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What Household Items Can You Use to Clean a Bowling Ball?

What Household items to use for Cleaning Bowling Ball

Do you know bowling balls need proper maintenance from time to time? So how often should you clean your bowling balls? To keep the coverstock acting like a newly purchased one, you should clean your bowling balls after every six games.

That’s like the general rule of thumb. Besides the old-school scrubbing to prevent oil build-up, there are some other measures you can take to thoroughly clean your bowling ball. The things you need for that can be some of the household items. So what household items can you use to clean a bowling ball? You should continue reading this article to the end to know the details.

Different household items that you can use to clean your bowling ball

A little oil, wax build-up, or even a scuff mark can throw off your bowling ball’s reaction. Moreover, it is also unhealthy to use a bowling ball for a new game without disinfecting the surface of the ball first. This is because your ball may pick up dirt and germs from the lane and by touching it, you’re contacting unwanted microscopic components.

Rubbing Alcohol:

One of the best ways to disinfect your bowling ball is to use Isopropyl alcohol. It does clean up the surface neatly. However, bowlers should use this method to clean their bowling balls only before and after their games and practices. This is because rubbing alcohol can get into the pores and dry out the ball’s surface. Thankfully, this shouldn’t be an issue if you have a plastic bowling ball or a urethane bowling ball because these bowling ball coverstocks are less porous.


Remember, you’re only supposed to use rubbing alcohol to remove grease, dirt, and grime contaminants. And, don’t even think about soaking your bowling ball in a high concentration of alcohol for an extended period of time. This will ruin the upper layer of your ball’s coverstock and will make the bowling ball fall apart. So just keep it simple. Wipe your ball’s surface effectively with a microfiber towel with rubbing alcohol soaked in it right before and after your bowling match. 


Did you know Windex is actually a cleaning agent approved by USBC? Yes, you read it right! For the removal of unwanted dirt and grime components, Windex does wonder! 


Just spray some on a microfiber towel and rub it on the surface. However, this is not an ideal cleaner if your plan is to extract oils from the pores of the coverstocks. For oil extraction, you’ll need something as strong as Isopropyl alcohol. Windex is just a mind cleaner that shines a nice shine on the ball and cleans out the debris sticking to the top layer of the ball’s surface.

Dawn Dishwashing Liquid:

So are wondering if you can clean a bowling ball with dish soap? Well, good news, you can! The Dawn Dishwashing Liquid will cut down the grease and remove any sort of dirt, debris, and wax. 


Just go to your kitchen and grab your Dawn dish soap and pour some in warm water and soak your bowling ball in it. Have you noticed how your dish soap can cut down the oil from the dishes with stubborn oil? It will do the same for your oily bowling ball surface. Once the ball is adequately soaked, and the oil is fully broken down, give your bowling ball a final rub with a washcloth. After that, rinse it with warm water so nothing is slippery. Watch out for the drilled holes. Make sure they are rinsed and wiped as well. Cleaning a bowling ball with dish soap gives your ball moderate to deep cleansing.

Hydrogen Peroxide:

Bowling ball management should be done carefully. You should be extra careful when it comes to cleaning your bowling ball after a few matches. So, are you planning to clean your bowling ball with hydrogen peroxide? Stop right there! Don’t even think about it! Hydrogen peroxide will damage the components of your bowling ball and will make it impossible to use it again for your next bowling match. So, yes, stay out of hydrogen peroxide!


Yes and No. Because it’s up to you and the method you use. Acetone is a critical substance to use on bowling balls. Not only it is highly inflammable but also cleaning it for a long time will scrub off the colorful upper layer of the coverstock. But using it as a mild cleaner is alright. If you have no other household item near you other than acetone, you need to understand the risk it comes with.


I will recommend putting some acetone in a spray bottle and when you’re bowling, you can spray some on a non-lint microfiber cloth to clean up the surface of your bowling ball. Acetone will clean anything off the surface of your bowling ball without damaging it. If you use acetone properly, it’s absolutely alright to use it on a ball surface. Just follow the method properly. Don’t think about soaking it in a gallon of acetone. 

If a bowler uses the proper method to use acetone as a cleaner, it is not prohibited by USBC. However, non-alcohol-based nail polish remover is considered illegal to use on a bowling ball’s surface at any time during USBC leagues or tournaments. 


If you want to save all the trouble of cleaning your bowling ball and let a machine do it for you, a dishwasher is just what you need. A dishwasher is considered one of the best ways to get oil out of your bowling balls’ surface. But some precautions are important before you put your ball in the dishwasher. 


First, remove the thumb/finger sleeves (if your ball has any) and cover the holes with duct tape. You can substitute duct tape with modeling clay. Now, place your bowling ball that needs cleaning on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. You can use a dishwashing liquid or detergent that has a little bleach in it. Remember to not use the dryer/heat cycle of the machine.

Now, all you have to do is turn on the machine and run it in the dishwashing cycle only once. If you think running once the time wasn’t enough and you want a deeper cleaning, run it a second time but only after the ball cools off completely. If you re-run the machine when the ball hasn’t cooled down yet, your ball might crack. If you notice that some water got into the holes, just grab a hair dryer and dry out the moisture from the holes.

Frequently Asked Question

Can you clean the bowling ball with rubbing alcohol?

Simple answer— yes, you can! Rubbing alcohol is actually pretty safe to clean your bowling balls. 

Can you clean the bowling ball with Windex?

This is a USBC-approved cleaning agent for its effectiveness. So why shouldn’t you use it for grime and dirt components?

Can you clean the bowling ball with Dawn?

Yes, apparently you can use Dawn Dishwashing Soap to clean your bowling ball. You can even use it for the immersion cleaning method to break down the oil faster and better.

Can you clean a bowling ball with hydrogen peroxide?

No, you cannot use hydrogen peroxide to clean your bowling ball. It will damage the bowling ball coverstock greatly and ruin its performance. 

Can you clean a bowling ball with acetone?

Acetone is only allowed as a cleaner if a bowler uses the proper method to use it. Don’t worry, acetone is not prohibited by USBC. However, non-alcohol-based nail polish remover is considered illegal to use on a bowling ball’s surface at any time during USBC leagues or tournaments. 

Can you clean a bowling ball in the dishwasher?

The dishwasher is pretty safe to use for cleaning purposes if you do it right. Just follow the precautions you must take to do it safely without causing any damage to the ball.


So there you go, homeboys! Cleaning the bowling ball never got this easier! With your regular household items, you can now give your bowling ball a nice cleaning before your next match/shot. If you think these home remedies are not enough and you want a more detailed and deep cleaning, take your ball to a local pro shop and they will handle the rest. Your ball will look brand new! Good luck!