How to clean a bowling ball – Do it yourself

If you want to become a professional at bowling, getting customized bowling balls is quite necessary. These balls can help you become a pro at this sport depending on your skill level. But most of all, cleaning and maintaining your bowling balls is essential for the longevity of your favorite bowling ball.

You might be thinking, why do I have to clean my bowling ball and how can I do it at home? That is precisely what I am here to tell you.

In this article, I am going to talk about why cleaning your bowling ball is necessary, what household and specialized materials you can use to clean the ball, and how you can keep it clean and well-maintained.

How to clean a bowling ball

Bowling Ball maintenance

House balls are a different thing, but when you are stepping up your game and getting a custom coverstock bowling ball made according to your hand’s fit, you are going to want to keep them clean and maintained by yourself. Let us look at some of the benefits of bowling ball maintenance and cleaning your bowling ball.

No Oil Ring

When you throw your bowling ball on an oiled lane, no matter how oil-proof the urethane coating of your bowling ball might be or how oil-prone the plastic material may be, a slight coating of oil will cover the ball in each roll.

Over a long period, this will form a complete ring of oil around the bowling ball. This can cost the ball its hooking ability and performance. That is why you need to clean the bowling ball properly to remove the oil from the ball using soap and oil cleaners.

Dust and Debris Removal

As you keep using a bowling ball for a long period, it can get messy and dirty due to the oil’s stickiness on the ball. Whether you are placing it into a rack inside your house or a bowling ball equipment bag, the bowling ball might get dusty and have debris on it.

It is necessary to clean the dust and debris from the ball because not only do they make the visual appeal of your custom ball bad, but they also cause problems rolling the ball. So, make sure your take off the dust and debris from your bowling ball periodically.

No stains and marks

Sometimes, you can spill something on your ball, and the stain might be stuck onto the ball. This stain can, over time, turn into a mark and be permanently engraved on your bowling ball. That would be an evil look for your beautifully designed custom bowling ball, so you can clean it using proper material in-house or in a bowling shop to keep it clean and spotless.

Increasing the longevity of the ball

If you do not clean your ball after a few bowling games, the dirtiness will get to it. I have seen cases where a bowling ball that was not cleaned periodically just died on the bowler even before 5 years of usage.

The material gets weaker, performance gets dull, and eventually, it gives out. But if you clean your bowling ball, you can increase its lifespan, and the bowling ball might even last more than 10 years if kept well-maintained.

Materials for Cleaning Bowling Balls

There are many great, easily available cleaning materials you can use to keep your bowling balls squeaky clean. Some of these cleaners might already be in your house, while you can get others from the nearest convenience store or a bowling shop. Here are some materials for cleaning bowling balls.

Dawn Dish Soap

Who must have thought that a dish soap could be used for effectively cleaning a bowling ball? Well, you can make a homemade ball cleaner using Dawn Dish soap and mix it in with some hot water and use it to clean the bowling ball off the debris, oil, or stains it might have on it.


Windex is a glass cleaner used to clean windows, furniture, and other glass material products. However, it has been approved by the United States Bowling Congress as an official bowling ball cleaning product. Spraying Windex and using a towel works wonders for cleaning a bowling ball.

Oil Cleaner

There are proprietary oil cleaners and even oil removing machines you can find at professional bowling shops. These cleaners can clean the oil from the bowling ball and help make the cleaning and maintenance process easier.

Here are some to use: Bowling Oil Cleaner

Microfiber Towel

Microfiber towels are essential for cleaning a bowling ball. You might already have a few in your dressing room. Well, these towels will be used to absorb all the dirt and the oil that might be sticking to your bowling ball. They are much better than regular cloth pieces and should be used for all bowling ball cleaning processes.

Here are some you can use: Bowling Microfiber Towel

Rubbing Alcohol

As the name suggests, rubbing alcohol is used with a combination of water and other cleaning materials to clean the bowling ball. It helps the dirt and particles to evaporate and clean the bowl thoroughly. Every bowling ball cleaning process requires rubbing alcohol to be used.

Step-by-Step Bowling Ball Cleaning Guide

Are you getting ready to clean your own custom bowling balls? Well, it is not as complicated as you might think. For your ease, here is a complete bowling ball cleaning guide that you can use to step-by-step clean your bowling ball at home with the available materials.

Put Rubbing Alcohol on Microfiber Towel

First, you are going to take some rubbing alcohol, and you are going to dip the microfiber towel or piece of cloth you have for cleaning into it. This will moisturize the towel and help in cleaning the bowling ball effectively. Also, it will kill any germs that were already on the surface of the cleaning towel, which also helps to keep the ball clean.

Wipe the Bowling Ball to Remove Oil

Now we are going to start the cleaning process. Take your moistened microfiber rag and use it to clean your bowling ball. Any oil ring or stain that might be visible on your bowling ball needs to be rubbed off.

Make sure you rub the ball with a gentle force and remove all the oil from the ball’s surface with the rag. Cleaning the oil will be necessary for further cleaning and maintenance of the ball. Take the ball into your hand and remove the oil from all the angles effectively to move to the next step.

Apply Cleaning Material

Once that is done, you are going to make the cleaning solution. If you are going with a home-made cleaning solution, then household materials like Windex or Dawn Dish Soap might work very well for your bowling ball cleaning.

Take some hot water, add a bit of rubbing alcohol, and put some of the dish soap or cleaner into the solution. Then you are going to use liquid-proof cleaning material and apply a gentle coat of the solution onto the bowling ball. All the bowling ball needs to be completely covered in the cleaning material, so you get a perfectly clean bowling ball.

Thoroughly Cleaning the Ball

Taping the finger holes helps to keep the inside of the bowling ball dry and clean. Now, you are going to use the same microfiber towel to deep clean the bowling ball thoroughly.

Wipe the bowling ball completely using the microfiber towel, and you are going to see a shiny and clean bowling ball emerge from within. Remove the tapes from the finger holes.

Now you are going to apply a bit of the cleaning solution on the edges of the finger holes and then use the same cleaning towel to wipe the inside of the finger holes, trying to keep them dry at the same time. This way, the bowling ball will be clean from the inside out completely.

Apply Bowling Ball Sanitizer

Sanitizing a bowling ball is part of the cleaning process. Especially in tough times of the pandemic, you must surely use a bowling ball disinfectant that kills all the bacteria on the surface of the bowling ball.

Apply a gentle coating of the bowling ball sanitizer, and make sure that you keep the cleaned ball in a safe and clean rack. This clean bowling ball will not need further maintenance for a few weeks to come, and the performance of the ball will be at its best as well.


Cleaning your bowling ball is essential if you want peak performance from it. If you are a professional and you have got your custom balls, and you are not a house ball user, make sure you send your ball to a bowling shop or use this guide to make a homemade cleaning solution for the cleaning process.

Using this step-by-step guide, you will be able to thoroughly clean your bowling ball and increase its longevity because maintenance and cleaning of the ball are must-do activities. I hope you have a great experience with your clean and maintained custom bowling ball.

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