–Do you have a dedicated dart case where you keep your darts and accessories when you’re not playing?
I ask this for a very specific reason and it’s not to check whether or not you’re an organized person or if you have the latest, all compartment darts case but rather if you are not keeping your darts in a case, chances are you are leaving them stuck in the board.
If this is something you’ve noticed that you do, then you might be wondering is it bad to leave darts in a dartboard and whether or not it will damage it?
Yes, it is bad to leave darts in a dartboard and they will damage the board over longer periods of time. The darts will separate the fibers, make it easier for the board to dry out, and create potential holes and bumps as a result. You should always place your darts away safely when not in use.
It might seem like an innocent act of just leaving your darts in the dartboard when you are not using them but your darts and dartboard are something that you need to look after carefully in order to get years of good quality use from them.
In this article, I’ll cover why you shouldn’t leave your darts in the dartboard, what damage it could be causing, and where you should instead keep your darts.
Is It Bad to Leave Darts in a Dartboard
Bad is a bit of a strong word but I wouldn’t recommend leaving your darts in the dartboard when you are not playing. It might seem like a normal thing to do for casual players who just have an occasional throw after work or at the weekends but leaving your darts in the dartboard can actually be damaging to the board.
The most important thing to take into consideration is the quality of your dartboard for starters. If you’ve got a top-quality dartboard like a Winmau Blade 5 or a Winmau Pro SFB (my board of choice and personal recommendation) then the chance of damage is lower, but it is still there.
The reason for this is that a sisal (bristle) fiber dartboard will expand and separate when the dart enters the board but on removal, sisal fibers have excellent self-healing properties which allow the fibers to “bounce back” to their original position.
This self-healing process is one of the key reasons why a good quality dartboard is essential, the better the board can revert back to its original state after removing darts, the longer your board will last. If you get a cheap bristle board or paper board, the longevity of the board is significantly shorter.
In 2020 I was renting an apartment and couldn’t fix a dartboard anywhere so purchased a cheap paper Unicorn board that I could hang on a tac, within a month the board was destroyed and full of holes because the board could not repair itself once a dart made contact with the surface.
While the top-quality boards are good, leaving your darts in the board when you are not using them will damage even the best boards.
The longer a dart stays in the board keeping the fibers separate, the less likely they are to be able to self-heal and over time, you’ll find that your board will develop holes and start to dry out much quicker.
For this reason alone, I’d strongly recommend against leaving darts stuck in a board because it will cause unnecessary damage that will reduce the lifespan of your board.
If you do need to leave your dartboard in the board for any reason, then I’d advise that you follow these two rules when doing so:
- Do not leave your darts in one place for more than 3-5 days. This will depend on where you keep your dartboard (humidity, sunlight, etc..) but any longer than this and you will likely start to see damage to your board. It will be minimal but repeat this enough times and you’ll really start to damage your board unnecessarily.
- If you do leave them in the board, then at least place them in the black area outside of the scoring zone because any damage caused here will be less noticeable and will not affect your playing area. Do not leave your darts stuck in the treble 20, I see this happen a lot simply because it looks good but this is quickly ruining the number that you most likely throw for and it can easily be avoided.
Can You Leave Soft Tip Darts in a Dartboard
The one exception I would say for leaving your darts in a dartboard is if you are using soft tip darts. An electronic dartboard is made from plastic holes that expand upon contact with a dart.
As soon as you remove the dart though, these holes will revert back to their previous condition regardless of how long the dart has been in the board. While sisal fibers on a bristle board have a good ability to bounce back to their original state, this capability is limited.
With a soft tip dartboard, however, the board will almost always revert back to normal so I don’t see any issue with leaving your darts in the board in this instance.
Why Should You Keep Darts in a Case
I mentioned this at the start but when you are not using your darts, you should be keeping them safely and securely in a case, preferably in a point protector. This may seem like overkill at first but there are actually a few legitimate reasons why you should do this and not keep them left loose or in the dartboard.
Safety – This one is the more debatable reason but if you have young children in your house, keeping them out of sight and out of reach is an important safety aspect. This is just a very specific reason but one that’s worth pointing out first.
Dart condition – I’ve covered the dartboard in some detail but leaving your darts out and loose can lead to blunting of the point. Darts is a game of fine margins and you don’t want blunt points that could result in bounce outs in big game moments.
You might think I’m being a bit too fussy here but one lost dart in a leg could cost you the game. I highly doubt anyone reading this is at such a good standard that you can afford to just give up a dart because you’ve not put them away after use and kept the point in good condition.
Linked to this is the fact that sharp points can damage the board when left in as they will penetrate the fibers much better and leave them more susceptible to damage. My points, for example, are grooved and I wouldn’t want to leave them in the board too long for a chance of ripping some of the fibers out when I finally do remove them.
I’ve tried not to be too drastic in this article because leaving your darts in the dartboard from time to time is really not the end of the world. The damage will likely be minimal and as long as you are giving your dartboard regular maintenance and care, it should be fine.
Leaving your darts in the board regularly and for long periods of time can, however, end up being quite damaging to your board as it will dry it out faster, cause fiber separation leading to holes and bumps, and reduce the self-healing ability of your board.
If you do leave your darts in the board, either do so in a soft time board or for a bristle board, make sure you place them in the black outside section of the board so that any damage will not affect the scoring area.