How to Remove Marker Stains from Pool Table Felt


Theresa asked: How do I remove marker stains from pool table felt? My son drew on my pool table. It was with children’s markers, not Sharpies or permanent marker. I have not tried anything yet to remove the markings so as not to make it worse. What is the best way to remove this?

The best thing to do with ink marks on your pool table felt is to learn to live with it, because almost anything you do to your felt is likely to damage or weaken it. A simple mark isn’t likely to affect the roll of a ball in play, but a change in the surface texture of the felt after a cleaning just might. If you’d like to try to get the marker off the playing surface, however, you can use one of the methods below.

Removing Washable Marker Stains

If the marker isn’t permanent, this method may remove the stain – or enough of it so it’s not obvious.

You Will Need:

  • Clean white cloth
  • Water

Steps to Remove the Stain:

  1. Lightly dampen the cloth. Do NOT soak it. Excess moisture on the felt may cause shrinkage or water spots as it dries.
  2. Pat or dab the cloth against the marker. Do NOT scrub or you will change the texture of the felt, which will in turn change the way balls roll across it.
  3. After dabbing the marker a couple of times, check the white cloth to see if any ink has come up. If it has, continue to dab at it. Turn the cloth frequently so you won’t transfer removed ink back to the felt.
  4. If it does not make a difference, you can press harder, but do not scrub. Most washable markers will come up with this method even if it takes a while.

Removing Non-Washable Marker Stains

It’s best to spot test this method before you try it on your pool table. If possible, experiment on a piece of loose felt first so you can see if the fabric is weakened or damaged. If not, try a hidden spot on the table or a spot that won’t affect play such as the underside of one of the bumpers. In any case, moderation is the key.

You Will Need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs

Steps to Remove the Ink:

  1. Soak one end of a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and dab it on the ink mark several times. Do NOT rub the ink with the swab.
  2. Check the spot of contact on the swab to see if any of the ink came up. If it doesn’t appear to be working, you might want to stop so you don’t damage the cloth.
  3. If you see an improvement or that some of the ink has transferred to the swab, repeat the process with a clean tip.
  4. Continue until the stain has been removed.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Do NOT soak the felt with water, rubbing alcohol or any other substance. As the felt dries, it will likely shrink and ruin the field of play.
  • Do NOT rub or scrub at the felt. This will change the texture and stretch the felt.
  • If the felt is dusty, dirty or coated with chalk, do a general cleaning with a specialty cleaner before you tackle the ink. If you get it wet under those circumstances, you could end up with a small spot of muck that will not dry properly.
  • When in doubt, call in a professional. They can dry clean the fabric for you on site.

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