Have you ever noticed how seriously table tennis players take care of their rackets?
The majority usually has a specialized bag to tote their rackets in and other equipment to maintain them. The reason for this is to preserve the rubber that they use. After playing for a while, the racket tends to collect dirt particles and grease.
In time, these particles will seriously affect the performance of your racket. You’ll start to notice less spin and control when this build-up occurs. The friction will be greatly reduced as well.
How Do You Clean Your Rubber Properly
Actually, there are many ways you can use to clean your rubber. Here are a few you can use:
Old-fashioned Water and Sponge
This method works the best. It’s not expensive at all and can be done even between matches! You can buy either a specialized sponge at your local sports store, or you can use a regular kitchen sponge.
All you have to do is dampen the sponge in water and wipe your racket clean. You can wipe the rubber’s surface gently and be sure to avoid scratching the rubber. Once this is done, you can just let it dry.
By keeping dust and moisture away from your rubber, it can also help to avoid oxidation.
Using Rubber Cleaning Solution
Many manufacturers, such as Butterfly and Stiga, offer sprays or foam in a can. If you want to look like a pro and not worry about cost, then this method will work for you. Otherwise, a damp sponge does the same thing.
If you are using a rubber cleaning solution, you can spray the solution on the rubber surface, then use a sponge to clean. It is preferable for you to use a soft sponge so that it won’t cause any scratch on the rubber.
The cleaning solution works well in dry weather, but the effect is not satisfactory in the hot and humid summer. In damp weather, it is difficult to wipe the rubber with a detergent, and the protective layer left on the rubber surface is also easy to absorb moisture, which can cause slippage of the ball when playing.
Using Soap or Detergents
If your racket is significantly dirty, or there is dirt that is difficult to remove with water, you can wash it with soap and other detergents. A drop or two of detergent will help. Just use a small amount with a damp sponge/rag. After cleaning, you can let it dry naturally and keep it in storage.
The absolute worse thing you can do to your racket is to wipe the rubber with your hand. Even though many of the top players do so, they are sponsored and can afford to “misuse” their racket as they are only going to use the same racket and rubber a few times. The rubber will attract the oil from your hand and cause it to smear all over, so avoid doing that if possible.
Table Tennis Rubber Maintenance
The biggest enemy of ping pong rubber is the sun and dust. Once the inner softer rubber is stained with dust or oil, the friction will be weakened. People who practice more must wipe off the dirt on the surface with a soft cloth dampened with water every two or three days.
Placing the rubber in a place with strong sunlight or near a stove with a high temperature, or in a heater or air-conditioning outlet that blows the strong wind, will also shorten its life.
Therefore, the rubber must be placed into the racket cover when it is not in use. You can cover the rubber surface with a protective film. Then put a wooden or plastic plate in the racket cover to minimize the impact of external forces on the racket. A stand-by rubber should be placed in a plastic bag to extend its service life.
After cleaning, paste the protective film. The protective film is very cheap. You can get one for about $2.There are 2 types of rubber which are viscous and astringent. So, there are also two types of protective film available to protect them.
The astringent rubber is not easy to maintain. If the viscous protective film is used, it will not function well because of its poor viscosity.
To get good protection, you will need to buy astringent protective film. The price is about $12. Since the astringent protective film itself is sticky, so when playing, you must put the astringent protective film in a safe place when you are playing table tennis. If you let it stained with dust, then the astringent protective film will not be able to provide good protection for your rubber anymore.
Also, make sure your rubber is dry before put on the protective film. Otherwise, it may lead to changes in rubber structure (especially tap water). Therefore, if you want the rubber to last longer, you should wait until the water is completely dry before attaching the protective film.
Beware of the weather
The maintenance of rubber has a lot to do with the weather. In winter, the temperature is low, and the elasticity of the rubber tends to be not that good; in summer or in areas with higher temperatures, the elasticity of the rubber is the best, and it has a strong tendency to friction, and the ball can get more spin.
In addition, when the humidity is high, there is moisture on the rubber, just like a layer of mist on a mirror, and the ball is easy to slip off the rubber at this time.
During the rainy season, it is especially necessary to remove the dirt from the rubber to avoid affecting the friction of the racket.
How long you can play with your rubber before it required a replacement?
It can vary from 3 days to 3 years, depending on the volume of practice. Most of the professional players will change the rubber 3 days to 1 week. But this is a situation where you practice 5 to 8 hours a day.
If you are an ordinary practitioner, normally you only need to change the rubber after using it for 3 months.