You’ve done the research and invested in a bowling ball to help you take your game to the next level. But, in order to get the most out of your ball, you need to keep it clean.
Bowling balls are known for their shiny, spotless surfaces, but it may not look completely spotless after a night at the alley. The ball can get oil from your hands or the lane on it, or it can get scuff marks or even pick up dirt. While these particles may be so small as to be invisible in some cases, they can still affect the performance of your bowling ball. After all, it just takes a little bit of dirt to change how the surface of your ball interacts with the surface of the lane, affecting everything from speed to spin.
Thankfully, keeping your bowling ball clean is simple and inexpensive if you have the best bowling ball cleaner. You can use a bowling ball cleaner after every time you take your ball out to the lanes to keep it in like-new condition and ready for the next time you bowl.
In this guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about choosing the right bowling ball cleaner for your ball. We’ll also highlight eight of the best bowling ball cleaners on the market today, plus some of our favorite brands that are known to make consistently high-quality cleaning products.
Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Bowling Ball Cleaner
Choosing a bowling ball cleaner is significantly easier than figuring out which bowling ball will most contribute to your score. But, there are still a few important things you need to consider when picking a cleaning product. Let’s take a look at some of the most critical features.
- USBC Approval
The United States Bowling Congress is the sport’s governing body in the US. If you participate in USBC bowling tournaments, you need to go out of your way to make sure you don’t run afoul of this regulator. Only USBC-approved bowling ball cleaners are allowed to be used in professional tournaments – if you’re caught using a non-USBC-approved cleaner, you could actually be disqualified.
The good news is that most trustworthy bowling ball cleaners have earned USBC approval. The company’s seal also indicates that the cleaner has been tested, which ensures that you can trust your ball to that cleaning product.
- Cleaner Composition
The majority of bowling ball cleaners are alcohol-based, since alcohol is safe to use with every bowling ball surface and does a pretty good job of removing dirt, grime, and lane oil. Most popular bowling ball cleaners also include a degreasing chemical or emulsifier to more effectively remove lane oil from the surface of your ball. The only chemicals you need to watch out for are acetone and methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), which can damage the surface of urethane bowling balls.
Some bowling ball cleaners are designed to be environmentally friendly, which is a plus. These cleaners won’t have the harsh chemical smell of traditional cleaners – because they don’t have the same harsh chemicals in the first place.
- Bottle Size
Some bowling ball cleaners are only available in a tiny bottle, leaving you to purchase more cleaner every few weeks. Others come in gallon-sized jugs only, making it hard to bring your cleaner with you to the lanes so you can wipe down your ball at the end of your game.
Thankfully, many bowling ball cleaners come in multiple bottle sizes, so you can choose how much you need based on how frequently you bowl. Just keep in mind that you typically get a discount for a larger bottle.
- Expiration Date
You don’t have to worry much about the expiration date when buying a new bowling ball cleaner, but it’s important to take into account if you already have an old bottle of cleaner lying around. Once a ball cleaner is past its expiration date, your best bet is to simply throw it out. Chemicals can change form or become more reactive over time, meaning that they can degrade the surface of your ball rather than clean it after enough time passes.
Our Reviews: 8 Best Bowling Ball Cleaners on the Market 2020
1. Pyramid Monster Tac Bowling Ball Cleaner – Best Cleaner for Reactive Balls
The Monster Tac bowling ball cleaner is a USBC-approved cleaner designed for highly reactive bowling balls. In addition to cleaning dirt and oil from your ball, the cleaner adds some stickiness to the exterior of the ball that gives it more grip on the lane surface. As a result, any spin you add to the ball during your bowl will translate into a more powerful break down the lane.
This cleaner is safe for use with all types of coverstocks, although Pyramid doesn’t publicize the chemicals that go into the ball. There’s no alcohol odor, but the cleaner does smell pretty harshly of chemicals. Depending on how much cleaner you need, you can buy this in a 4, 8, or 32-ounce spray bottle. The 4- and 8-ounce bottles are a bit pricey, but the 32-ounce bottle offers an attractive deal.
- Adds tackiness to your bowling ball
- Perfect for reactive resin and proactive balls
- Multiple sizes available
- Comes in spray bottle
- Smaller bottles are somewhat expensive
- No ingredient list available
2. Hammer Bowling Remove All Bowling Ball Cleaner – Best Budget Bowling Ball Cleaner
This USBC-approved ball cleaner from Hammer is a great choice for bowlers on a budget. It’s not the most effective cleaner in the world – it leaves you ball a bit too sticky and doesn’t get rid of scuff marks as easily as other cleaners. In addition, the cleaner comes in a somewhat strangely labeled bottle that makes it look as if you’re buying cleaner from a wholesaler. But, the 8-ounce bottle is incredibly inexpensive compared to its competitors, which is a big plus if you go through a lot of ball cleaner.
Hammer doesn’t reveal what ingredients go into this cleaner. However, it has the harsh chemical smell that’s familiar to anyone who’s used another bowling ball cleaner in the past. The cleaner is designed to be safe for plastic, urethane, and reactive resin coverstocks, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility with your ball.
- Works with most bowling balls
- Very inexpensive
- Comes in a spray bottle
- Leaves your ball somewhat sticky
- Bottle is not marked with Hammer branding
- No information about ingredients
3. Storm Reacta Clean Bowling Ball Cleaner – Best Large-volume Ball Cleaner
If you go through a lot of bowling ball cleaners – either because you’re a frequent bowler or you’re cleaning balls for the whole family – this cleaner from Storm Reacta comes in a one-gallon bottle. Most other cleaners aren’t available in more than 32-ounce bottles, if even that, so this can save you a lot of money in the long run. Just make sure you’re able to use all of the cleaner before its expiration date.
The Storm Reacta cleaner is USBC-approved and does a nice job of cleaning off oil, dirt, and most common grime your ball picks up at the alley. It also has some tackiness to it, which helps it restore spin to reactive resin bowling balls. Like other cleaner manufacturers, Storm doesn’t offer details about what’s inside the bottle – but it smells strongly of alcohol, as you’d expect. The only thing to keep in mind with this large-volume cleaner is that you’ll want to purchase a spray bottle for it to disperse it onto your ball.
- Available in one-gallon volume
- Adds tackiness to your ball
- Designed with reactive resin balls in mind
- Relatively inexpensive
- Doesn’t come with spray bottle
- No information about ingredients
4. Bowlingball Bowling Ball Cleaning Kit – Best Bowling Ball Cleaning Kit
This handy cleaning kit from Bowlingball.com is compact enough to throw into your bowling ball bag and take to the lanes. It includes a four-ounce bottle of Monster Tac ball cleaner, an applicator pad, and a microfiber towel that you can use to remove excess cleaner and wipe down your ball. All in all, it’s everything you need to give your ball a thorough cleaning in between games.
The Monster Tac cleaner itself is the same USBC-approved cleaner produced by Pyramid. It’s perfect for reactive balls thanks to the tackiness it adds to your ball, but it can be used on any coverstock without a problem.
The downside to this cleaning kit is that it’s somewhat expensive. At the end of the day, you’re spending more on a four-ounce bottle of cleaner than you would for an eight-ounce bottle of Monster Tac on its own.
- Includes applicator pad and microfiber towel
- Compact enough to fit in your bowling ball bag
- Comes with Monster Tac cleaner
- Works for any coverstock
- Expensive for the amount of cleaner you get
5. Tac Up Bowling Ball Cleaner – Best for Reactive Resin Bowling Balls
This tacky bowling ball cleaner from Tac Up is the ideal cleaner for reactive resin balls. It’s designed to restore the stickiness of reactive resin, which has a tendency to quickly accumulate lane oil over the course of a set. Tac Up’s cleaner not only removes this oil, but also works very effectively at removing grime and scuff marks from the ball belt.
The cleaner is USBC-approved, so it’s safe to use it in professional tournaments. The only real downside to the Tac Up cleaner is that it’s only available in an eight-ounce spray bottle. Given that reactive resin balls should be cleaned after every game, you can run through an entire bottle of this cleaner very quickly.
- Ideal for reactive resin bowling balls
- Restores tackiness to enhance spin
- Effective at removing dirt and grime
- Only available in eight-ounce bottle
- Somewhat pricey
6. Motiv Power Gel Clean – Best Gel Bowling Ball Cleaner
This gel bowling ball cleaner from Motiv does a very impressive job of restoring your ball to like-new conditions. It’s much easier to get lane oil in particular off of your ball’s coverstock with this cleaner than with standard liquid cleaners. Of course, Motiv Power Gel Clean is USBC-approved to work with any coverstock, so it’s safe to use for professional tournaments. In addition, while Motiv doesn’t give details on the ingredients, this cleaner is environmentally friendly and doesn’t have a harsh chemical smell.
Since this cleaner is a gel rather than a liquid, you only need to apply a tiny bit to your ball each time you use it. So, the 16-ounce bottle lasts for at least several months and often longer for most bowlers. That makes the price – which is in line with what most 8-ounce bottles of liquid cleaner cost – very attractive.
- Comes as a gel rather than liquid
- Very effective at removing oil
- Environmentally friendly
- 16-ounce bottle lasts for a long time
- Can be difficult to get off if you apply too much
7. That Purple Stuff Bowling Ball Cleaner – Overall Best Bowling Ball Cleaner
That Purple Stuff is distinguished by its color – it’s a bright shade of purple – but also by its price. This cleaner is surprisingly expensive for a small eight-ounce bottle. But, bowlers are consistently willing to pay the premium for this cleaner because it’s simply the most effective option on the market.
It’s hard to overstate how effective this bowling ball cleaner is at restoring the spin and speed of bowling balls, and reactive resin balls in particular. Professionals routinely rely on this cleaner thanks to its quality – you can see many bowlers at USBC tournaments applying it between sets. Just keep in mind you’ll need an application pad to use with this cleaner, as it doesn’t come in a spray bottle.
- Incredibly effective ball cleaner
- Trusted by many professional bowlers
- Quickly restores spin to reactive resin balls
- Very expensive
- Requires an application pad
8. Bowlerstore Products Tac Up Bowling Ball Cleaner – Best Biodegradable Bowling Ball Cleaner
The Tac Up cleaner from Bowlerstore products is a great option for urethane and reactive resin balls, although it works nicely for any coverstock. The reason it performs so well for those two coverstock materials in particular is that the cleaner adds a significant amount of tackiness to your ball’s surface at the same time as it removes grime and oil. So, you get more spin and more reaction from your ball when you need it.
At the same time, this cleaner is free of harsh chemicals. It’s fully biodegradable, making it one of the most eco-friendly bowling ball cleaners we’ve seen.
The USBC-approved cleaner comes in a 32-ounce bottle, which can be capped with either a standard cap or a spray nozzle for easy application. The price is pretty reasonable, too – it’s right in the middle of the price range for 32-ounce bottles of the most popular bowling ball cleaners.
The Top Bowling Ball Cleaner Brands
One of the best ways to ensure you’re getting a top-quality bowling ball cleaner is to look for products made by trusted brands. A lot of bowling ball cleaner companies are familiar names in the world of bowling, but some are cleaning companies with product lines for bowlers.
Although Brunswick’s bowling ball cleaners didn’t make our list of the top cleaners in 2020, this is a ubiquitous company in bowling with a strong reputation. Brunswick’s cleaners are known for restoring your ball’s shiny polish in addition to removing dirt and oil. Just watch out for high prices, as this company can be a bit expensive.
Monster designs a wide range of bowling ball cleaning products. The company’s product line has one important thing in common: versatility. All of the company’s cleaners can be safely used with any bowling ball coverstock material, and they’re designed to clean your ball, add back tackiness, and give it a shiny gleam all at the same time.
If you have a reactive resin bowling ball, Storm offers a variety of high-quality cleaners made with your ball in mind. The company’s focus is on restoring the stickiness that reactive resin needs to spin properly on the lane. Most of Storm’s cleaners are available in a wide variety of bottle sizes, making it easy to get the amount you need and the discount you want.
Frequently Asked Questions
Properly cleaning your bowling ball can improve your performance and help extend the life of your ball. Cleaners are generally inexpensive to purchase and simple to apply, so there’s no excuse not to clean your bowling ball. Thanks to our guide to the eight best bowling ball cleaners on the market in 2020, you can give your ball a thorough cleaning and improve your chances of bowling a strike on every frame.