Is It Bad to Leave Darts in a Dartboard?

Do you leave your darts in the dartboard?

Well, I used to do it all the time. Never really gave it a second thought. After all, dartboards are designed to accommodate darts, right?

Well, I have been doing it for years, and I have never seen anything bad happen to my dartboards.

So this begs the question, could there actually be something more to it. And just because I haven’t experienced any problems does that mean leaving the darts in the board is not a bad thing?

So is it bad to leave darts in a dartboard? It is bad to leave darts in the dartboard. Although leaving darts in a dartboard for a short time may not damage it doing so for long periods of time can be bad for the dartboard. Leaving darts in the dartboard can cause localized drying, fiber deformations, or introduce moisture.

If you are interested in finding out more, continue reading below. I have more information for you.

darts in a dartboard

Is It Bad to Leave Darts in a Steel-Tip Dartboard?

An example of a dart left in a steel-tip (bristle) dartboard.

To see the whole picture, we need to take a quick look at how steel tip dartboards are made.

Steel tip dartboards are made from tightly compacted sisal fibers. Not all sisal fibers are of the same quality and durability. This can easily be observed when comparing cheap to a more expensive dartboard. The latter is just way more long-lasting, more tightly compacted, and the self-healing time is noticeably quicker and of better quality.

Sisal fibers are collected and cleaned. Then they are braided into very long skeins that are wrapped tightly and cut into small round buns.

Several buns are taken and packed together into a ring—as you probably already guessed it, yes, that ring will become a dartboard. The sisal buns are then glued to the wooden base of the dartboard. This is why many dartboards have cracks.

How tightly compacted the sisal fibers are is important as this aspect of a dartboard will determine how often you get bounce-outs.

Very loosely packed fibers will not be able to keep the darts stuck in them, and very tightly packed dartboards may be a hard surface that the dart will not be able to penetrate.

Not all steel tip (bristle) dartboards are created equal. The bristle fibers, the built quality, and the level of compression of the fibers will all play an important role here.

Each time a dart hits the dartboard, it will push the sisal fibers away, and when you take it out, the fibers will go back.

Sisal fibers have the unique quality to self-heal and close with time, especially with more frequent play—although, I understand, that feels very counter-intuitive.

Leaving darts in the dartboard for long periods of time may push out and spread the sisal fibers and not let them settle back in their original place.

This can potentially affect the self-healing quality and time.

A hole created by a dart that has been left to stay in the dartboard for several days or weeks may take a lot longer to fully heal—if at all—than a hole from a dart that has been left in the board for less than a day.

But since there are dartboards of varying quality, the self-healing speed and level also does vary greatly.

I have talked before about self-healing dartboards and the quality matters. A high-quality dartboard that has good self-healing capabilities will not be affected significantly by darts that have been left in it for a while.

While in comparison, the negative effect of leaving a dart in a lower-quality dartboard may be a lot more severe.

As a side effect of the unnatural spread of the sisal fibers, there is a possibility that the dartboard will dry in the areas where the darts have been left in it. The reason for that is that the dart holes may not heal effectively.

Alternatively, this may introduce more humidity deeper in the dartboard, which could lead to deformation and bulging.

Is It Bad to Leave Darts in a Soft Tip Dartboard?

An example of a dart left in a soft-tip dartboard.

So far, I have been talking about steel tip dartboards. And there are a few more things that I feel like are worth taking a look at.

Not all of us play on steel tip dartboards, so what about soft tip dartboards?

A soft tip dartboard already has a lot of holes, so is leaving your darts in it going to do any damage? These boards are made from soft plastic that will expand to accommodate the dart and return to normal when the dart has been removed.

In theory leaving a soft tip dart in a soft tip dartboard is highly unlikely to do anything bad to it. However, I would still suggest against doing so.

Is It Bad to Leave Darts in a Paper Dartboard?

An example of a dart left in a paper dartboard.

Paper wound dartboards do not have self-healing capabilities. So you can expect the dart holes to remain present and visible.

In other words, when you remove your darts from a paper dartboard, the holes will not really disappear.

Still, it is not recommended to leave the darts in the dartboard. If you leave the darts, this can cause the dartboard to dry out quicker and for the holes to be a lot bigger.

Where Should You Leave Your Darts?

Leaving your darts in the dartboard may seem like a neat and seamless way to “store” your darts, especially as you will not have to worry about removing the dart flights.

But this can do more harm than good. It is best to take the darts out and leave them somewhere near the dartboard.

When you are out and about, it is best to store the darts inside a dart case. Dart cases offer plenty of space and, most importantly, protection, allowing to keep things packed nice and tidy. For more information check out my article on the best dart cases.

Alternatively, you can use something like the Unicorn dartsak on Amazon, which offers enough space and pockets to keep your darts packed nice and tightly.

When you are at home, you can continue storing your darts in a dart case, but there are also some other alternatives like this hardware and craft storage cabinet on Amazon. It offers plenty of individual storage space where you can keep everything that you need like stems, darts, tridents, flights and flight protectors, shafts, tip removers, o-rings, maintenance tools, and so much more.

Depending on how much space you have at your disposal, you can store your darts and accessories in a dressing drawer too.

What to Do If You Have to Leave Your Darts in the Dartboard?

There are many different ways to store your darts, but if you absolutely, positively have to leave your darts in the dartboard, then try to leave them outside the scoring areas—the black part of the dartboard beyond the double.

That way, even if the darts negatively affect your dartboard, it will not be in the scoring areas where the important parts of the dartboard are.

I have been doing it very often in the past.

But what I have realized is that I also played darts very often, meaning the darts never stayed stuck in the dartboard for too long, and well, I was not leaving them stuck in the dartboard all the time.

Additionally, if you have to leave your darts in the dartboard, make sure it will be for a short amount of time—like 1 to no more than 3 days in total. Leaving your darts in the dartboard for any longer than 2 to 3 days is not a good idea as it can cause localized drying and sisal deformations.

Leaving the darts in the dartboard is not necessarily bad, but neither is it good. It is also very unlikely that it will affect the life of your dartboard.

Conversely, although highly unlikely, leaving darts in the dartboard may lead to worse self-healing, drying up, or bulging.

And although I was leaving my darts in the dartboard a long time ago, I do not do it today as I try to give my darts and dartboard the care and attention they deserve.

Leaving the darts in the dartboard can be considered by many dart players as bad manners too.

What to Do If You Have Left Your Darts in the Dartboard?

As I have already mentioned, it is very unlikely something bad to happen to your dartboard by leaving your darts in it—as long as this is done short-term, of course.

But is there anything that you should do if you happened to leave your darts stuck in the board for a really long period of time.

  • Well, first, make sure to remove the darts.
  • Play a few games to kind of wake up the fibers again.
  • And just make sure to rotate your dartboard as often as possible.

Keep in mind that some of the holes where the darts were may take a really long time to heal. And there is always the possibility that they may never fully heal.

Do not use water to soften the fibers in the areas where the darts were left. Dartboards and moisture do not mix well, and this can do more damage than good.

Mike Stephenson

Mike Stephenson Hello, darts enthusiasts! My name is Mike, and I am the person behind I enjoy playing darts with my mates and generally having a good time. Here I share everything that I learn about darts.

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