Bowling Ball Cleaners
Why clean a bowling ball?
Congratulations! You've moved beyond using a house ball and shoes for bowling - you've got your own ball (or two, or maybe more), your own bowling shoes, bag and accessories. You've become serious about improving your average.
Unless your first ball is a plastic novelty ball, one of the first things you'll need to learn about is ball maintenance. Not that there's anything wrong with a novelty ball - any type of ball drilled properly for your hand is better than using a house ball. It's just that plastic balls don't share the same surface characteristics of more expensive, performance-oriented balls.
So, for the sake of this discussion, let's assume you've got a reactive resin or particle technology coverstock on that new ball of yours. From the first day you use it, its performance will start to erode. Sad but true - you just spent $200 (or more) on this new ball and it will perform less aggressively next week than it does this week. Why?
Bowling balls of this type are made to absorb lane oil as they roll down the lane. This, in conjunction with their asymmetrical core design, is what helps them hook hard and deliver the strikes you spent your hard-earned dollars to get. If they didn't absorb the oil, you'd be just as well off rolling a plastic ball, or a rubber bowling ball from the 1950s. But then you would be missing the performance aspects of the core, but that's for another lens...
The first step in ball maintenance is to keep it clean. Keeping the ball clean of lane grime and belt marks helps assure a consistent reaction. Removing lane oil as quickly as possible keeps it out of the coverstock and lengthens the lifespan of your ball.
Bowling's a game, and games are supposed to be fun. I don't know about you, but I have a lot more fun at anything that I can do well. Keeping your equipment in top shape is a key ingredient to helping you perform your best!
How do I clean my bowling ball?
If you look carefully at your ball after each shot, you'll notice a series of oil lines around the circumference of the ball. This grouping of lines is called the "track". During league play, you'll want to wipe down the track on your ball prior to each shot.
Optimally, you would wipe the ball down immediately after the shot was made, rather than waiting until your next turn. Practically speaking, you don't want to hold up play by waiting at the ball return after your turn is complete, so that's why you want to build the ball-wiping process into your pre-shot ritual.
After each league session, you'll want to do a thorough, deep cleaning of your ball to remove lane grime, belt marks from the ball return and remaining lane oil. This will make the ball ready for play.
What do I clean my bowling ball with?
During league play or any other competition, you'll want a good towel and perhaps a competition-approved cleaner.
The typical terrycloth bowling towel you see most bowlers use, while better than nothing, is not your best choice. For maximum performance, use a microfiber bowling towel specifically designed to absorb lane oil. Any cloth towel that is non-abrasive that doesn't modify the surface finish of the ball and contains no chemical additives will be acceptable for use during USBC certified competition.
After your session is done, you'll have a greater selection of cleaners you can use: ones made for use during competition and ones acceptable for use at any time. My personal belief is that if the cleaner is unacceptable for use during competition, then I don't need it - before or after.
The BIG exception, of course, are those cleaners that also include solids that will change the surface texture of your bowling ball. Those are products that belong in the class of ball resurfacing agents. As a reminder: If the surface friction of the ball is altered by sanding or polishing, the entire surface of the ball must be sanded or polished in the same manner. You can learn more about the entire process of ball resurfacing by clicking here.
Acceptable bowling ball cleaners - according to the USBC as of 01/09/12
- Chemicals and household products:
Castrol Super Clean
Orange Clean Multipurpose Degreaser
Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl)
Spray Nine Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Cleaners manufactured specifically for bowling balls:
2EZ2 Strike Bowling Ball Cleaner
2EZ2 Strike Bowling Ball Clean-N-Shine
Absolute Cleaner Mousse Type
Tacky & Clean
Atomic Ball Cleaner
Instant Length ball cleaner
Magic Dust Premium Bowling ball polish
Oil Off ball cleaner
Qwik Strike Citrus Gel Bowling Ball Cleaner
SP 101 ball cleaner
Strike It Clean
Remove All Ball Cleaner
The Good Stuff
Bowler's Edge Ball Cleaner
Bowler's Edge Reactive Resin Cleaner
Captain Bob's X12 Bowling Ball Cleaner
Seino Fukkatsu Bowling Ball Cleaner
Pro-Grip Reaction Ball Cleaner
Wipe 'n Strike ball cleaner wipes
Ball Cleaner Wipes BW 40235
Maz's Ball Klean
U-Turn Reactive Ball Cleaner
Clean Shot Reactive Ball Cleaner
Dri-Wash 'n Guard
Perfect Oil Remover
Bowling Ball Cleaner
Sure-Shot Spray Cleaner
Pro-Action Ball Cleaner
Ball Pre-Cleaner & Stripper
Hy-Tek Reactive Ball Cleaner
Reactive Cleaner "R"
Urethane Cleaner "U"
Bowlers Bowling Ball Wipe
Secret Sauce ball polish
Ultra Bio Clean
Ultra Bio Remover
Striking Ball Cleaner
Mark's Home Brew
High Performance Ball Cleaner #311
Ultimate Clean Reactive Ball Cleaner
Control No. 24
Neo-tac Foaming Ball Cleaner
Ace Ball Cleaner
Liquid Spray Ball Cleaner
RD3 Formula II
Adrenaline Cleaning Wipes
Magic Bowling Wipes
Pro Bite Ball Cleaner
Oil B Gone
MX Bio Cleaner
Lance Ice Ball Polish/Cleaner
RIP's Motion Potion Ball Cleaner
Redd Hott Ball Cleaner
Ole Roy's Front 9 Ball Cleaner
Ole Roy's Late Shift Ball Cleaner
Strike Machine Liquid
Super Shine Polish
Super Concentrate Cleaner
Bowling Ball Speed Shine
Bowling Ball Spray Cleaner
Strike-Mor Ball Cleaner
Power Gel Clean
The Perfect Cleaner
Squeaky Clean Spray Cleaner
Energizer ball cleaner
Bowling Ball Cleaner for "Sensitive Skin"
Power Kleen Bowling Ball Cleaner
Dry Wash Speed Shine
Black Magic Rejuvenator Particle Coverstock Cleaner
Ultra Ball Cleaner
Bowling Ball Quick Clean Wipes
Zapp-It Polish & Spray Remover
Awesome Ball Cleaner
Valentino Bowling Remedy RX
- Approved before / after certified competition
Citrus Base Cleaner
Delayed Reaction Ball Polish
Ballshield Base Cut & Shine
Brunswick Ball Polish
Factory Finish High Gloss Polish
Captain Bob's X-12 Bowling Ball Wipes
#1 Low % of Abrasives
Ball Cleaner & Wax No.III
2001 Pro Roll Bowling Ball Polish
Repel Ball Polish
Repel Ball Polish (High Gloss)
Repel Ball Polish (Matte Finish)
Repel Ball Polish (Medium Gloss)
Naturoll Finish Ball Polish
Hook-It Plus (Liquid Sandpaper)
Cream Ball Cleaner, Ball Polish
PJ's Tacky Snap
Ball Cleaner & Polish
Scotch Brite Scouring Pad
Orange Power Spray & Wipe
Pro Finish Step 2
Pro Finish Step 3
Bowling Ball Cream Cleaner
Power Gel Polish
Power Gel Scuff
1-Step Reactive Resin Ball Cleaner
2-Step Reactive Resin Ball Cleaner
Clean N' Dull
Factory Finish Polish
Reaction Control System Cleaner
Reactive Resin Finish Polish
Black Magic Particle Coverstock Resin Ball Polish
Black Magic XL Cleaner & Polisher for Particle and Resin Balls
Ultimate Plus Polish Cleaner
XXX Rated Cleaner & Polisher
Doc's Magic Bowling Ball Elixir
This is a great citrus-based all purpose ball cleaner.
This cleans grime and belt marks from your ball, leaving a tacky, dull finish.
When the small bottle just isn't enough...
Products and chemicals deemed unacceptable - according to the USBC, as of 01/09/12
Cutex (acetone OR non-acetone nail polish remover)
David Greco Cleaner
Dull It by INX Corp.
Ethers, esters and ketones (MEK)
Kerosene, gasoline, other fuels
Master Ball Cleaner by Master Industries
Most commercial solvents (xylol, lacquer thinner, mineral spirits, chloroform, methyl hydrate)
Strike Power by Veterans Products
Ultra Clean by Tenth Frame
One more valuable tool to help keep your ball clean...... a bowling ball spinner!
Maintain your equipment like the pros by using a spinner. This handy tool will help you clean your bowling balls faster and more thoroughly than you could ever do it by hand.
A spinner will also allow you to resurface your bowling ball any time you wish without having to make an appointment with your pro shop. This tool will pay for itself many times over by extending the lifespan and performance of your equipment.
Click here for more information on bowling ball spinners.