For table tennis players, keeping their "rubber," or racket, in optimal condition is essential for top game play. Maintaining the surface tackiness enables ball control and spin, however, that tacky surface picks up dirt, dust and oil every time you use the racket. Because of regulations against volatile compounds by the International Table Tennis Federation, how you clean your racket can affect your ability to compete. Cleaning your racket with a chemical-free method is safe and better for your racket in the long run.
Clean your racket surface between games with the breath and palm technique. Blow air across the surface of the racket, starting from the handle. Gently glide your palm down the surface to remove any dirt or dust. Keep a damp and dry cloth nearby to ensure your hands are clean before using this technique.
Wipe down your racket after every session before storing. Dip a lint-free cloth or sponge into water and wring out until just slightly damp. Too much water can cause warping. Hold your racket with the head facing down. Starting at the handle, gently wipe the sponge over the racket surface, brushing any debris off the end. Continue making these gentle strokes, from handle to end, all the way across the surface of the racket. Repeat on the other side. Allow the racket to air dry.
Place protective film sheets over the rubber surfaces once the racket is dry. For the best protection, place your racket in a secure racket case. Store your racket out of direct sunlight.
- For pimpled rubber, use a new clean toothbrush to gently brush away any debris.
- If your racket is exceptionally dirty or oily, mix a drop of mild dishwashing soap into the water before wetting the sponge. Wipe down the racket again with water to remove any soap residue.
- Racket cleaning solutions are available, however, check ingredients before using to ensure there are no volatile compounds, or VOCs. In 2008, the International Table Tennis Federation banned the use of VOCs in glue and other compounds and test rackets for VOC presence before competition.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.