Not all bowling balls are created equal, which is why some bowlers opt to bring their own ball to the alley rather than use a house ball. Whether you bowl for fun or competitively, if you bring your own ball, then you need to regularly maintain and clean it. A dirty bowling ball will not perform the same as a clean one. The following guide shows you how to clean a bowling ball and why regular maintenance is important.
Cleaning the Ball
The point of cleaning a bowling ball is to remove the buildup of oil residue. Just follow these steps to strip your ball of excess oil:
- Fill a sink or large bucket with hot water.
- Seal the holes in the ball with water resistant tape.
- Completely submerge the ball in the water and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove the ball from the water and wipe it dry with a microfiber towel. The ball at this point should feel slippery due to the oil coming out of it and getting on the surface.
- Repeat the process after every 30–50 games.
You can also take the ball to a pro shop and have the ball resurfaced. These shops have special polishes and high speed ball spinners that can restore the ball close to its original factory condition.
Why It Matters
Most bowling alleys, such as Frontier Bowling Lanes Inc, periodically oil their lanes to keep the surface smooth. The problem with this is that the ball will absorb some of the oil as it is gliding down the lane. As more oil accumulates on the ball, the more it will gradually lose its ability to grip the surface. The result is a ball that less often goes in the direction the bowler intends for it to go. This is especially the case for bowlers who try to hook the ball by making it glide in a curving motion.
It's also the case that some lanes may not have been oiled enough. This creates a dry surface where the ball can accumulate heat and friction. This gives the ball a sticky surface and will actually cause an excessive hook that often results in a gutter ball.
Regardless, always clean the ball especially if you begin to notice that it is starting to constantly veer off in an unintended direction.
If you don't regularly clean your ball, then you may play an excellent game one day and have an awful game the next despite utilizing the same strategy. Regular cleaning will ensure that your performance doesn't needlessly suffer due to a poorly maintained ball.