Can You Use Car Polish On Your Bowling Balls?


Is your bowling ball too dirty and dull? Have you asked yourself if the car wax you have at home would suit your bowling ball? 

The answer to the question of whether you can use car polish on your bowling ball is no. It is best to use specialized products for this sport. If you are looking to save money, be aware that using car polish or wax can damage your ball, and in the long run, it will impact your game.

The main reason you have to want to use car wax on your bowling ball is that it’s cheap, and you probably already have it on hand. Using a product other than those strictly recommended may be the worst solution, and affordable can sometimes be more expensive in the long run.

Can You Wax A Bowling Ball?

The main component of car wax is wax. And although not visible to the naked eye, bowling balls have pores just like our faces.

The wax makes the ball shine, but the wax will also clog your pores, causing it not to perform as well as it should. You can wax a bowling ball with car wax, but it is not recommended at all.

The clogged pores of the bowling ball will cause it to move very poorly on the lane as if it were a cheap plastic ball that has no grip or control.

If you insist on using a car product on the bowling ball, at least try to use wax-free items. These cart polishes have very fine particles that also help remove grease from the ball.

These items typically remove dust, dirt, and oils, shine the ball, and do not clog its pores because they do not contain wax. But to be sure this is true, read the label of the products you want to use.

Does A Waxed Ball Behave Differently?

When you polish a bowling ball with car wax, you take away its skid and friction when rolling on the lane. This causes the bowling ball to deviate from its intended direction and to lose power when hitting the pins.

The other big question is, how long does the polish on the bowling ball last? The answer is 6 to 12 games. If you can’t stand to play this way, you should do a deep cleaning of the ball. 

Removing the wax from the ball may require several cleanings until there is no residue in the pores.

What Products Can You Legally Use On A Bowling Ball?

It is mandatory to use products that are deemed legal to compete at the professional level. 

The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) is the organization that approves products.

Some of the bowling ball polishing products are:

  • Griot’s Garage Complete Polish
  • Meguiar’s Ultimate Polish
  • 3M Marine Compound and Finishing Material
  • Turtle Wax Renew-X Rubbing Compound
  • Glide Bowling Ball Polish

Is It Possible To Polish A Urethane Bowling Ball?

Bowling balls made of a material called urethane are very difficult to polish. 

This material causes the ball to have more pores than a traditional ball, and this causes it to not feel as smooth as most.

Because of this, they are bowling balls that need a specific product to polish them. The best urethane ball polish is Lane #1’s Secret Sauce. 

Is It Possible To Polish A Plastic Bowling Ball?

Any product that specializes in bowling will polish plastic balls. 

Plastic balls are different than resin or urethane balls, so you don’t have to worry about the polishing product,

Plastic balls are recommended for beginners because they are very easy to use.

Steps To Polish A Bowling Ball At Home

If you prefer to polish your bowling ball yourself instead of taking it to a bowling center, follow these steps:

  1. Dry the surface of the ball with a microfiber towel
  2. Apply a special bowling enamel to each side of the ball
  3. Rub the glaze in a circular motion on the surface with your fingers
  4. Polish the ball with a microfiber towel until all the glaze is removed and the ball is shiny

Steps To Do A Deep Cleaning Of The Bowling Ball At Home

You may want to do a home deep cleaning of your bowling ball for two reasons:

  1. To keep the ball in excellent condition
  2. To remove the car wax residue left by polishing it with this non-approved product

To do this homemade method, you will need the following materials:

  • Household hand towel
  • Dishwashing liquid 
  • Waterproof masking tape
  • A large bucket that will submerge the ball entirely
  • A microfiber towel

The steps to follow to do this deep cleaning are as follows:

  1. Tape the holes in the ball with waterproof tape. It must cover them so that the water does not pass through
  2. Fill the water bucket with enough hot water to cover the entire ball when submerged. The water should have a temperature of 60°C
  3. Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the water, stir until bubbles come out
  4. Introduce the ball into the bucket slowly. It should be completely underwater
  5. Let the bowling ball soak for at least 20 minutes, turn it every so often 
  6. After 20 minutes, remove the ball from the water very carefully because it will be slippery.
  7. Dry the ball very well with a hand towel
  8. Soak the ball again until you see no oil rising to the surface of the water and soap
  9. Remove the adhesive tape from the holes, clean that area with the hand towel, and make sure there is no glue left behind
  10. Use the microfiber towel to shine the bowling ball and remove any remaining lint

Can I Make My Own Homemade Bowling Ball Cleaner?

In the spirit of saving money, you can make a homemade degreaser in a very easy way.

All you need is a bottle of isopropyl alcohol and tap water. To make the degreaser, mix one-third of the alcohol with the same amount of water.

  • Place the alcohol and water mixture in a clean spray bottle. Spray the degreaser directly onto the bowling ball.
  • Use a hand towel to wipe the bowling ball until it is completely dry.
  • Repeat all the steps again using a clean towel for each repetition until the ball is free of dirt.
  • The last step is to rub the ball with a microfiber cloth to give it a shine.

How Can I Keep My Ball From Getting Dirty?

There are ways to prevent your bowling ball from accumulating so much oil and dirt. Prevention will help keep your ball shiny and make cleaning easier.

Bowling lanes are the main cause of ball oil and dirt buildup. These lanes are covered with large layers of oil that cause the balls to roll.

The problem is that all this oil accumulates in the pores of the balls and causes the dirt to stick to your ball.

All this translates into a dirty ball that does not perform well and will cause your playing score to drop.

In this situation, the most important thing to do is to clean the ball when the oil is still fresh. You should carry a microfiber towel to clean the ball every time you play. 

Microfiber cloths have the advantage of being a fabric that does not shed threads or allow lint to stick.

All this doesn’t sound very pleasant, but it is essential to clean the ball at the end of each game. It is also a routine that, if maintained, can help improve delivery and game results.

The Most Economical Way To Keep Your Bowling Ball In Excellent Condition

The formula for good bowling ball maintenance is always to carry a bottle of alcohol with water.

The friction of the ball with the lane makes its temperature rise during the game. This heat causes the pores of the ball to enlarge, making it easier to remove the dirt and oil at the end of each game.

You have to moisten a clean towel with alcohol and rub the ball clean at the end of the game. Once the bowling ball is clean, use a dry towel to remove any remaining moisture until it is completely dry.

A Final Thought On Polishing Bowling Balls

Playing a sport requires dedication and commitment. One of the ways to prove this commitment is to do things right from the start. Taking care of the equipment we use for our sports practice is the first step to know that we like it.

Car waxes are for cars and do not work the same as a product designed for bowling balls.

The only reason to use these products is economy and convenience, but do not expect the best performance from your ball.

Only specialized products for this sport can guarantee a good result. 

If you want to take bowling seriously, you must take care of your bowling ball and keep it in excellent condition.

Tim C, M.D.

My grandfather and my mother both taught me bowling in the early 1970’s. I spent the next few decades working my way up to the top tiers of local amateur bowling leagues, and continued to participate in college at the club level. My wife and bowled in coed leagues before kids, and then taught our kids bowling as they grew up. Now I’m here to answer some of the web’s common questions about bowling rules, techniques, equipment and more. To see more about the site, check our About Page

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