Do's & Dont's of Bowling Ball Cleaning


Like any piece of sporting equipment, a bowling ball has to be kept clean for optimum performance levels. Many variables affect your bowling score, keeping the ball spotless eliminates one of the negative factors. Bowling balls can be easily cleaned at home after a night at the lanes.


The performance and reaction of a bowling ball is thrown off by just a little alley oil or a scuff mark. Wax from the lanes also causes an unwanted buildup on the ball's surface. Clean a bowling ball's porous outer surface with rubbing alcohol to remove dirt, grease and grime contaminants. Wipe the ball down vigorously with an alcohol soaked towel or microfiber cloth as soon as possible after bowling. Do not soak the entire bowling ball in alcohol for any amount of time.

Ball Cleaners

Use liquid or gel, alcohol-based ball cleaners, also called ball polishers, to regularly clean your bowling ball and give it a nice shine. Bet ball cleaners with added de-greasers or surfactants to remove stubborn dirt. Surfactant cleaners raise dirt from the microscopic pores of the ball's coverstock, or outer layer. Wipe the ball down with alcohol to remove the loosened dirt. Get a personal ball spinner to use with cleaners if you're a frequent bowler. Rotate the ball on the machine while applying the cleaners.

While Bowling

Take some simple steps to maintain a dirt-free bowling ball while competing. Wipe out the finger holes to keep them grease and grit free. Use a towel to keep your hands clean and dry to prevent skin oil and moisture in the finger holes. Remove lane oil and wax with a microfiber towel and a bit of alcohol between frames. Scrub off rubber scuffs from the pit cushions or ball return system with cleaner and a towel.


Dishwasher or dish soap detergents do a good job of removing foreign material from the surface of a bowling ball. Soak the ball for 15 minutes, then scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Do not soak a bowling ball in any liquid for more than 20 minutes to avoid warping the ball. Never clean a urethane ball with chemical solvents such as acetone or methyl ethyl ketone, known as MEK. Avoid all corrosive or abrasive cleaners not specifically manufactured for bowing balls.