Nobody counted all tennis courts around the world. I do not dare to guess the number of courts worldwide, but I dare to say there are more hard surface tennis courts than clay tennis courts. There are more tournaments played on a hard surface than clay surface at the professional level (38 tournaments on hard courts (23 outdoor + 15 indoor) versus 20 tournaments played on clay and 8 tournaments played on grass – check ATP 2019 Tournament Schedule). One common mistake is to think that tennis hard courts do not need maintenance. That is absolutely wrong. Of course, they do not need as much maintenance and caring as clay courts (or grass courts) but still, you need to care. Cleaning and maintaining hard courts is not so time-consuming and it can prolong court life. Let me share some tips and tricks to keep your hardcourt clean and sharp.
What causes the dirt on courts?
There are few sources of dirt on hard courts. Most dirt comes from the balls. Balls let marks on the surface and also there are small pieces of fabric left in the air after hits. The fuzz from balls is usually staying on the court or sticking to the outsoles of the shoes. The shoes are the other potential source of dirt. Not everybody is changing shoes before stepping on the court. Some people are even using the same shoes from clay courts on hard courts (check why it is a really bad idea to have the same shoes for clay and hard here in our tennis shoes guide). Outdoor courts are impacted by dust or leaves from trees during the autumn.
All in all, you can not expect that your hard tennis court will stay clean and in good shape forever. Regular cleaning is a must.
Tennis Hard Court Cleaning
Sweep with brooms
The good thing about hard courts is you do not need to clean and sweep (and water) the court after every match (or even more often if it is really hot and sunny). However, you still need to use the broom from time to time. You need to sweep the dust, fuzz, and leaves depending on the amount of dirt on the court. Though the broom will not clean the marks on the court and you need to use something stronger – Tennis Court Cleaning Machine.
Tennis Court Cleaning Machines
Owners of one court usually do not invest much in cleaning and maintenance. The home vacuum cleaner (wash & dry) is all they use for cleaning the court once a year. However, if you run a small tennis club (that means you have more than one court) you need a better solution. The Tennis court has approximately 195 square meters plus an area on the sides. It is a day job with a home vacuum cleaner and you need an extra-long cord. Therefore you need a professional solution for cleaning up one or more tennis courts. An industrial cleaning machine or scrubber for indoor and outdoor use should be your choice. The cleaning will be easier and faster. You should clean the court at least twice during the season (before the summer season starts and after it ends) but you can do it more often depending on the amount of dirt and marks on the court.
Tennis Hard Court Cleaning Machines Features
What should you consider before investing in the tennis court cleaning machine? What are the most important features? Here is my list of what I think is important.
Wash & Dry
I recommend using the Wash & Dry Cleaning Machine or Scrubber. Wash & Dry Vacuum Cleaner picks up not just the dirt but also liquid. Industrial cleaning machines have two tanks. One is for clean water (or water and chemical foam mix) and the second (recovery tank) is for dirty water sucked from the floor. Tennis Hard Court Cleaning Machines are using water (or foam) to clean the court and vacuum will dry up the court immediately. Therefore you do not need to wait for courts to dry up as the cleaning machine dries them.
The brush length is usually 17 or 18 inches (43 to 45 cm). I prefer a longer brush as it saves time. With a longer brush, you will be able to clean the court faster. You will clean the same area in fewer steps with a longer brush.
You can find also cleaning machines with a much longer brush range (28 inches). However, they are in a higher price range.
The structure of brushes will impact the cleaning ability of the machine. You should pick the brush types depending on the “hardness factor” of your court. Solid concrete courts need stronger brushes, the softer (flex) courts need lighter brushes.
You can choose between one or two brush pads. I, personally, prefer two brush pads.
The weight of the cleaning machine is important too. The lighter machines are more suitable if the cleaning machines will be operated by women or children. However, even a grown man can appreciate a lighter machine. Better cleaning machines usually have powered wheels so you do not need to push strong to move the machine on the court.
Electric versus Battery
Electric cleaning machines require a long enough cord. Moreover, you need to have sockets near to the courts you want to clean. That can be a problem at outdoor courts. Therefore I prefer battery-operated cleaning machines. Usually, battery cleaning machines can stay up for 2 to 3 hours of work. The recharging of batteries lasts twice as long as its operation times.
Walk-behind versus Sit & Ride
This feature is all about comfort. The Sit & Ride Machines are much comfortable and I would recommend them for bigger tennis clubs. They are also faster and you will be able to clean more courts at the same time. However, they are much more expensive than Walk-behind machines.
Best Tennis Hard Court Cleaning Machines
Viper Cord/Electric Scrubber
Powr-Flite Automatic Scrubber
IPC Eagle Automatic Floor Scrubber
IPC Eagle: Genius Rider Sweeper