Tips and Tricks for Foosball / Table Soccer

How to Clean and Replace Foosball Bearings (Complete Guide)


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Most of us have tried at one point to play on a table where the rods felt dull and the bearings was scratching.

This article will discuss the cleaning and replacing of foosball bearings. Let’s first find out what foosball is? It is the game of table soccer where two or more players oppose each other. The players are plastic molded figures mounted onto rods. And here is the connection. These rods pass through round holes in the foosball cabinet which houses the bearings

Two Approaches for Cleaning Foosball Bearings

The cleaning of the bearings involves servicing the rods as well. These two processes cannot be separated. It is also the rods which are the parts of the game which provide the two options for approaching the cleaning of the rods. The rods may be left in their snug fit with the bearings, or they may be removed.

Without Removing the Rods

One of the approaches involves cleaning the bearings without removing the rods. It might be difficult to visualize how this can be achieved. Especially when noticing that the rods and bearings have a close fit in the holes in the sides of the playing cabinet.


During a game of foosball, the rods constantly move to pass the tight fitting bearings and brushers. This also provides a mechanism to get to the bearings. The secret is in using the action used during an exciting game of foosball.

  1. Move the rod until one of the handles is pressed tightly against the outside of the playing cabinet.
  2. Use a soft cloth to apply a cleaning agent such as alcohol to the rod at the end with the squeezed handle. 
  3. Ensure that the rod is cleaned thoroughly.
  4. Apply a lubricant to the same end of the rod.
  5. Spin the rod rapidly while pushing the lubricated end through the bearing contact area.
  6. Repeat this action quite a few times.

Repeat this procedure for the other end of the rod. Followup by giving each of the rods precisely the same treatment. 

The result is that the bearings at that end of the rod will be thoroughly cleaned and lubricated. A well-lubricated rod/bearing contact area decreases the friction, allowing that the rod can pass through this area at lightning speed.

Cleaning With Paper

Paper may also be used as a method of removing excess grease and dirt from the bearings. This is a method which definitely works, but must be done with the utmost care. Only use this method if you are really sure about what you are doing.

  1. Place a suitable, clean sheet of paper close to the rod/bearing interface.
  2. Make sure that one of the points of the paper is inserted lightly into the area where the rod and the bearing slide over each other.
  3. Rotate the rod slowly in both directions a few times.
  4. Move the rod slowly horizontally so that the paper moves further into the rod/bearing interface area.
  5. Now move the rod in the opposite area, guiding and freeing the paper.
  6. The paper will be filled with grease and grime from the bearings.

A danger of using this method is that the paper could easily become stuck and break off between the rod and the bearing. This can cause the mechanism to jam and could even damage the parts. Definitely a job for an expert and not an amateur trying their luck. A mistake can be a costly one.

Cleaning By Removing the Rods

The second way of treating the bearings and brushes is by removing the rods. It is also a stress-free routine to follow and gives excellent results. All that you need to do is to follow the steps below.

  1. Loosen the screw which connects the handle to the rod.
  2. Remove the handle by merely sliding it off the rod-end.
  3. Pull the rod through until it rests on the inner floor of the foosball table.
  4. Use a 7/8” spanner to loosen the bearing/brusher sleeve from its fitting.
  5. The bearing can be snapped out of its position.

The bearing is freed from its mounting, and you can go to work and carry out the cleaning process. Once again use a good lubricant. Secondly, the amount of strain the bearings are subjected to differ from where they are located in their seat. Rotating the bearing position by 180° also allows more natural movement of the rods through the holes in the foosball cabinet.

If you are in the market for an overall repair, this is also the perfect opportunity to replace the bearings with new bearings. Make sure that they are replaced with the same brand and size where possible. This will make ensure an increased lifespan for the game. In this manner, many more exciting foosball playing hours are guaranteed.

Rotating the bearings

While having the bearings removed, another opportunity is on offer. Also the cleaning it is also the perfect time to rotate the bearings. This makes absolute sense as the wear and tear on bearings depends on where on the playing field they are located. New bearings will induce new lifeblood into your foosball experience.

It has been shown that bearings interacting with the rods furthest from their scoring posts have the least wear and tear. While those closest to their scoring posts have the most wear and tear. Cleaning followed by rotation can also increase the lifespan on the game. Wrong placement of a bearing can negatively impact on the lifespan of the foosball bearings, irrespective if it were cleaned or not.

To do this effectively and increase the lifespan of the bearings, you will need to be knowledgeable of which bearings need to be moved and to which location. This is very important, and if you are not sure, then get some expert advice.

An incorrect rotation could have the opposite effect. Instead of increasing the lifespan, you could actually affect the lifespan of the bearings negatively. Plan the rotation carefully and know exactly the origin of each bearing, and the exact end location for maximum benefit.

Different types of lubricants

There are many trains of thought around whether to lubricate or not. When lubrication is the chosen way to go, the next ultimate is, which one. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Choose the one that you are the most comfortable with and always be aware of the pros and cons of each. Also, I know the manufacturer’s instructions. Specific treatments might not be compatible with the type of game you might have. 


Silicone is a well-known lubricant used in many areas of engineering. What makes it unique it comes in a lube which increases its ease of application. Once applied, to two opposing surfaces, it is left to dry. The surfaces are able to slide past each other with ease. A definite positive for reducing the friction between the rod and the bearing. If done correctly, it is a solution which can be useful for many years.

Teflon Oil

Teflon oil is often used in pots and pans as a non-stick coating. The same benefits are experienced when used as a lubricant for treating foosball bearings and rods. Once the oil has been given to dry completely, an almost permanent nonstick layer is produced, reducing the friction between the parts significantly. Freeing up the rod so that it can do what it has been designed for.

Dangers of using fluid lubricants

Lubrication of foosball bearings is vital for increasing the ultimate playing experience. It is also important to take extreme care when servicing the bearings and brushes. Especially if the lubricant used has a low viscosity and can flow easily.

You want a solution that is easy to apply. The more fluid the lubricant, the easier it is to apply it the surfaces being treated. Too much of the substance can easily leak and land on the playing surface. Something you do not want.

The lubricant on the playing surface is not always easy to clean. Great care must be taken when the type of cleaner is chosen. Many cleaners have an extremely corrosive action when can damage the playing surface.

A damaged playing surface can influence the movement and direction of the ball after being struck by a player. This can have a great impact on the result of an exciting, close fought game. 

Leaving the lubricant to dry can result in an uneven playing surface. Rough playing surface can cause the ball to be diverted from its intended patch. This impacts on your ability to score goals and beat the opposition.

Why is it Necessary to Keep the Foosball Bearings Clean?

Keeping the foosball bearings clean and lubricated holds multifaceted advantages.

  1. The lifespan of the game is increased.
    • You will be able to enjoy many more playing hours out of the game.
  2. The gaming experience is heightened.
    • The pace at which the game is played will always be blazing.
  3. Friction between rods and bearings are always minimized.
    • Makes it possible to move the rods rapidly to change the position of the players.
    • It facilitates the speed of the rotation, making it possible to strike that ball with a great force.
  4. Clean Bearings Increase the Foosball Experience

Foosball is a game of skill where the positioning of the players depends on the speed with which the rod moves horizontally. To be able to strike the ball so that it travels quickly across the playing surface, it is essential that the person is able to rotate the rod swiftly. This quick movement will give the player maximum lift, increase the force with which the molded plastic player is able to strike the ball.

All of these factors together allows rapid movement of all of the movable parts of the foosball arena. Players with a high level of skill will be able to compete in a high paced and exciting environment. All of this is possible by having the ability to change player position quickly and by striking the ball at high pace.

As with the larger game of soccer, foosball also involves moments where the molded plastic figures engage in fierce tackling. This includes the very rapid and sharp horizontal movement of the rods to position their players. Rotation is used to get the ball past the opposition. This is only possible when the rods and bearing are able to slide past each other with ease. Reduced friction means clean, lubricated foosball bearings.

First Signs that the Bearings Require Attention

Foosball is a game of skill, and the players need to be able to change the positions of the team members with ease. The game has no mechanical or electronic interference. This means that the reaction speed of the players and their physical strength is required to make it an exciting game to watch.

Players expect to be able to move the rods rapidly back and forth quickly. Also, the rotation speed is essential. Both of these crucial aspects of the game of foosball depends on the friction between the rods and the bearings. For optimal performance, the surfaces of these two elements must be able to slip past each other with ease.

As soon as horizontal movement of the rods become difficult and rotation requires a lot of physical effort, something is gravely wrong. The nature in which the mechanisms of playing the game has been created and put together immediately points to s problem with the bearing/brush unit.

There are clearly two things that need to be done. Either clean or replace the bearings. Once done, the reaction time and the fire will be back.

Last Words

In this article, some interesting facts about the importance of the condition of the bearings and their interaction with the rods have been highlighted. What is evident is that the bearings and brushes must be kept in top-notch at all times. If not, then your foosball experience will be dull and boring. Give it new life by looking after the bearings. Either clean or replace. 

What Should I Do If My Foosball Bearings Need to be Cleaned or Replaced?

If you are experiencing troubleshoot foosball bearings issues, it may be time to clean or replace them. To clean, remove the bearings and wipe them with a clean cloth. For replacement, purchase new bearings and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation. Regular maintenance will keep your foosball table in top condition.

Fixing your Foosball Rods

When you a fixing you bearings you might as well check to see if your rods are well lubricated and working. I have created this article on how to lubricate your rods. You should take a look at it.

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