How To Clean A Bowling Ball


In order for a bowling ball to perform well, it needs to be taken care of properly. Cleaning a bowling ball is extremely important, and could make the difference between a win or a loss in a league or tournament.

Proper maintenance and cleaning doesn’t take a ton of time, but it is needs to be kept up with to really have a ball last. Below is a look at everything you need to know about how to clean a bowling ball and have it performing well.

Step by Step Cleaning

There are two main types of cleaning when talking about a bowling ball. A deep clean is usually done at home, or with a little bit more free time. There is also cleaning the ball off in the middle of the game. That’s easier, but sometimes just as important. Just a tiny amount of build up can effect how much hook the ball can potentially have.

Deep Cleaning a Bowling Ball

No matter how you might rub off the oil between each shot, that oil will still seep into the coverstock of the bowling ball in time. When the ball stops reacting the way you feel is normal, it is time for a deep clean.

The first step is simply to decide if the deep clean should be done by a professional at a pro shop, or by you personally. Some people who are not familiar with deep cleaning will leave it up to a professional. While they can do a great job, it is usually a cost most would like to avoid.

Professional cleaners will either bake the oil out with a special oven, or do a deep cleaning of the ball much like any person could do at home. Baking the ball is a unique procedure that definitely has some positives. It is pretty costly though, and most simply don’t want to spend that much money but once or twice.

Deep cleaning is much more practical, and can be done by anyone with the right supplies. The question is, how does someone actually go about a deep clean at home?

The first step is to have the supplies. Everyone needs:

  • microfiber towel
  • soap
  • tape
  • bucket

Step 1: Apply the tape to the holes on the ball. This is to keep the water from getting in and potentially doing damage.

Step 2: Fill up the bucket with hot water. The bucket needs to be more than big enough for the bowling ball so that it can be completely submerged.

Step 3: Add the soap to the water. Regular dish soap can work, or specific bowling ball soap cleaner if a person wishes to invest in that. Specific cleaner usually works faster and more effectively.

Step 4: Place the bowling ball in the bucket. Spin it around to make sure everything is covered. Once it is spun around a bit, let it sit in the bucket for about 30 minutes. There is no problem with letting it sit a while longer, but there comes a point where it is as deeply cleaned as possible.

Step 5: Take the ball out of the bucket, and begin wiping it down with a microfiber towel. The ball needs to be completely dried right after the cleaning. Try to give it some time to fully dry out before playing with the ball.

Cleaning The Ball Off Mid-Game

For a faster clean to get some surface oil off of the ball, a towel can be used after every single shot. There is no set type or size of towel, but most people opt for a microfiber option.

A towel that is big enough to cradle the ball is perfect, allowing for a convenient way to clean the entire surface area of the ball as quickly as possible. Anyone who watching a pro match will notice plenty of players doing this on a pretty consistent basis.

Best Bowling Ball Cleaners

Since cleaning a bowling ball is so important, there are a number of products out there to help with the process. In fact, the market is a bit oversaturated with so many options, making it difficult to sift through them all and find the best value.

Below is a look at some of the best ball cleaners and accessories to help with cleaning. This is a great starting point to invest a little bit of money into keeping the best balls you own looking great. While there are alternatives out there for these things (regular dish soap, regular towels, etc.), something formulated specifically for bowling balls are just going to be better.

Best Spray Cleaner

Pyramid Monster Tac Bowling Ball Cleaner

For about $10, a bowling ball cleaning spray can really help a person keep things in new condition. This spray is very easy to apply, and it rubs off easily as well. It is a bottle that can be slipped into any bag for a quick cleaning solution before, after and even during a game. This bottle starts out at just 4 ounces, but people can buy larger bottles and save money on this cleaning solution.

Best Foam Cleaner

Storm Bowling Reacta Foam Bowling Ball Cleaner

Some people prefer a foam over a spray, since the foam can stay on the ball a little bit better. Storm makes a great foam that is affordable and easy to apply. The rejuvenator in the foam even helps to restore any tacky feeling that might be lost on the ball. Foam also has the advantage of not being quite as easy to leak out while sitting in the bag and moving around a bit.

Best Ball Towel Washable giant Microfiber Bowling Ball Polisher Cleaner See Saw

The right type of towel can make a huge difference in the quality and quickness of cleaning a bowling ball. This is pretty much the perfect towel solution for bowlers. The towel can hold a bowling ball of any size. It is easy to get the entire surface area covered and clean. The towel is also easy to clean itself.

Best Cleaning Kit Bowling Basics Kit

A full kit might be useful for some people who are trying to clean their bowling ball. This kit is basically a starter pack anyone can benefit from. The kit includes a bottle of spray cleaner, a monster pad bowling applicator and a grip ball. They all fit nicely into a bowling bag, and can be useful at a moment’s notice.

Benefits of Cleaning a Bowling Ball

A clean bowling ball not only looks great, but there are number of performance reasons why people are so particular with keeping a clean ball.


Far and away, the main reason why people clean their bowling balls as often as possible comes down to performance. The better a bowler is, the more they pay attention to these issues. A bowling ball might not be losing performance to the average player, but too much oil build up can cost a person valuable pins.

Oil and dust build up can happen after just a few frames, depending on the lane pattern. Sometimes it is visible, but other times it is just some minor building up that blends into the ball. Either way, if cleaning can help a person’s score, there is no doubt players are going to take advantage. In fact, cleaning off the ball is something that a lot of people will do subconsciously these days, almost as a ritual before each delivery.


After spending a decent amount of money on a bowling ball, it makes no sense to completely ignore cleaning and taking care of it. A performance bowling ball should last quite a long time, but not keeping up with proper cleaning can kill the lifespan of the ball.

The coverstock in particular can become compromised if proper care is not taken care of. Deep cleaning is specifically necessary for durability, because it can help with the oil that seals into the coverstock.


It isn’t a beauty contest at the bowling alley, but after investing in a new ball, it is perfectly fine to be proud of how it looks. A ball can look pretty old and beat up in a hurry if cleaning is ignored. No one wants to look at their shiny new bowling ball two weeks later look like it is a year old.

Showing up to a tournament or league night with clean performance bowling balls shows everyone else that you are very serious about playing the game. It just gives off a little bit more professionalism, which is never a bad thing.

Some people make their final decision on picking a bowling ball based on the design and color of the ball. Looks in those cases are very important for those owners. Just a few small investments into cleaning supplies can extend the look and life of a ball for quite a few years to come.

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