How to Clean a Pool Cue Shaft

A dirty pool cue won’t slide through your fingers as well as it once did. This becomes distracting and negatively affects your game.

The solution? Learn how to clean it safely to bring it back to its original condition. 

Here’s how to clean your pool cue shaft.

3-Step Pool Cue Shaft Cleaning Procedure

  1. Clean the shaft with alcohol wipes or liquid cleaner
  2. Sand and smooth the cue shaft
  3. Wax your cue shaft

Gather Your Cue-Cleaning Tools

You’ll need the following tools to do the job correctly. 

  • Microfiber cloth: Use it to eliminate dirt and grime buildup.
  • Liquid cleaner or alcohol-based wipes: These tools break down and clean away chalk and oils on your cue’s shaft. 
  • Paper towels: Use them to polish in wax.
  • Cue cleaner and burnisher: Helps restore your cue’s smoothness.
  • Wax: Use a quality shaft wax to layer in extra protection.

Start the Cleaning Process

Begin by wiping down the entire cue shaft with one of your alcohol wipes. Use a twisting motion as you move up and down the shaft’s length. 

You must work out all the dirt, grime, and oil during this initial deep cleaning step. 

You’ll probably notice a greenish residue on the wipes. You’re seeing the oil and dirt residue buildup coming off the cue shaft.

Use multiple alcohol wipes until you’re sure that all the chalk, oil, dirt, and grime are gone. Pay attention to every inch of the cue during this step so you don’t miss anything. 

If you don’t have alcohol wipes, then use a quality liquid cleaner instead. 

Dowse your cloth or a paper towel with the liquid cleaner. Don’t wet it too much. Simply get it damp enough to effectively clean off the oils and chalk from your cue’s shaft.

Grab another paper towel or cloth if the first one becomes dirty. 

Complete this step once you no longer see any residue building up on your cloth, paper towel, or alcohol wipe.

Sand and Smooth Your Cue Shaft

It’s time to sand and burnish the cue shaft after you’re convinced that it’s completely clean. 

Do a little research to find the various cue cleaners and burnishers on the market. Order a few of them so that you can discover your favorite. 

Many people recommend ordering these products online, but you’ll never know which one you prefer unless you try a few firsthand. 

Using the rougher side of the burnisher first, run the cleaning pad up and down the cue shaft several times. 

This process continues to remove any remaining chalk, grime, or dirt that your cleaning from the first step may have left behind. It also works to start smoothing out your cue’s surface again.

Next, turn the burnisher around and repeat the process with its smoother side. Now you’ll start to notice that your cue shaft becomes smooth again. 

A quick tip: Keep your cue cleaner and burnisher by your side at all times while playing pool. 

Your cue shaft gets dirty and sticky as soon as you start playing again. Grab the cleaning pad and smooth up that shaft every so often during each game.

Most burnisher pads simply need a bit of water to freshen them up. Use that method to use them multiple times. 

Wax Your Cue Shaft

Grab the wax next. It’s time to apply it to your shaft and give the cue a protective layer that leaves it looking smooth, shiny, and brand new.

Just like our advice above, buy a couple of different waxes until you find the one you like best. 

Coat the wax on a paper towel. Don’t plunge the paper towel into the wax so hard that it becomes a gunky mess, however. You need just enough to apply a nice coating to the cue. 

Move the waxed paper towel up and down the cue shaft. Give the shaft a nice twist and turn motion as you work in the wax. Make sure to apply a nice, even coat of wax.

Take your time and cover the entire length of the cue shaft. Don’t miss any parts or else you’ll negatively impact the way the stick feels in your hands during the next game.

After completing this step, set the waxy paper towel aside. Use a new, dry paper towel to remove excess wax from your cue. Run the paper towel over the cue’s length several times. 

There you have it! Your dirty, grimy, and oily cue shaft is now clean and properly protected for a new game. You’ll notice a big difference as you continue to play with the newly waxed cue stick. 

Keep in mind that your cue will become dirty again. You need to keep this type of maintenance up regularly. 

How often should you clean your cue shaft? It depends on how often you play. You’ll intuitively know when to clean it again based on how it feels after playing a few games.

Use a Conditioner Agent

A further action you might take after a full cleaning is applying a conditioner. 

Cue Silk Bundle of 2 items: Sil Kleen Pool Cue Shaft and Ferrule Cleaner 1 oz Bottle & Cue Silk Pool Cue Shaft Conditioner ¼ oz Bottle

A quality conditioner settles into the wood’s pores. It then works to treat the wood. This action prevents chalk, oil, and dirt from sticking to the shaft as easily. 

You should notice that your cue shaft remains slicker and cleaner for an extended time. 

Using a paper towel or microfiber cloth, apply a bit of conditioner and rub it into the cue shaft. 

Don’t use too much conditioner. Let it sit on the wood for about 15 minutes. Then, wipe it down with a clean cloth.

This type of care should help extend your cue shaft’s longevity while making it easier to use during your next several games.

How to Keep Your Pool Cue Clean While Playing 

Wouldn’t you like to avoid the need to go through the cleaning process as often?

You can take proactive measures while playing to keep dirt, chalk dust, and oil from accumulating on your pool cue.

Always wash your hands before grabbing your cue shaft. You can effectively break down hand oils by using hot water and soap. 

Everyone loves having a drink or three while playing pool. However, holding your drink with your bridge hand contributes to a dirty and grimy cue shaft. 

The moisture from the glass transfers from your hand to the cue. Avoid holding drinks in your bridge hand or do your best to dry it off before playing. 

Continuously remove excess chalk and dirt from the cue shaft with your cue cleaner and burnisher. Work up and down the shaft as you wait your turn. 

Another nice tip is keeping the butt clean. Many players fail to keep the butt clean and end up transferring oil and dirt from it to the shaft. 


It’s one thing to learn these cleaning tips. It’s another thing entirely to create the habit of cleaning your cue shaft often enough. 

However, just like finding any skill advantage, it’s the little things like this that help you win games. 

Consider that a steady cleaning process keeps your cue in its best working condition. 

Think about the players you’re playing against. Do they regularly clean their pool sticks? It’s highly unlikely that they pay attention to this procedure. 

If you do, then you’ve gained an important edge over the competition.

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