How to Clean a Bowling Ball the Right Way

Last updated on March 15th, 2021

Cleaning your bowling ball and taking care of it are two fundamental things that all bowlers must do.

The bowling ball itself is expensive, and this needs to be cared for to ensure that you get the best value for your money.

When it comes to cleaning your bowling ball, you can either do it yourself or have it done at your local alley for a price.

We have consulted a couple of experts to find out how to clean the bowling ball at home and which steps you should take to ensure that it is cared for.

This will certainly improve the quality of your bowling game and extend the lifetime of the bowling ball. Eventually, you will be saving a lot of money with some extra trouble and time.

How to Clean Your Bowling Ball at Home with These Simple Steps

As we have mentioned, you can clean the bowling ball at the alley, but this is a rather expensive and timely process. If you have the time on a Sunday afternoon, you could use it to clean your bowling ball for the next competition.

Here are a couple of steps that will make this process simpler for ensuring a cared-for bowling ball.


Brush down the dust and tape the finger holes

While the water might not do too much damage when it enters the finger holes, you will have some troubles when detergent or any other cleaner is inside. This can be rather daunting to remove, and it could lead to some irritation for your hands when you are bowling.  Having waterproof tape is important, and this should seal up the finger holes, which protects them from water entering and causing damage on the inside of the bowling ball.

When brushing off the dust, be sure not to use any hardened bristles as this could significantly damage your bowling ball, and it could scratch the coverstock. A simple wiping tool like a dust cloth should be sufficient to remove as much of the oil and dust you can before applying a cleaning product. This might take some time, but it will help when you go further along.

Mix The Cleaner In With The Water

On the go, cleaners will not need any additional water, but if you are taking time to wash the bowling ball physically, you will mix your cleaner with water.

It is important to follow the mixture’s instructions and have it done the right way before applying the mixture to your bowling ball.

Keeping the temperature at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit also seems to be effective for oily balls, and it will help remove some of the oil.

I have found cold water only to wash the upper surface, and it does not manage to penetrate the water itself, which might be a little frustrating if you are looking to clean the ball sufficiently.

Place The Ball In The Water

Once you are done, you can place the ball in the water and leave it for a few minutes. Be sure to check up often as not to damage the coverstock.

You may also spin the ball in the water a couple of times and remove some of the oil with a cloth while the ball is in the water. This will keep the oil from setting once again.

The ideal time to leave the bowling ball is around 20-minutes for a thorough soaking, and in my experience, I have found this not to damage the coverstock and remove some of the oil that could be frustrating you.

Essentially, you can experiment with times to see how long your bowling ball needs to be soaked for an effective clean.

Remove The Ball And Dry It

Once you are done with the cleaning and soaking process, you should now dry the bowling ball effectively to complete the process. I have found a microfiber towel to be one of the best options for cleaning your bowling ball, and it ensures that no scratches are present, and you could use it for the process.

After the drying process, you should leave your bowling ball in a sturdy and clean environment to dry out completely before doing a check to see if the process has worked. We would also advise you not to place the bowling ball in the sun to dry as it might damage the overall integrity and the durability of the ball.

Repeat Until Happy

The process does not really damage the bowling ball, and you can repeat this numerous times if you have a lot of oil stuck to the bowling ball.

As you start cleaning more bowling balls, you will notice that the oil is the main issue, and once this is completely removed, you will see it will be much easier to clean.

I have repeated this process numerous times on my bowling ball, and it always seems to be effective for cleaning the ball. When it comes to high lanes in oil, this method is one of the most effective, and it might even work a little better than your expensive cleaner.

A Few Additional Tips to Keep In Mind

Now that you understand the process of cleaning your bowling ball, here are a couple of additional tips that you also keep in mind when perfecting your bowling ball’s cleaning process, and they should help you quite a lot as well. Keep the following tips in mind for cleaning your bowling ball:

The Local Club Cleans Them Much Better Than You

While it may seem a little more expensive, the club will have more technologically advanced products that will clean your bowling ball in a shorter time. We understand that it can be expensive, and we would not recommend having it cleaned there weekly, but once or twice a season will certainly be beneficial to your bowling experience.

It is also worth keeping in mind that the bowling ball will be polished t the club as well, and if you have any troubles with scratches, this will be the place to remove them sufficiently and have the ball looking as new as when you once bought it. I have seen some players only having the ball professionally cleaned once a year and still having great performances.

Make Sure The Products Are USBC Approved

The USBC is the body that governs all bowling in the US, and they have a huge say over the products that you can use for competition purposes to ensure that everything always remains fair. If you are not competing in any competitions, this tip will not apply to you, and you are free to use whichever product you feel is perfect.

However, professional players need to have their balls and additional equipment inspected for competition purposes. When purchasing anything for your bowling ball, it is important to look for the label that states whether the product has been USBC Approved. It could save you a lot of additional hassles and problems.

Clean the Ball Often

While cleaning it at the club will be too expensive, we recommend cleaning it often at home with your method that you have found some success with. Once the oil hardens on the bowling ball, it can be really frustrating and even daunting to remove, which might also be frustrating to you. A weekly cleaning schedule should be ideal for keeping the ball clean.

Buy A Cleaner For During The Games

Finally, having a small or portable cleaner is not really that expensive, and these can easily be found in most bowling shops or even online. While they might not have the ability to remove all o0f the oil, these cleaners are perfect for reducing the oil, making the weekly cleaning process that much easier.

If you clean it each night after playing, you will reduce the oil, and dust will not stick to the bowling ball as much. This means that the little bit of oil left is easier to remove, and you will not need to deal with hardened dust that might require you to visit the pro shop to have it cleaned. This can be a great way to save you some additional cash.

Benefits of Cleaning Your Bowling Ball

There are a couple of benefits associated with a clean bowling ball, and after cleaning mine perfectly, I have seen some improvement in my game. Here are a few benefits you could expect to have with a clean bowling ball.

a) Better games: With no dust sticking to the bowling ball, the ball is much more reactive in the lanes, and it does exactly what you would expect. With dust particles being attached to it, you might find some inconsistencies in your game, which could cost you during competitions.

b) Better durability: A clean bowling ball is a happy bowling ball, and it does seem to last a little longer as well. Not only will the coverstock be protected by most modern bowling ball cleaners, but it is strengthened and could even remove a couple of scratches that have been plaguing you.

c) Looks better: You look more professional as well, and when your bowling ball is cleaned, the ball will shine a little more, which could ensure that you look professional as a bowler.

While there are many more benefits, these are the 3 that I have experiences in my bowling career so far, and it is worth noting that when the bowling ball is not clean, the downsides will be the opposites of the benefits that we have just shared. This has certainly led me to believe that having a clean bowling ball is definitely the way to go.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your bowling ball clean will be much easier than simply buying a new one, and it is really important to focus on keeping the ball clean for your best performances. We understand the cleaning process does seem daunting, but it is part of the sport, and if you like to excel, it is something you need to get used to and make as simple as possible for yourself.

We want to thank you for reading this article, and we would like you to share some of your methods of effectively cleaning the bowling ball in the comfort of your own home. If you have cheaper solutions, we would be glad to read your comment and test them to see how effective they turn out to be for us.