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How to Clean a Bowling Ball

clean bowling ballOne good thing about bowling is that your equipment doesn’t require a lot of maintenance, but once you have your own bowling ball you will need to do some cleaning in order to keep it in good condition. But how, exactly, does that process go? This article will go over the basics of cleaning a bowling ball so you’ll keep yours in tip top shape.

First, it’s important to understand why you need to clean a bowling ball. Since it’s an indoor sport you obviously aren’t getting dirt or mud directly on it, but there’s one thing that does get on to your ball with every shot: oil. Some of that oil will stay on your ball and over time this makes it more difficult for it to generate friction on the lane and hook.

Tips for Cleaning Your Bowling Ball at Home

Essential ingredients for ball cleaning include a microfiber towel along with some ball cleaner (which are made by many big bowling companies and you can pick up for quite cheap.) Those looking for an easy, cheaper method using products you’ll already have in your household you can choose rubbing alcohol or Windex or even dish soap. Many bowlers opt for a simple bucket or a sink filled with water and a little of the aforementioned cleaners. (If you’re using hot water, make sure it isn’t boiling hot, as that could break down the material of the coverstock or even cause crasking).

Sitting the ball in water for a period of time helps draw the oil out of the coverstock. Many bowlers like to cover the finger holes with tape to lessen the risk of your ball becoming water logged. After you’re done soaking, let the ball sit for a while (and take the tape out). This will let it rest just so you can be confident it will be ready to roll when you next hit the lanes. You should notice increased friction and action against the lane surface after a cleaning, which is a great feeling!

There are also some other cleaning methods that are used by bowlers. Some swear by cleaning their bowling ball in the dishwasher, but if you decide to go this route you need to do some extra research as you want to make sure the temperature doesn’t get too high and damage your ball.

Larger-scale cleanings can be more infrequent, such as every couple of months, but one thing you want to do is give your ball a quick clean with a bowling towel in between your shots, especially first ball shots. This helps get much of the oil off before it builds up and requires more serious attention.

If you don’t care about spending a few bucks but do want to get your ball cleaned without exerting much effort, look into your local pro shop. It will usually have professional equipment such as high speed ball spinners, pads and polish. Not only will these clean your ball, but they can be configured to optimize your ball for the actual lane conditions you will face most often. If you want to get the benefits of “baking” the excess oil off your ball but are wary of trying it in your own dishwasher (as we are), your local pro shop will also likely have a machine that will do this.

The frequency of ball cleaning can also depend on the lane conditions, as drier patterns naturally don’t have as much oil, so it will take longer for oil to build up on your ball, especially if you are toweling it off in between shots.

What is the Best Bowling Ball Cleaner?

If you’re looking for one of the bowling-specific cleaning options, here are a few of the top choices. Click on each product to learn more about it:

bowlingball.com Monster Tac Remove All Ball Cleaner

Storm Reacta Clean

Brunswick Remove All Ball Cleaner

All in all, you’ll want to keep your ball cleaned in order to achieve optimal ball performance. You usually make a significant investment when you decide to purchase a ball, so you want to protect that investment by ensuring that it stays in its best position. Toweling off your ball in between shots or after a bowling session is a sort of “preventative maintenance” that helps keep your ball out of trouble, but every once in a while you should opt for a more thorough clean. This can be done easily at home with cheap cleaners or at the pro shop where you’ll have the added benefit of knowledgeable staff and professional equipment you don’t have in your basement. No matter what route you decide to take, ensure that you keep a somewhat regular cleaning schedule, so your bowling ball stays in good condition and you maximize your chances of success. If you have any questions or comments about the ball cleaning process, just let us know in the comments below.

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