How to Clean Bowling Balls Properly

Constant maintenance is imperative to increase the longevity of your bowling ball. This article will show you exactly how the ball should be maintained and will provide readers with a plethora of methods from which they can choose!

Why should you clean your bowling balls regularly?

Most modern bowling balls consist of three parts: i)The Filler Material ii) The Coverstock and a iii) Core. The coverstock is the outermost layer of a bowling ball and is the part that is visible to us. This is said to be the most important component of the ball when it come to performance. Ergo, if the coverstock is compromised the bowling ball will start to underperform. The coverstock is porous, these pores absorb oil and dirt from the bowling lane.

For those who don’t know, the lanes have an invisible pattern of oil on them to help the ball move along its course. This is why a bowling ball needs to be maintained properly and regularly if it is to perform consistently for a long time.

How to Clean a Bowling Ball

There are several ways to clean a bowling ball properly, ranging from concocting simple solvents at home to simply going to a professional to take care of it for you. However, I believe that you can get the exact results necessary right at home and I aim to prove that point.

During The Game

Prevention is better than cure, these are words I live by! Your ball begins to pick up oil and dirt during your games. Sometimes, even a ring of oil might appear on your coverstock. If these issues are addressed immediately, a lot of the harm will be alleviated. After each turn you take wipe your ball with a microfiber cloth or dry towel. This will help prevent a lot of oil absorption. There are also many sprays and cleansers available that can help get a more thorough cleaning.

Home Remedies

(Do It Yourself): Even if you clean the ball immediately during the game, some oil will definitely be absorbed. So, eventually the bowling ball will need a thorough cleaning to remove that excess oil. Here are some methods you can utilize at the comfort of your own home:

  • Rubbing Alcohol/Ball Cleaner Solvents: This is the easiest method for home, but it won’t work as a deep cleanse.

Step 1: Get some rubbing alcohol/ball cleaning solution from your local general store.

Step 2: Get a microfiber cloth that is clean. Reserve this cloth only for cleaning your ball and replace it with a new one once it seems to be getting dirty itself.

Step 3: Partially soak the cloth in the rubbing alcohol and thoroughly rub the entire surface of the ball. Try your best to get into a very orifice on the ball when cleaning.

  • Immersion Cleaning: This method takes a longer time to do and should be applied after your ball has been through many games. The exact number will definitely vary depending on your use of your bowling ball. You will be able to get your coverstock back in shape and ready for games in no time.

Step 1: Get a very warm bath ready for your bowling ball. The water does not have to be boiling. Filling it up with the warmest possible tap-water will do. Make sure the container being filled is large enough to accommodate the entire ball.

Step 2: This step is mission critical. TAPE UP ALL THE HOLES on your ball! If water is allowed into the ball it may be damaged. The objective is to expose the surface only. Use waterproof tape to tape up the orifices and make sure the tape is flush along the surface of the ball, leaving no room for anything to enter.

Step 3: Keep the ball fully immersed in the water for at least 20 minutes. During this time you may give the ball an occasional spin within the water. If you observe the water you will notice oil floating to the top of the water. Do not worry! That is a sign that the cleansing is working. The oil floating to the top is the oil absorbed from the lane.

Step 4: After 20 minutes, remove the ball from the water and dry it thoroughly using a towel. Repeat this entire process as many times as you like until you are satisfied with the results.

Leave It to The Pros

Professionals at a Bowling shop are trained to help you with anything related to bowling. This includes getting your ball cleaned. They have machines which specialize in this task and will give you the best possible results. Find a local Bowling Pro shop in your area. Hand them your ball and tell them what you desire. Next, all you need to do is sit back and relax as your ball is cleaned.

Common Mistakes

Now that we know how to clean our bowling ball, it is equally important to learn about some mistakes people tend to make.

  • Avoid corrosive abrasives and cleaners.
  • Do not soak the water in any solvent longer than recommended.
  • When using rubbing alcohol do not soak the ball in alcohol. Partially soak the cleaning cloth.
  • Do not store the ball in too hot or too cold temps. It may compromise the shape of the ball.
  • If the ball is made of urethane, research the best methods to clean it beforehand.

Best Cleaning Solvents

These are some of the best solvents and solutions that can be use to clean a bowling ball:

  1. Monster Tac Remove All Bowling Ball Cleaner
  2. Vise Bowling Ball Cleaner
  3. Purple Stuff Bowling Ball Cleaner
  4. Storm Reacta Shine Reactive Polish & Cleaner
  5. Neo Tac Hook It Bowling Ball Cleaner

Most of these cleaners are USBC approved. Whatever cleaner you decide to choose, make sure it is USBC approved.


The average bowling ball will last anywhere in between 5-10 years depending on the maintenance. So, be sure to clean your ball regularly both on and off the lane to get the most out of your ball. Most bowling centers have ball cleaners which apply a coat of wax. The wax influence the performance of your ball. Do research on your ball to find out the best cleaning methods suited for you and keep an eye out for USBC approval on any products you purchase. Have a good game!!

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