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How to Clean a Bowling Ball Properly: Ultimate Guide (Step-by-Step)

  • Reading time:7 mins read

Are you a passionate bowler who takes pride in your game? If so, you know that having a well-maintained and clean bowling ball can make a significant difference in your performance. A dirty or improperly cared for ball can lead to inconsistent reactions, diminished hook potential, and a shorter lifespan for your equipment.

Cleaning your bowling ball regularly is crucial for ensuring optimal performance and longevity. However, many bowlers overlook this essential aspect of ball maintenance or simply don’t know the proper techniques.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of cleaning your bowling ball correctly, providing you with all the necessary information and tips to keep your equipment in top-notch condition.

What You’ll Need:

Before we dive into the cleaning process, let’s gather the essential supplies you’ll need. Having the right tools on hand will make the task more efficient and effective:

  1. Ball Cleaner: Look for a USBC-approved ball cleaner specifically designed for bowling balls. These cleaners are formulated to remove oil, dirt, and buildup without damaging the ball’s surface or altering its reaction characteristics.
  2. Microfiber Towels: Invest in high-quality, lint-free microfiber towels. These towels are gentle yet effective at wiping away grime and absorbing moisture.
  3. Ball Rejuvenator (Optional): If your ball has lost some of its original reactions or appears dull, a ball rejuvenator can help restore its performance and shine.
  4. Clean Water and a Bucket: You’ll need access to clean water for rinsing your ball during the cleaning process.
  5. Soft-bristled Brush (Optional): For stubborn stains or buildup, a soft-bristled brush can aid in gentle scrubbing without scratching the ball’s surface.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process:

  1. Preparing the Ball
    • Start by removing any loose dirt, debris, or oil buildup from the ball’s surface using a clean, dry microfiber towel.
    • If there are any visible stains or dried-on residue, you can lightly dampen the towel with water or a mild soap solution to aid in their removal.
    • Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as they can potentially damage the ball’s finish or alter its reaction characteristics.
  2. Cleaning the Ball
    • Pour a small amount of the USBC-approved ball cleaner onto a clean microfiber towel or directly onto the ball’s surface.
    • Using gentle circular motions, thoroughly scrub the entire surface of the ball, paying special attention to the track area where your fingers and thumb grip the ball.
    • Apply moderate pressure, but avoid excessive scrubbing, which could create microscopic scratches or dull the ball’s finish.
    • Ensure that you cover every inch of the ball’s surface, including the areas around the logo, fingergrips, and any other crevices or indentations.
  3. Rinsing and Drying
    • Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the ball, it’s time to rinse away any remaining cleaner or residue.
    • Fill a clean bucket or sink with fresh, cool water.
    • Submerge the ball completely and gently agitate it in the water to remove any remaining cleaner or loosened grime.
    • For a more thorough rinse, you can gently squeeze water over the ball’s surface while it’s submerged.
    • After rinsing, use a clean, dry microfiber towel to gently pat the ball dry, ensuring no water spots or streaks are left behind.
    • Alternatively, you can air-dry the ball by placing it on a clean, absorbent surface and allowing it to dry completely before use or storage.
  4. Reviving the Ball’s Reaction
    • If your bowling ball has lost some of its original performance characteristics or appears dull, you may want to consider using a ball rejuvenator or reviving compound.
    • Ball rejuvenators are designed to help restore the ball’s reactive qualities, enhance its motion down the lane, and revive its original shine.
    • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the rejuvenator, typically involving rubbing it onto the ball’s surface and then buffing it to a high shine.
    • Keep in mind that rejuvenators should be used sparingly and only when necessary, as overuse can potentially alter the ball’s legal specifications.
  5. Post-Cleaning Maintenance
    • Once your bowling ball is clean and refreshed, it’s essential to store it properly to prevent dirt, oil, and grime from accumulating again.
    • Use a breathable ball case or bag to keep the ball protected from dust and damage when not in use.
    • Avoid storing your ball in extreme temperatures or direct sunlight, as these conditions can potentially warp or damage the ball’s surface.
    • Establish a regular cleaning routine based on the frequency of use. As a general guideline, it’s recommended to clean your ball after every 10-12 games or at least once a month, whichever comes first.

Additional Tips and Tricks:

  • Never expose your bowling ball to harsh chemicals, solvents, or abrasive cleaners, as these can irreparably damage the ball’s surface and alter its performance.
  • Immediately after each use, wipe down your ball with a clean microfiber towel to remove any excess oil or dirt, preventing buildup and making future cleanings easier.
  • If you encounter stubborn stains or discoloration, seek advice from a professional ball driller or pro shop staff for safe and effective removal methods.
  • When using a ball rejuvenator, apply it sparingly and evenly across the ball’s surface to avoid creating inconsistent reactions or hot spots.
  • Consider investing in a ball spinner or ball cleaner machine if you bowl frequently, as these tools can streamline the cleaning process and ensure consistent results.


Proper bowling ball maintenance is essential for achieving consistent performance and extending the lifespan of your equipment. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to keep your bowling ball clean, reactive, and looking its best.

Remember, a well-cared-for ball not only performs better but also reflects your dedication and pride as a bowler. Take the time to clean and maintain your ball regularly, and you’ll be rewarded with improved gameplay and a more enjoyable bowling experience.

If you have any additional tips, tricks, or experiences related to cleaning bowling balls, feel free to share them in the comments below. The bowling community thrives on shared knowledge and insights, so let’s continue the conversation and help each other excel in this fantastic sport.