How to Clean a Bowling Ball

If you want to stay at the top of your bowling game, you must keep your bowling equipment in top condition too, especially your bowling balls. Negligence on your part can hamper the performance of the bowling ball and, in turn, ruin your scores.  

When you use your balls frequently, they accumulate oil and dirt. 

Bowling balls are generally porous. Whenever they encounter friction because of regular throws towards the pin deck, their microscopic holes start getting bigger and thus start to gradually gather oil and dirt. 

A bowling ball that has accumulated oil does not easily grip the lanes, and this decreases its hook potential. Additionally, the ball can stop generating power and start rolling slower. 

When you fail to get the desired reaction from your bowling balls, you can only expect your performance to be below your standards. 

So, be sure to clean your bowling balls after each session. Doing so prevents the shell of the balls from absorbing the oil completely. 

Why clean your bowling balls frequently? 

Desired Reaction

Regular cleaning will completely get rid of the dust that may have accumulated in a bowling ball. The removal of dust helps facilitate the reaction of the ball, allowing you to predict and control the ball’s movement better. 

Increase Lifespan

Proper maintenance increases the life of a bowling ball. 

Using cleaners that have been specifically manufactured for ball cleaning purposes will protect and strengthen your ball. In some cases, they might even successfully get rid of the scratches on the coverstock. 

Better Appearance

Want to create a good impression? Clean your bowling equipment. 

A clean bowling ball will help you shine more in the bowling arena. It can help boost your image and make other bowlers regard you in higher esteem. 

How to Clean a Bowling Ball

To clean your bowling ball, you can either hire the services of a professional or do it yourself. You can even create your very own degreaser. 

Cleaning at Home

It is possible for you to clean your bowling ball at home with a homemade solution. All you need is dish soap, a bucket of hot water, waterproof tape, and a microfiber towel. 

Step 1: Use waterproof tape to form a protective layer over the finger holes in the bowling ball. The water shouldn’t get in the ball. 

Step 2: Add dish soap to your bucket of hot water and mix. A couple of dish soap drops should be enough. 

Step 3: Brush the dust off the ball, then put it inside the bucket and spin it gently once in a while. 

Step 4: After that, let the ball soak inside the bucket for around 20 minutes. Keep a timer to ensure that you don’t go over the set time. 

The longer you keep the ball submerged, the more chances you have of warping the ball. We wouldn’t want that!

Step 5: Remove the ball from the bucket and dry it with a microfiber towel. Repeat the process until you don’t see any more oil rising to the top. 

You can also make a bowling ball cleaner at home. 

To do this, just mix rubbing alcohol, water, and a degreaser in equal amounts in a spray bottle. Then, spray the solution onto your bowling balls and scrub them gently. 

Allow the mixture to break down the oil before you wipe it off with a microfiber cloth. 

Cleaning the finger holes

As I mentioned earlier, it is ill-advised to get the finger holes wet. You shouldn’t use cleaning solutions on them either. 

Doing so can negatively impact the feel of the holes. If water seeps in through the holes, the weight blocks part of the ball and the core can be severely affected. 

So, how do you get the finger holes cleaned then? Well, you are left with only one option—using a dry, lint-free microfiber towel. 

Simply force your towel-wrapped finger into the ball and move it up and down to get a thorough clean. Make sure you get the sides and the rims of all the holes too. 

Taking Them to a Professional Cleaning Shop

For proper maintenance of bowling balls that includes cleaning, polishing, and resurfacing, you might want to consider taking your balls to a professional cleaning shop. 

These shops have special equipment and technique to bake the oil out of bowling balls. 

A popular method is to have your ball baked in a special oven that is heated to and maintained at 110 degrees. It features useful inner mechanics that wipe the ball as it rotates on rollers, ensuring a thorough removal of the oil. 

Using a Bowling Ball Spinner

Many bowling enthusiasts acquire a good bowling ball spinner to avoid manual cleaning and going to a pro shop. 

A bowling ball spinner is often marketed as a compact version of the equipment pro shops use to clean and polish the balls. It has a convenient setup and is easy to use. 

A spinner does a pretty decent job of conditioning your ball, but it still falls short in numerous departments when compared to a pro shop. 

Regular visits to a pro shop could cost you a lot though, so if you’re looking for a cheaper option, a bowling spinner should do the trick. Want to save more? Try making a bowling ball spinner of your own!


I would always recommend a trip to a pro shop to get your bowling balls conditioned. However, I understand that it isn’t a practical choice, especially if you have a budget to consider. 

For such cases, I would recommend wiping the ball clean with a microfiber cloth immediately after each session. The home cleaning method discussed above will also help tremendously. 

There isn’t a dearth of excellent bowling ball cleaning solutions available for purchase on the market. You can use them if you don’t trust yourself to create a reliable DIY cleaning agent.

If you clean your bowling balls frequently at home by following the methods mentioned in this article, a single annual visit to a pro shop should be enough to keep them in optimum condition.