Can You Use Windex On A Bowling Ball?

We all know that Windex works wonders on windows, but what about bowling balls? Although many bowling enthusiasts swear by using Windex, does that mean it’s safe on a ball’s surface? Before you spray this popular product on your bowling ball, you’ve got to check out the research we’ve done on this topic.  

It is safe to use Windex and a microfiber towel to clean your bowling ball. Just keep in mind that Windex is only suitable for a light surface clean. To get rid of oil, you will need to bring your bowling ball to a pro shop or place it in a bucket of hot water for 20 minutes. 

Windex is okay to use on the surface of your ball, but it’s not the most powerful cleaner on the market. If you want to learn more about getting rid of the oil on your bowling ball, keep reading to check out the tips below.

Galloon of windex with bowling ball going down the lane in a five pin bowling alley on the background, Can You Use Windex On A Bowling Ball?

The Safest Cleaning Products For Bowling Balls  

Thankfully, the US Bowling Congress has clear guidelines on what cleaners are safe on bowling balls. Below, we’ll review a few of the most popular products you could use to give your ball a nice shine.           

When Should You Use Windex On A Bowling Ball?

Owned by SC Johnson, Windex is an ammonia-based cleaner that’s most often used to clean glass surfaces. Although Windex is closely associated with glass, it’s now listed as one of the US Bowling Congress’s approved cleaners for bowling balls. 

However, just because Windex is an approved cleaner doesn’t mean it’s an effective de-greaser. Most bowlers only recommend wiping with Windex and a microfiber towel to give your ball a nice shine. You cannot rely on Windex to get rid of oil.

That being said, it’s a good idea for bowlers to have a canister of Windex on hand for a quick polish. 

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Does Rubbing Alcohol Damage Bowling Balls?

Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean the surface of your bowling ball safely. Although rubbing alcohol alone won’t provide a deep clean, it’s an easy way to eliminate bacteria, dirt, and grease.

Some bowling enthusiasts make a DIY cleaning solution by mixing rubbing alcohol with equal parts water and Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner. Put all of these ingredients in a spray bottle, spray it, and wipe your bowling ball with a microfiber towel. 

You can easily find Simple Green products online.

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How Do You Clean A Bowling Ball With Dawn?

Dawn detergent is excellent on dishes, but it also does a fine job keeping your bowling ball clean. Many bowling enthusiasts use a DIY submersion method with hot water and Dawn to get oil off their bowling balls.

Before you try this technique, please tape your ball’s holes with a few pieces of duct tape. Once the duct tape is secured, fill a five-gallon bucket with tap water just below 140° F and a few squirts of Dawn soap. Carefully place your ball in the hot tap water and let it sit for a few minutes. 

After about 15 minutes, run your hands on your bowling ball to check for oil. You could use a microfiber rag to scrub your ball while keeping it submerged in the liquid.

Let the ball sit for another 10 minutes before pulling it out of the water and drying it with a towel. To make sure you’ve got all of the soap off, wash your ball under the sink for a few minutes. Once your bowling ball is dry, spray with rubbing alcohol to clear away any remaining grease.      

Dawn dishwashing liquid is readily available online.

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Should You Clean Your Bowling Ball?

Every time you toss your ball down a well-greased lane, it’s going to absorb some oil. As more oil works its way into your ball, you will notice it starts to roll slower and doesn’t hook as well. For this reason, you must get in the habit of cleaning your bowling ball.

In this section, we’ll give you a few tips on when and how to give your ball a deep clean. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Bowling Ball? 

Choosing when to give your bowling ball a deep clean depends on multiple factors, including how often you bowl, your ball’s material, and how much oil your bowling lane uses. However, no matter what ball you have, you should use a pre-approved bowling ball cleaner after every game. While these cleaners won’t 100 percent eliminate oil, they should improve your bowling ball’s longevity. 

Lane Ghost Bowling Ball Cleaner

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When you notice your ball doesn’t hook like it used to, it’s a good idea to give your bowling ball a deep clean. On average, you should think about giving your ball a deep clean after 50–75 games.

How Do You Remove Oil From A Bowling Ball?

While preventative measures like rubbing alcohol keep oil at bay, there will come a time when your bowling ball needs a deeper clean. The safest way to get rid of oil is to place your bowling ball in a bucket of hot water and Dawn soap for at least 20 minutes.

Please plug your bowling ball’s holes with duct tape beforehand if you use this method. You should also make sure your water temp is just below 140° F to reduce the risk of cracking.

Alternatively, you could bring your bowling ball to a pro shop for a deep clean. Cleaning professionals have specially designed devices that can “bake” the oil off of your bowling ball.  

Can You Put Your Bowling Ball In The Dishwasher?

You could clean your bowling ball in the dishwasher, but you should use this method with great care. Most bowling balls crack when exposed to temperatures above 140° F, so be sure to adjust your water heater before using this strategy.

Once you’ve figured out your water heater’s max temperature, put waterproof duct tape over your ball’s holes and gently place it on the bottom rack. Next, turn on a normal dishwasher cycle without dry heat. Lastly, let the ball sit in your dishwasher for at least two hours before taking it out. 

Can You Put A Bowling Ball In The Oven?

Like the dishwasher technique, you could put your bowling ball in the oven—but that doesn’t mean you should. Indeed, many bowling experts consider the “oven method” the most dangerous way to get oil off of your bowling ball.

If you are going to put your bowling ball in the oven, first place a cookie sheet on the top rack and move the second rack to the bottom. Next, place your bowling ball in the oven and set the temperature to the lowest possible setting. Remember that most bowling balls crack at 140° F, so you need to stay close to your oven and continuously monitor your bowling ball.

After a few minutes, open the oven and pick up your bowling ball with microfiber rags. Rotate your bowling ball and close the oven for about 30 seconds. Repeat this process for no more than five minutes.

On the final heating session, leave your bowling ball in the oven when you shut off the heat. You want your bowling ball to cool off at a slow rate to minimize the risk of cracking. After a few hours, take your ball out of the oven and wipe with your microfiber rag.

While many people use this method, it’s far safer to visit a professional cleaner. Alternatively, you could look into purchasing a baking device, such as Salmon Creek's NuBall, made explicitly for bowling balls.

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Windex Works Well, But Don’t Neglect Other Cleansers  

While Windex is fine for getting rid of a bowling ball’s surface grime, it’s not the best strategy for removing deep-set oil. For a professional clean, you’ll have to use a combination of the methods listed above. Although cleaning may be a chore, it’s the only way to preserve your bowling ball’s peak performance.  

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