep your paddle clean and well-maintained.
WHY SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR PADDLE?
You must be wondering, why go through all the hassle? Well, haven’t you heard that quote that has now become a cliché? ‘If you take care of things, they last’. Most of the quality paddles cost a fortune, and you can’t just invest in something and let it rot.
Secondly, the performance of your paddle decreases when it gets dirty. It can’t quite generate the spin that you require. If you are an advanced player, you would notice how a new paddle differs from an old one that has collected enough dust.
The rubber’s gripping ability lessens as well. It may also make the rubber deteriorate prematurely.
So, the point made, if your paddle is a keeper, you have to keep it well.
HOW TO CLEAN A PING PONG PADDLE?
There are several ways to clean your paddle:
1. Water and Sponge
This is one of the cheapest and safest ways to clean your paddle. It’s approved by ITTF. You wouldn’t even need to go an extra mile for this. It’s an easy DIY. Everything you need is right at your home.
Here’s what you are gonna need:
· Distilled or bottled water
· Small sponge
· Small bowl
And here is a beginner’s guide to cleaning your paddle:
· STEP 1: Fill a bowl with either distilled or bottled water. The water should be at room temperature.
· STEP 2: Dip in the sponge. Squeeze till there’s no excess water left. Your sponge should be wet enough to pick up the dirt and the dust, not to give your paddle a full wash.
· STEP 3: Wipe your paddle gently from base to the head. Try to keep up with the pattern you began with, so none of the dust is left behind.
· STEP 4: Wipe the surface with a damp sponge until both sides are cleaned. Allow the paddle to air dry.
Note: Do not scrub vigorously. If there are oil and dirt spots, let the moisture from the sponge absorb them.
There are specialized sponges designed specifically for the cleaning of ping pong paddles. However, if you don’t have one or do not want to get one, a regular sponge will do just a fine job.
2. Rubber Cleaning Method
If you have tried the water and sponge method and some stains are acting a little more stubborn, here is an option you can try. Rubber cleaning solutions are products that come in foams and sprays. Different companies offer their own rubber cleaning solutions. Spray and wipe.
The rubber cleaning method receives mixed reviews. Some claim that it is a lifesaver and a really effective method. Others, however, argue that it makes the rubber age faster. The solution is to check the instructions on the back of your spray prior to use.
3. Toothbrush Method
If you use a pimpled paddle, the most effective method to use is a toothbrush. You can simply use water or rubber cleaning solution. The toothbrush would help reach all the areas and ensure your paddle is cleaned effectively. Allow the paddle to air dry.
Alcohol is a great way to clean your paddle but it is not the most effective in the long run. In other terms, it may clear away the sticky residue but it will also wear out your paddle. So you have to be very careful with its use.
Clean the visible debris and residue. Use an extremely soft material such as a nylon cloth for this process. Apply a substantial amount of alcohol on the cloth. Dab the paddle gently to clean out the dirt. It is recommended that you use circular motions.
Do not make this a part of your routine cleaning. Be very cautious with its use.
5. Baking Soda
Baking soda is another excellent option for rather stubborn stains. It also helps fight odor. However, similar to the alcohol use, baking soda can be abrasive and damage your paddle.
To apply it, use a toothbrush. Give your paddle a light scrub and dry it off.
Note: Use alcohol and baking soda only once in a while, when necessary.
WHAT TO AVOID WHILE CLEANING YOUR PADDLE?
Rubbers on the paddles are sensitive and degradable. Great caution needs to be exercised while cleaning them. Following things must be avoided when you clean your ping pong paddle:
1. Harsh Cleaning Products
Do not use soap, detergents, vinegar, or bleach to clean your racket. Unless you have a specially designed soap or detergent for it, it is unlikely that usual materials will do any good. Instead, they will do more harm than good.
2. Abrasive Scrubbers
Do not use harsh or hard materials for scrubbing. They are likely to scratch off the surface of your paddle.
3. Hard Scrubbing
Do not scrub off your paddle harshly. Gently scrub off in patterns to have the most effective cleaning result.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR PADDLE?
That depends on your usage of the paddle. If you play regularly, try cleaning it monthly or once in two months. If you play off and on, try cleaning it after 3-4 months.
If you are using your paddle after some time, it is advisable you clean it before use.
Clean your paddle regularly to maintain its condition. Do not overdo your cleaning as it will harm your paddle. Use softer products and gently clean your paddle. Avoid hard scrubbing and materials. Keep your paddle in a case when not in use to increase its durability.