Tips for Cleaning and Protecting Your Bowling Equipment

Bowling equipment maintenance is crucial for achieving consistent performance and longevity. 

In this article, we’ll focus on a crucial aspect of bowling equipment care: cleaning and protecting your gear from stains and damage. 

By following these tips, you can ensure your equipment remains in top shape, allowing you to focus on getting those strikes. 

Let’s explore how to properly care for your bowling equipment and achieve the best possible results on the lanes.

Why Bowling Equipment Maintenance is Important? 

Regular maintenance of bowling equipment ensures consistent performance and longevity. Proper care of equipment, especially the bowling ball, can reduce wear and tear, increase accuracy, and prevent costly replacements. Proper cleaning and storage of bowling equipment also help avoid unsightly stains and damage.

Cleaning Your Bowling Ball

Cleaning your bowling ball regularly is essential for maintaining its performance and longevity. 

Dirt, oil, and other debris can accumulate on the surface of the ball, affecting its grip and causing it to hook inconsistently. 

Here are some steps you can take to clean your ball:

Use a Ball-Cleaning Solution 

There are many commercial ball-cleaning solutions available that are specifically designed to clean bowling balls. Simply spray the solution on the ball’s surface, let it sit for a few seconds, and then wipe it clean with a microfiber towel.

Use a Microfiber Towel 

Microfiber towels are gentle on the surface of the ball and can effectively remove dirt and oil. Be sure to use a clean towel for each cleaning to avoid spreading contaminants from one area to another.

Use a Ball Cleaner Machine 

Some bowling alleys have machines that clean bowling balls automatically. If you have access to one of these machines, use it to clean your ball after each game or practice session.

Avoid Using Harsh Chemicals  

Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners to clean your bowling ball, as they can damage the ball’s surface and affect its performance.

Regular cleaning routine 

Make a habit of cleaning your ball after every game or practice session, as well as periodically throughout the season.

clean your bowling ball

Protecting Your Bowling Ball

In addition to regular cleaning, it’s also essential to protect your bowling ball from damage. 

Scratches, chips, and cracks can affect the ball’s performance and lifespan. 

Here are some tips for protecting your ball

Avoid Dropping the Ball

Dropping the ball can cause cracks or chips, which can affect the ball’s weight and balance. Be sure to handle the ball with care, and avoid dropping it.

Store the Ball Properly  

When not in use, store the ball in a bowling ball bag or a padded ball carrier. This will protect the ball from impact and temperature changes.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures 

Bowling balls are sensitive to temperature changes. Avoid exposing the ball to extreme heat or cold, as this can cause the ball to crack or lose its shape.

Don’t Leave the Ball In the Car 

Leaving the ball in the car can expose it to extreme temperatures, which can damage the ball. Instead, take the ball inside with you after each game or practice session.

Keep the ball away from sharp objects 

Sharp objects can scratch or chip the ball’s surface. Keep the ball away from any sharp or pointed objects, such as keys or knives.

Cleaning and Maintaining Bowling Shoes

Bowling shoes are just as important as the ball when it comes to achieving consistent performance on the lanes. 

Here are some steps you can take to clean and maintain your bowling shoes

Wipe the Shoes After Each Use  

After each game or practice session, wipe the shoes with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris.

Clean the Soles 

Use a wire brush to clean the soles of your bowling shoes. This will remove any debris or residue that may affect your slide.

Store the Shoes Properly 

When not in use, store the shoes in a cool, dry place. Avoid exposing the shoes to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight, as this can cause the shoes to dry out and crack.

Use Shoe Covers 

To protect the soles of your shoes from wear and tear when walking outside of the bowling alley, use shoe covers. These are available for purchase at most pro shops and online.

Replace the Soles and Heels 

Over time, the soles and heels of your bowling shoes will wear out and need to be replaced. Be sure to check them regularly and have them replaced as needed to maintain optimal performance.

maintaining bowling shoes

Maintaining Bowling Bags

Bowling bags are an essential piece of equipment for transporting your ball and shoes to and from the bowling alley. 

Here are some tips for maintaining your bowling bag

Clean the Bag Regularly 

Wipe down the bag with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris.

Store the Bag Properly 

When not in use, store the bag in a cool, dry place. Avoid exposing the bag to extreme temperatures or direct sunlight, as this can cause the bag to fade or crack.

Keep the Bag Dry 

If the bag gets wet, allow it to dry completely before storing it. Moisture can cause the bag to develop mold or mildew.

Check the Zippers and Handles 

Regularly check the zippers and handles of your bag to ensure they are in good condition. If they become damaged, have them repaired or replaced.

Replace the Bag As Needed 

If your bag becomes too worn or damaged to use, consider replacing it. A new bag will 

provide better protection for your equipment and make it easier to transport.

How to Restore a Bowling Ball

If you want to restore a bowling ball’s performance, you have several options depending on the issues you’re experiencing. 

Here are some common methods that bowlers use to restore their balls:


If your ball has lost its hook potential or is not hitting as hard as it used to, you can consider getting it resurfaced by a professional with the proper equipment. 

Resurfacing involves removing a layer of the ball’s coverstock to restore its original surface texture and reaction. 

It can also help remove scratches, dings, or other damage that affects the ball’s performance.


Another way to restore a dead bowling ball is to “revive” it using a heated oil extraction machine like the Pyramid Phoenix Personal Ball Revivor. 

This device uses heat and air pressure to open up the pores of the ball’s coverstock and extract the oil, dirt, and grime that may have seeped into it over time. 

This can restore the ball’s original tackiness and hook potential without damaging the surface.


Regularly cleaning your bowling ball after every use can help maintain its performance and prevent oil buildup, which can cause the ball to lose its hook and reaction. 

You can use a specialized bowling ball cleaner or a DIY solution of equal parts water, isopropyl alcohol, and an all-purpose cleaner to clean the ball’s surface gently. 

Make sure to wipe off any excess moisture after cleaning and store the ball in a cool, dry place.

Adjust surface

If you want to fine-tune your ball’s reaction on different lane conditions, you can adjust its surface texture by using sanding pads or abrasive discs to change its grit level. 

A smoother surface can provide a longer slide and less hook, while a rougher surface can provide more friction and hook potential. 

Experiment with different surface adjustments to find the sweet spot for your ball’s performance.

how to restore a bowling ball

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I clean my bowling ball with?

You can clean your bowling ball with rubbing alcohol, specifically isopropyl alcohol, which can remove dirt, grease, and grime from the ball’s porous outer surface. 

However, it is important to avoid using rubbing alcohol on its own as it can dry out the ball’s surface and cause damage over time. 

Instead, you can mix equal parts isopropyl alcohol, water, and an all-purpose cleaner like Simple Green in a spray bottle for a safe and inexpensive DIY alternative. 

Additionally, it is recommended to wipe off the ball after every shot with a lint-free microfiber cloth for the most consistent throws.

How often should I get my bowling ball to resurface?

The frequency of bowling ball resurfacing depends on several factors, such as how often you bowl, the condition of the lanes you bowl on, and how aggressive your ball’s coverstock is. 

As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to get a full resurface done after every 60 games or every six months, whichever comes first. 

However, if you notice a decrease in your ball’s performance, such as less hook or weaker hitting power, you may want to consider getting it resurfaced sooner. 

It is also important to keep your ball clean and well-maintained by following the recommended cleaning and maintenance routines every 10 and 30 games.

Are you supposed to wash your bowling ball?

No, you should not wash your bowling ball with water or soap as it can damage the ball’s surface and potentially harm its core over time. 

Bowling balls are not waterproof, and the porous coverstock can absorb moisture, which can affect the ball’s weight, balance, and performance. 

Instead, you should clean your ball after every session by wiping it down with a microfiber towel, chamois (shammy), or leather pad to remove any oil, dirt, or debris that may have accumulated on the surface.

How do you clean bowling ball finger holes?

To clean bowling ball finger holes, wipe the ball with a microfiber towel. 

Apply a small amount of ball cleaner or an alcohol-based wipe specifically designed for bowling balls to a clean microfiber towel. 

Clean the holes thoroughly with a towel or a small brush, and wipe off any excess moisture.


Taking care of your bowling equipment is essential for achieving consistent performance on the lanes and prolonging the lifespan of your gear. 

By following these tips for cleaning and maintaining your bowling ball, shoes, and bag, you can ensure that your equipment performs at its best and lasts for many games to come. 

So, strike out those stains and keep your gear in top condition, and you’ll be rolling perfect games in no time!

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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.