How to Clean a Bowling Ball: A Comprehensive Guide

Bowlers are usually complaining about how their bowling balls aren’t hooking and performing the way they used to anymore.

Bowling balls slide along the bowling lanes so the coverstock of the ball picks up oil, dirt, and debris from it. As you bowl, the dirt builds up on your ball which causes it to lose its hook potential and ultimately play flat.

Keeping your bowling ball clean is important since the bowling alley can destroy the effectiveness of your bowling ball’s surface and cause hook problems.

If you’re not sure how to clean a bowling ball, this guide will show you the best way to keep your bowling ball in tip-top condition and get that reaction back.

Process of Cleaning a Bowling Ball

Clean between Throws

For bowlers, the best time to clean your ball is after every throw.

When the oil is fresh on your ball, it’ll be the easiest to wipe away since it won’t have the chance to sit and seep deeper.

By having less oil on your ball, you can keep it clean and rely on it to perform at an optimal level. Keep your bowling ball clean in-between games to ensure it is always in perfect condition.

To clean your bowling ball, always bring a ball towel in your bowling bag before you head out in the alley.

Get a microfiber cloth and make sure it is lint-free so it can protect the finish of your ball. Be sure that there are no threads on the cloth that might rub on the bowling ball and change the contact point.

Microfibers will remove oil, dirt, and grime that normally end up as streaks all over your ball. They will also give you the maximum amount of protection for your bowling ball and make it last longer without interfering with the ball’s coverstock.

For best results, gently wipe your bowling ball with the cloth to remove excess dirt, dust, and oil after every roll.

If you’re planning on bowling for an extended period, make sure to bring extra towels so you can switch up your dirty towel for a clean one in the middle of the game.

Clean after Bowling

The next best time to clean a bowling ball is immediately after each bowling session.

After a game, you will notice that your ball will feel warm to the touch. This is due to the rubbing motions and friction generated on the ball against the lane.

The slight temperature rise loosens up the pores of the ball allowing you to clean it deeper. Plus, it prevents the oil from getting solidified and sticking to the coverstock of the ball for easier cleaning.

This is the perfect time to grab a little bit of rubbing alcohol and a lint-free microfiber towel.

Wipe the ball surface down using a clean, lint-free microfiber cloth slightly dampened with rubbing alcohol.

Be sure to pay close attention to any grooves or indentations on the surface of the ball. To avoid damaging the finish, never use rough rags or other abrasive cleaning tools on your bowling ball.

After that, dry the ball thoroughly with a dry lint-free microfiber cloth to remove excess moisture.

Remember, the longer the oil sits on the surface of your bowling ball, the more a chance it has to sink in and become harder to remove so make sure to take these steps regularly.

Deep Clean at Home

Unlike cleaning your bowling ball during and after every game, it is recommended to wait until you have bowled a significant number of games before attempting to deep clean your ball.

Generally, it takes around 50 to 100 games depending on how regulated and maintained your local bowling lanes are before you can perform a deep cleaning on your ball.

Also, when you notice that your ball is starting to overreact on the lane and lose its hook, it’s probably time for a deep clean.

Pulling the oil from a bowling ball is known in the bowling industry as deep cleaning. This process removes oil that has sunk deep into the pores of your ball over time.

 This is an important part of bowling maintenance and care for making sure your ball stays reactive as possible and prolongs its life.

The first thing you have to do is prep your ball by using waterproof tape to cover the finger holes on your bowling ball.

Applying the tape over the finger holes protects them from water damage so make sure the tape fully covers the holes and there are no gaps for the water to seep in.

After that, grab a bucket and fill it with hot water then add a few drops of dish soap. Make sure to keep the temperature at around 140 degrees Fahrenheit only.

Place your bowling ball in the bucket and allow it to soak for not more than 20 minutes. Occasionally stir the ball around the water to make sure all the surface is soaked evenly.

Finally, remove the ball from the water and thoroughly dry it using a microfiber towel to remove excess water and residue. Once it’s dry, take out the tape and wipe it clean again.

Additionally, you can repeat the process as needed until there is no more oil ascending on top of the water.

how to clean a bowling ball at home

Importance of Cleaning a Bowling Ball

Improved Performance

A clean ball will perform better on the lanes, free of dirt, oil, or grime that can cause the ball to deviate from its intended path and reduce its hook potential. Regular cleaning helps maintain the ball in top condition, maximizing its performance and improving your accuracy and control.

Increased Longevity

Dirt, oil, and grime can cause harm to the ball’s surface over time, leading to reduced performance and a shorter lifespan. Cleaning the ball removes these substances and extends its life, ensuring you have a reliable ball for years to come.

Better Traction

Cleaning the ball also ensures that your fingers have a better grip on the ball, providing you with improved accuracy and control. A clean ball not only performs better but also makes the game more enjoyable for you.

Enhanced Appearance

I think, A clean and well-maintained ball not only performs better but also looks better on the lanes. Keeping your ball clean and shiny can increase the overall enjoyment of the game and make you feel proud of your equipment.

FAQs About Cleaning a Bowling Bowl

  1. How often should I clean my bowling ball?

    It is recommended to clean your bowling ball after every throw and after each bowling session. Additionally, you can perform a deep clean every 50 to 100 games or when you notice the ball is starting to lose its hook.

  2. What materials do I need to clean my bowling ball?

    To clean your bowling ball, you will need a lint-free microfiber cloth, a ball towel, rubbing alcohol, and waterproof tape (for deep cleaning).

  3. What is the best way to clean my bowling ball in between throws?

    The best way to clean your ball between throws is to wipe it down with a lint-free microfiber cloth to remove excess dirt, dust, and oil. You can also bring extra towels to switch up your dirty towel for a clean one in the middle of the game.

  4. Can I use rough rags or other abrasive cleaning tools on my bowling ball?

    No, it is not recommended to use rough rags or other abrasive cleaning tools on your bowling ball as it can damage the finish. Instead, always use a lint-free microfiber cloth and gently wipe the ball down to avoid damaging the finish.

Final Words

Maintaining a bowling ball is essential to its performance. After several games, the ball’s reaction degrades signifying that it needs to be cleaned.

The best way to maintain the finish and performance of your bowling ball is by regular cleaning and deep cleaning which you can do at home.

For the most part, cleaning a bowling ball is not a complicated process. It is, however, vitally important that you are diligent and meticulous when performing this task to ensure the maximum longevity of the bowling ball and maximize its performance without causing damage.

Bowling balls are expensive and worth protecting. Take care of yourself by performing the steps we have talked about.

I hope the above-mentioned guide to cleaning your bowling ball properly has helped you in taking care of your ball so you can keep bowling like a pro in the alley.

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James Arnold
I'm James, and I call Stanislaus County, California, my home. My journey into the world of Bowling began 3 years ago. Although, I won't claim that I'm an expert,but I'm improving my skills every day. I hope my articles will help you to improve your game.