Many bowlers overlook the importance of proper bowling ball cleaning. After just a few games, your ball can pick up quite a bit of dirt and grime along the lane and from the ball return, not only dulling its appearance, but also changing the way it handles. For the most thorough cleaning, we think the best bowling ball cleaner is Monster Tac by Bowlingball.com. After comparing eight ball cleaners, we've found it has the best reputation in the industry for its ability to remove oils, marks, and other common build-up. Article Summary
There’s no question that bowling requires a lot of skill. However, even with the best technique in the world, there are still a few other variables at play that can affect your ability to nail a strike. One of the most overlooked, but also one of the most important, is the cleanliness of your bowling ball. With each bowl, your ball picks up traces of dirt along the lane and in the return, and eventually you’ve got a heavy build up of grime that not only physically looks bad, but also affects the ball’s ability to roll and spin. As such, routine cleaning isn’t just recommended, it’s mandatory.
Although there are a number of homemade solutions to clean the surface of your ball, there’s nothing that works quite like a professionally-formulated bowling ball cleaner. The surface of a modern bowling ball is fairly delicate, and professional cleaners do a much better job at maintaining the integrity of the surface while giving your ball a perfect polish that will roll down the lane exactly as you want it to.
We compared eight popular cleaning products to find the all-around best bowling ball cleaner. Our most important priority was finding a product that can easily cut through all types of grime (dirt, oils, belt marks, etc.) while not being too harsh. In this, we also wanted to make sure the cleaner was versatile enough to handle both common surfaces, shiny and dull. After comparing formulas and getting feedback from several professional bowlers, we’ve found the three bowling ball cleaners below to be the most trusted products offering tried and true efficiency.
The best bowling ball cleaner overall
Our top pick comes from bowlingball.com and offers one of the most efficient solutions for bowling ball maintenance. Bowlingball.com has worked hard to come up with a cleaner that is capable of removing all of the dirt, debris, belt marks, and most importantly, lane oil from your bowling ball. The result is Monster Tac Ball Cleaner. This may not be the cheapest cleaner out there, but it is definitely the most proven choice on the market.
Besides its superior cleaning formula, which is used and recommended by thousands of professionals, what makes Monster Tac stand out from its competition is the fact that it is USBC approved. In other words, you are free to use this cleaner before league play, after and even during the event. There aren’t many other cleaning products that can say the same. Once applied to a bowling ball, it doesn’t take long for the formula to penetrate the pores on the surface of the ball. Once it does that, it will bond with all of the dirt and grime. Finally, all you really have to do is wipe it down and you are good to go.
This cleaner comes in two sizes. You have the 4oz bottle and a much larger, 32oz bottle. Which one you will go for depends on the number of bowling balls you need to clean and how often you use the cleaner. If you only have one or two balls, the small 4oz bottle should be more than enough to last for quite awhile. With that said, if you’d rather buy in bulk, the 32oz package offers great value for the money.
One thing that is worth mentioning is that Monster Tac works best if you apply it frequently. While it is a fairly capable solution, you will get optimal results if you don’t allow the ball to get too dirty. In other words, we’d recommend giving your ball a quick wipe down before and after use for best results and to keep your ball in constantly perfect shape.
The reason Monster Tac Ball Cleaner made the top of our list is pretty straightforward: it offers a tried and true formula. Cleaning efficiency was our top priority when choosing the best bowling ball cleaner, and in our opinion, this offers the best efficiency. On top of that, it is USBC approved, meaning that it meets the necessary standards of quality for league use. Although its price tag is a little higher than others, it’s not outside reason, and we think its value is well worth the money.
An equally-great cleaner to try
Our second choice comes from one of the more popular bowling ball manufacturers, DV8. Considering their reputation and level of involvement in the community, it is fair to say that DV8 knows a thing or two about what makes a good bowling ball cleaner. Damn Good Ball Cleaner, the name they have given it, describes pretty perfectly how well this product works. Compared to Monster Tac, it is really hard to see any major difference in performance.
The very first thing you should know about Damn Good cleaner is that it also comes with USBC certification, just like Monster Tac. You can feel free to apply this cleaner before, during and after league events. In terms of performance, DV8’s cleaning solution does a good job at penetrating large sediments of grime and dirt. It removes lane oils as well as belt marks. No matter what kind of coverstock you use, Damn Good cleaner will work on it. It’s that simple.
The 8oz bottle, which is the only size of bottles available, lasts a fairly long time. Considering the price they ask for it, you could say this is a great bang for the buck choice, especially if you have more than one ball that needs frequent cleaning. DV8 recommends that you keep this cleaner in your bag and apply it before and after every bowling session. With that said, it’s also important to note that Damn Good cleaner was not designed specifically for DV8 balls and works equally as well on just about any brand out there.
The only reason why we have chosen the Monster Tac for our top pick over DV8’s Damn Good Cleaner is because of MT’s proven track record. Otherwise, Damn Good cleaner is pretty much on point and will give you equally good results as Monster Tac. On top of that, its competitive price makes it a perfect choice for budget users or those who perform more frequent maintenance (as any bowler should!).
A cleaner that focuses on increased tac
Last but not least, we have to mention Neo-Tac Hook It. Compared to our previous two choices, this one isn’t quite as effective when it comes to actually cleaning the ball. However, that is not what Neo-Tac’s Hook It is best known for. You could consider this to be more of a “performance booster” in a way.
First thing first, Hook It comes in a 6oz spray bottle. Considering the price you are asked to pay, that is a pretty good bargain. As mentioned above, its performance as a cleaner is average at best. Hook It will remove a good portion of grime and lane oils from your ball, but is not as effective as our previous two choices. This probably has you wondering why we even included this cleaner on the list? Well, there one small detail that gives it an edge over other cleaning products: it significantly increases tac.
The best way we would recommend for you to apply Neo-Tec’s Hook It is to first clean the ball with one of the two other cleaners from this guide. Once you are done, spray some Hook It and wipe the ball down. Doing so will keep your bowling balls clean and give them an edge. Best of all, this product is also USBC approved as well so there are no limitations on when and where you can apply it to your balls.
Overall, Neo-Tac Hook It is one of the few cosmetic products you and your bowling balls can definitely benefit from. It may not work as well as our other choices at actually cleaning the ball, but for an extra edge, we think it’s worth adding to the polishing routine.
How we picked our top three
The market for bowling ball cleaners is saturated with all kinds of products. As usual, some of them work, while others not so much. Every brand out there claims their cleaner is the best you can find, but practical results often show otherwise. Below are some of the things we looked at when comparing products to ensure we chose cleaners that were actually worth the money.
With bowling ball cleaners, reputation is the single most important metric you can base your decision on. What is on the label and what you can read on manufacturer’s website is borderline useless. A good cleaner is going to be the one that has been tried and tested numerous times by a large sample of the user base. This was our main criteria when choosing the best bowling ball cleaners. Every cleaner you see on this list, including that Neo-Tac solution, meets this requirement.
Bowling balls comes in a variety of different coverstocks. There are some cleaning products that claim to be made for one or the other, but the truth is, a proper cleaning formula should be able to handle any type without an issue. We chose only the cleaners that were universal in terms of coverstock application, because we know that as a bowler, it’s common that you may have balls with multiple types.
The price of the cleaner was the next important thing we were looking for. Proper bowling ball maintenance is done frequently, especially if you are an active player. That means you will be oing through a decent amount of cleaning product on a monthly basis. If you buy only expensive cleaners, your wallet will probably start to feel the pressure sooner rather than later. On the other hand, going super cheap is probably even worse as the results of your cleaning efforts usually aren’t going to be good enough. To find a good middle-ground, we chose cleaners that have proven performance but also come at a reasonable price.
Things to consider before buying
Bowling ball cleaners are usually pretty straightforward, but it’s always recommended to apply some caution when buying and using one. Not every cleaning solution is made equal, and depending on how active you are as a bowler or your preference with balls, you might need to look for more specific cleaners. Here are some things you should consider before making a decision.
How many bowling balls do you have?
The number of bowling balls is a good metric to use in order to determine the quantity of cleaner you need on average. Those who have 5 or more balls will benefit greatly from a larger bottle, while those who have one or two balls should be fine with a smaller quantity of bowling ball cleaner. In some ways, owning numerous bowling balls makes shopping for a cleaner a much easier process. Value packs, such as the 32oz bottle from Monster Tac, are going to save you a lot of money in the long run. Especially if you clean your balls before and after every use.
What type of ball do you have?
Not all bowling balls are made equal. This also means that different types of bowling balls require different cleaning schedules. If you have a very aggressive ball that is your main choice, you will need a good cleaner and lots of it. These type of bowling balls require very frequent cleaning if you plan on keeping them in optimal shape. On the other hand, less aggressive bowling balls will do just fine with a standard cleaning routine.
Why you should clean your bowling balls
Modern bowling balls are high-performance tools in a very competitive sport. As such, they have a certain edge. Maintaining this edge can dictate how your ball will behave on the bowling lane. For some examples, here are just a few of the most important reasons why proper and frequent maintenance is necessary.
Maintain peak performance
We have already mentioned that every bowling ball, no matter what type, has a certain edge. Maintaining that edge is not an easy task. The only real way to get this done is to clean the ball frequently. It may sound like a lot of maintenance if you’re don’t currently actively clean your bowling balls, but once you get in the habit of things, it’s quick and painless and will keep your ball (and your game) at peak performance.
Impact on your technique
As a bowling ball becomes dirty, its dynamics tend to change. One thing that happens very often with players who don’t take good care of their balls, is the change in their technique. Here’s how it works. The concentration of dirt, oils and other debris on the ball alters its behavior. This means it won’t have the tac, nor the usual trajectory you are used to. Over time, you will subconsciously start to compensate for this change. By the time you’ve figured out that your ball is more or less completely out of balance, your technique could be significantly off, especially if you’ve mastered the art of hooking the ball.
These changes are very subtle and take a long time to reach a critical level. However, they do happen. Proper bowling ball maintenance will eliminate the risk of you having to deal with any impact on your finely-tuned technique.
When to clean bowling balls
Knowing when to clean your bowling ball can make your maintenance routine that much easier. If you are frequently bowling, we highly recommend that you clean the ball before use and right after you have left the bowling alley. While you are there, keep a microfiber rug in your bag and wipe the ball down between every shot. Doing so will remove a good portion of any lane oils that have transferred to the ball. The worst thing you can do is finish bowling, pack a dirty ball in your bag and forget about for a week.
Proper bowling ball care and storage
The process of cleaning a bowling ball is easy but still requires you taking certain, well-defined steps. In this portion of your guide, we are going to show you how to properly clean a bowling ball and get the best results.
Step 1: Assess the condition of the ball
If you haven’t cleaned or used your bowling ball in a long time, it is recommended that you inspect the ball before cleaning it. The reason for this is that inspection can reveal whether or not the ball has a high concentration of oils on it. If that is the case, taking the ball down to shop and having them remove the oils with a machine might be necessary.
Step 2: Apply the cleaning solution
Take your bottle of bowling ball cleaner and apply it over the surface of the ball. Leave the cleaner to react with the surface for a few minutes, or for however long is specified by the manufacturer. Next, take a clean microfiber towel and start wiping the ball while making sure that every portion of the coverstock comes into contact with the towel.
Step 3: Inspect The Ball Once More
The previous step is going to remove all of the lane oils from the ball. However, some more persistent marks might need to be buffed out in another pass. This is why you should always inspect the ball after you have removed the oils from its surface. If you do end up finding marks on the ball, repeat the previous step until all of the dirt and debris are gone.
Step 4: Proper Storage
Once your bowling ball has been cleaned, you will want to store it away as soon as you can, ideally in a way that does not give it any outside exposure. Leaving it out in the open exposes the coverstock to dust and other particles you don’t want to have on it.
Wrapping it up
At the end of the day, proper maintenance is the most important thing you can do to prolong the life of your bowling balls. There are many ways to do it, but using a professional cleaner has proven to be the most effective (and honestly, the easiest) way. If you haven’t cleaned your bowling ball in a while, take the time to give it a nice, thorough cleaning – and once you’re done, make it a habit to wipe it down after each game.