How to Safely Clean a Good Table Tennis Racket?

Every time a table tennis ball is held by a player or touches the playing surface, it picks up dirt, grime and oil. The ball then transfers these substances to the racket surface upon contact. The buildup of dirt on a racket's playing surface removes the tackiness in the rubber, meaning you will be less able to grip the ball for spin and control. To preserve the life of your high-quality table tennis racket, it is advisable to clean its surface after every match.

Table tennis rackets should be cleaned after every match. (Image: Bubbers13/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Fill a small dish with room temperature distilled or bottled water. According to the International Table Tennis Federation's handbook, Section 3.02.04, each player is responsible for ensuring his racket is free from any harmful, volatile solvents. Because some table tennis rubber cleaning solutions include solvents, water is the safest method of legally cleaning your racket.

Step 2

Dip a small, fine sponge into the water. Squeeze it out so there is not an excessive amount of liquid going onto the racket. You want it just wet enough to pick up dust and dirt. Too much water can also seep into the wood of the racket if it is not properly lacquered and cause it to swell.

Step 3

Hold the racket by the handle with the head facing toward the floor. Beginning with one edge of the surface you can see, wipe the damp sponge from the base of the head to the top of the head in a straight line. The motion is similar to shaving and prevents dust from being spread around the rubber.

Step 4

Repeat the wiping motion until one surface is entirely cleaned, then turn the racket over in your hand and clean the opposite side. Rest the racket on the table or another relatively clean surface and allow it to dry completely before placing protective plastic covers on the rubber surfaces or returning it to a case.

Things You'll Need

  • Small bowl

  • Distilled water

  • Sponge

  • Dishwashing liquid


Add one or two drops of dishwashing liquid to your cleaning water to better remove oil from the racket's rubber surface.


If you use a commercial foaming or spray product at home, avoid breathing the fumes.

Chemical cleaners high in alcohol can dry and crack the rubber of a table tennis racket.

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