How Often Should I Clean, Sand, Or Resurface My Bowling Ball?

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If you want to get several years out of your bowling ball, you will need to keep with a maintenance schedule. But how often should you clean your bowling ball? Let's take a look below.

If you are a frequent bowler, you should follow this general rule for cleaning your bowling ball:

  • Wipe clean after each game.
  • Clean every six games.
  • Polish every 15-18 games.
  • Deep clean every 50-75 games.
  • Resurface every season.

We know that seems like a strict maintenance schedule, but if you want your ball to last, you must stick with it. In this article, we will guide you through each step of this process so that you can keep your ball in great condition for as long as possible. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about bowling balls, so read on!

Pair of hands holding a bowling ball and polishing pad for finishing touch, How Often Should I Clean, Sand, Or Resurface My Bowling Ball?

How to maintain your bowling ball

Bowling balls are made of different materials, so it's important to know what type of ball you have before cleaning it. The most common bowling ball materials are urethane, reactive resin, and plastic.

The materials bowling balls are made of are notorious for soaking up oil from the lane, which can cause the ball to lose friction, disrupting your game. Therefore, to keep your ball performing at its best, it is important to follow a regular cleaning schedule.

Happy friends bowling together

Wipe clean after each game

Oil is applied to bowling lanes frequently to help protect them and ensure that the ball slides down the lane smoothly. However, all that oil can quickly build up on your ball, reducing its performance.

To keep your ball clean after each game, wipe it down with a soft cloth or microfiber towel. This will remove any surface oil and debris from the ball to be ready for your next game.

If the lanes are more oily than usual, you may need to wipe your bowling ball down more than once during your game. You will find some bowlers will wipe their bowling balls after each shot or frame. 

Clean every six games

Around every six games, it is important to give your ball a more thorough cleaning. This involves using a bowling ball cleaner and a microfiber towel to remove all the oil and dirt from the ball.

The bowling ball cleaner you use will depend on your ball's material. For example, if you have a urethane bowling ball, you will need to use a different cleaner than if you have a reactive resin ball.

Be sure to read the instructions on your bowling ball cleaner carefully so that you use it correctly. Once you have cleaned your ball, dry it off with a microfiber towel and store it in a cool, dry place.

You can also make your own bowling ball cleaner by mixing 1 cup Simple Green, 1 cup rubbing alcohol, and 1 cup water in a squirt bottle. Apply the mixture and use a microfiber towel to clean your ball.

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Polish every 15-18 games

After cleaning your ball, it is important to polish it every 15-18 games. This will help to restore the shine and protect the ball's surface.

Ask your bowling pro shop to recommend the best type of polish to use for your ball. Once you have selected a polish, apply it to your ball one quarter at a time and rub it in with a microfiber towel.

Wait a few seconds to let the polish set in and then wipe the excess polish off with a clean microfiber towel and store your ball in a cool, dry place. Repeat the process until the entire ball is polished.

Deep clean every 50-75 games

Even if you are wiping your ball down after each game and polishing it regularly, it is still important to deep clean it every 50-75 games. This will help remove any dirt or oil built up inside the ball.

To deep clean your ball, follow these steps:

  • Cover the finger holes with waterproof tape.
  • Fill a bucket with hot water [140 degrees Fahrenheit].
  • Add a few drops of Dawn dish soap and stir.
  • Drop your ball into the bucket and let it soak for 20 minutes, spinning it every so often.
  • Take your bowling ball out and wipe it down with a microfiber towel.
  • Remove the waterproof tape from the finger holes and store your ball in a cool, dry place.

You can also use a bowling ball cleaning machine to deep clean your ball. These machines are usually available at bowling alleys and pro shops.

Resurface every season

Even if you are taking good care of your ball, it is still vital to resurface it every season. This will help remove any scratches or wear and tear that has occurred over the season.

To resurface your ball, take it to a professional specializing in this process. They will use a machine to sand down the ball's surface and then polish it.

Once your ball has been resurfaced, clean and polish it regularly to keep it in good condition.

Bowling ball and pins

How much does it cost to resurface a bowling ball?

This all depends on the professional you take it to and the type of ball you have. Generally, resurfacing a bowling ball costs between $10 to $30. However, if you bought your bowling ball from the pro shop, they may offer a discount or do it for free!

It's good to stick with someone you trust to do a good job and won't overcharge you.

When is it time to replace a bowling ball?

Even if you take good care of your bowling ball, it will eventually need to be replaced. A good rule of thumb is to replace your ball every 5-10 years.

However, if you notice that your ball is cracked, chipped, or otherwise damaged, it is important to replace it sooner rather than later.

Some will say that you know it's time to replace your bowling ball when the logo is no longer legible. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as some bowling balls are made with logos designed to fade over time.

If you are unsure whether or not it is time to replace your ball, consult with a professional at your local pro shop. They will be able to inspect your ball and give you their expert opinion.

When it's time to part ways with your bowling ball, be sure to recycle it. Many pro shops will take used balls and either resell them or recycle them.

In addition, you can donate it to a local youth bowling league or charity. This way, someone else will be able to get use out of it, and you'll be doing your part to help the environment.

Bowling ball on a court in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Where do you store a bowling ball?

When you're not using your bowling ball, it's important to store it in a cool, dry place. Avoid areas that have humidity or where the temperate fluctuates, like a basement, attic, garage, or car.

Due to the materials bowling balls are made of, they are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. In fact, bowling balls can crack at temperatures below 48 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ideal storage temperature for a bowling ball is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When storing your ball, keep it in a bag, box, or wrapped in a microfiber towel to protect it from dust and dirt.

In addition, it's essential to keep your ball away from children and pets. Bowling balls are not toys, and they can cause serious injury if they are played with or dropped.

Bowling balls on ball shelves

Do bowling balls have a warranty?

Yes, most bowling balls come with a warranty. This covers defects in materials or workmanship. Depending on the company, the warranty may last for 30 days, 90 days, one year, or longer.

It's important to read the warranty's fine print and understand what is and isn't covered. For example, some warranties may not cover normal wear and tear or damage caused by misuse.

If you have any questions about the warranty, be sure to contact the company directly.

If you think your ball is defective, contact the manufacturer as soon as possible. They will likely ask you to send in the ball for inspection. If they find that the ball is defective, they will either repair it or replace it free of charge.

Depending on the company, they may also offer a refund or store credit.

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your bowling ball is important if you want it to last. Be sure to clean and polish it regularly and store it in a cool, dry place.

If you notice any damage, replace the ball as soon as possible. Finally, recycle your old balls when it's time to upgrade.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles we think you'll enjoy!

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