Last updated on September 16, 2017
If you want to take your dart game to the next level, learning how to clean your darts is an important part of time. As you play over time, dirt, grime, food and even your own body oil build up on your darts. This is not only gross, but it’s bad for your game, because it causes you to lose that awesome grip a good set of darts naturally has. The good news is, cleaning darts is fairly easy to do, and you’ll notice an immediate improvement in grip and performance once the task is completed.
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The part of your dart you want to clean is the barrel, which is the part that you grip to throw darts. Breakdown your darts to be cleaned by unscrewing the barrel from the other components. You’re also going to want a nonabrasive towel and a soft, old toothbrush.
Before going further, it’s important to note there are a few different methods of cleaning up darts. One of the more popular is using whitening toothpaste. While the results look great to the naked eye, it’s important to remember that whitening toothpaste is abrasive. This is why dentists often don’t recommend it for people with weak teeth or porous veneers; the abrasive particles in the strong whitening toothpaste can erode teeth.
Of course, it can be argued that the barrel of your standard dart is a lot stronger than human teeth, and that’s a fair point. But a good-quality set of darts is going to have a very finely-crafted grip on the barrel that is designed to give you the best quality grip while playing the game. In my opinion, that should not be messed with in any way. Some people may say that abrasion is a good thing, because it will enhance grip, but, again, your dart barrel is designed the way it is for a reason, and I would caution against doing anything that could mess with the integrity of the barrel, because while microabrasions may look invisible to human eyes, they also invite in rust and other things you simply don’t want to happen to your darts.
Bottom line: Go with the least abrasive method possible to get the job done. If you only need a light clean, go with a less rigorous cleaning option. It’ll prolong the life of your darts.
How to clean darts
Eliminating the whitening toothpaste method, there are three popular ways to clean darts. Here is a breakdown of how to perform each:
Method #1: Warm water and toothbrush for light cleaning
This is the easiest method for cleaning darts and is ideal for maintenance cleaning when your darts aren’t that grimy.
Let your faucet (or tap) run on low pressure until the water becomes slightly warm but not hot. Scrub your dart barrels with a soft-bristled toothbrush until the surface is smooth, clean and polished. Dry thoroughly with a nonabrasive towel to prevent rust and corrosion.
Method #2: Metal polish for deep cleaning
Using metal polish is a good way to get a deeper clean than warm water and scrubbing can provide, but without the abrasive properties of whitening toothpaste. Some darts fans have their favorite brands of metal polish, but ideally, the one you want to use is going to be nonabrasive and gentle enough to be used on softer metals like gold jewelry and heirloom silverware.
Apply a thin, thorough coating of metal polish, using your trusty toothbrush to get it inside the grooves up the barrel grips. Unless the polish’s instructions say otherwise (this can vary, depending on strength, so read them), let sit a minute or so. Scrub with your toothbrush to remove any stubborn debris. Wash clean and dry thoroughly.
Method #3: Ultrasonic cleaners for removing tough grime and oil buildup
Ultrasonic cleaners are definitely the most robust way to go when it comes to cleaning darts, because not only do they remove the large debris you can see with your eyes, but also invisible stuff like oil and germs. Opt for an ultrasonic cleaner designed to clean things like jewelry. Industrial grade ultrasonic cleaners should be avoided unless it’s one you already own and you know how to operate it without ruining your dart barrels.
For this method, simply follow the cleaning instructions on your ultrasonic cleaner. Be sure to visibly inspect your barrels after completion to ensure buildup is completely removed. (It likely will be, but it’s good to check.) Dry off barrels with a soft towel to prevent corrosion.
Along with learning how to clean a dart board, cleaning your dart barrels is probably the biggest maintenance you’re going to need to do for darting. Some view it as a chore, but the benefits to your overall game are so tremendous, it’s a key aspect of becoming a good dart player.