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How to Clean Bowling Ball at Home: The Ultimate DIY Guide for Pro Results

  • Reading time:8 mins read

Keeping your bowling ball clean and well-maintained is crucial for achieving optimal performance and consistency on the lanes. Over time, lane oil, dirt, and grime can build up on the ball’s surface, compromising its traction and causing it to react unpredictably.

While professional ball cleanings at a pro shop are always an option, cleaning your bowling ball at home is a convenient and cost-effective solution.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of cleaning your bowling ball at home, step-by-step. From the necessary supplies to cleaning techniques and maintenance tips, you’ll have all the information you need to keep your ball in top condition and extend its lifespan, saving you money in the long run. Let’s dive in!

Supplies Needed

Before you get started, make sure you have the following supplies on hand:

  • Bowling Ball Cleaner (USBC Approved)
  • Microfiber Towel
  • Bucket or Sturdy Container
  • Optional: Ball Rejuvenator, Ball Revival Spray

It’s essential to use a cleaner specifically designed for bowling balls and approved by the United States Bowling Congress (USBC). Using regular household cleaners or detergents can damage the ball’s surface and reactive characteristics.

Step 1: Remove Surface Dirt and Oil

Begin by giving your bowling ball a quick once-over with a clean, dry microfiber towel. Gently wipe away any visible dirt, oil, or debris from the surface. This initial step is crucial as it removes any loose contaminants that could potentially scratch the ball during the cleaning process.

Step 2: Make the Cleaning Solution

Next, it’s time to prepare the cleaning solution. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the bowling ball cleaner bottle to dilute it with water in the recommended ratio. Typically, you’ll need to mix a small amount of cleaner with warm water in a bucket or sturdy container.

It’s important to exercise caution when handling cleaning products and ensure proper ventilation in your workspace. Some cleaners may contain chemicals that could be harmful if ingested or exposed to bare skin, so be sure to wear gloves if recommended.

Step 3: Soak the Ball

Once your cleaning solution is ready, submerge your bowling ball completely in the liquid. Ensure that the ball is fully covered, with no air pockets or gaps.

The recommended soaking duration can vary depending on the cleaner you’re using and the level of buildup on your ball. As a general guideline, soaking the ball for 30 minutes to an hour should be sufficient for most cleaning needs. For heavily soiled balls, you may need to extend the soaking time or repeat the process.

Step 4: Scrub the Ball

After the recommended soaking time, it’s time to give your bowling ball a thorough scrubbing. Using a clean, dry microfiber towel or a soft-bristled brush, gently scrub the ball’s surface in a circular motion. Pay extra attention to any stubborn stains, dried oil buildup, or heavily soiled areas.

Avoid using abrasive materials like scouring pads or steel wool, as these can potentially scratch and damage the ball’s surface. If you encounter particularly stubborn buildup, you may need to let the ball soak for a little longer before scrubbing again.

Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed the entire surface of the ball, rinse it thoroughly with clean, warm water to remove any remaining cleaning solution residue.

Step 5: Dry and Polish (Optional)

After rinsing, it’s crucial to dry your bowling ball completely to prevent water spots or streaks from forming. Use a fresh, clean microfiber towel and gently pat the ball dry, taking care not to rub or apply too much pressure, which could create unwanted friction marks.

Once the ball is fully dry, you have the option to use a ball rejuvenator or revival spray to restore its shine and enhance its reactive properties. These products are designed to revitalize the ball’s surface and help it perform like new again. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and allow the product to cure completely before using your ball again.

Cleaning Frequency

How often you should clean your bowling ball depends on several factors, including how frequently you bowl and the conditions of the lanes you play on. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to clean your ball after every 10-15 games or whenever you notice a significant buildup of oil, dirt, or grime.

Some telltale signs that your ball needs cleaning include:

  • Visible streaks or discoloration on the surface
  • Loss of traction or unpredictable ball reaction
  • Dull or cloudy appearance
  • Sticky or tacky feel when handling the ball

By staying on top of regular cleanings, you’ll not only maintain your ball’s performance but also extend its overall lifespan.

Ball Maintenance Tips

In addition to regular cleanings, there are several other steps you can take to ensure the longevity of your bowling ball:

  • Proper Storage: When not in use, store your bowling ball in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Excessive heat or moisture can warp or damage the ball’s surface over time.
  • Inspection: Periodically inspect your ball for any cracks, chips, or other signs of damage. If you notice any issues, it’s best to have the ball professionally resurfaced or repaired to prevent further deterioration.
  • Resurfacing: Even with regular cleanings, your bowling ball’s surface will eventually become worn and require resurfacing. This process involves removing a thin layer of material from the ball’s surface to restore its reactive characteristics. Most pro shops recommend resurfacing your ball every 50-100 games, depending on your bowling style and the conditions of the lanes you play on.

Benefits of Regular Cleaning

Maintaining a consistent cleaning routine for your bowling ball offers several key benefits:

  • Improved Traction and Ball Reaction: A clean ball surface is better able to grip the lane and achieve the desired ball reaction, resulting in improved accuracy, consistency, and overall scoring potential.
  • Better Scores and Consistency: By keeping your ball clean and well-maintained, you’ll experience more predictable ball motion and be able to replicate your shots more consistently, leading to better scores.
  • Prolonged Ball Lifespan: Regular cleanings help prevent excessive buildup and damage, extending the usable life of your bowling ball and saving you money in the long run.


By following the steps outlined in this guide, you’ll be able to effectively clean your bowling ball at home, maintaining its performance and prolonging its lifespan. Remember, a well-maintained ball is a key component of improving your game and achieving your best scores on the lanes.

So, gather your supplies, set aside some time, and get ready to give your bowling ball a thorough cleaning. Your clean, rejuvenated ball will thank you with improved traction, consistent reaction, and hopefully, a few more strikes along the way. Happy bowling!