Last Updated on April 4, 2020 by Jake
If you’re a bowling enthusiast, then it’s a no brainer to own your own bowling ball. Having a personal ball hugely improves your game and consistency. With your personal ball, you can ensure that the finger holes fit you perfectly.
Additionally, you can get the best ball to optimize your strokes. While most house balls have plastic (polyester) coverstock, your personal ball can have top quality coverstock such as urethane or reactive resin. Below we will dive into how to clean a bowling ball and a bowling ball surface guide.
Since bowling balls are costly purchases, it is important that you take good care of them if you wish to get the best out of them – both performance-wise and longevity-wise. Performing basic bowling ball surface maintenance is not complicated. Maintenance usually takes little to no time and yet reaps wonderful benefits. There are a few relatively cheap pieces of equipment necessary to take care of your bowling ball, which we will touch on later in this bowling ball surface guide.
Before we dive into the maintenance aspect, it is important that you know the basics of a bowling ball. Let’s start with the parts of a bowling ball.
Parts and Forms of Bowling Balls
While bowling balls can be categorized into many types and in many ways, the two basic forms of bowling balls are the two-piece and the three-piece.
The names of the two forms of bowling balls came from the construction of the bowling ball. The two-piece consist of a core, an outer core and a coverstock (cores and a coverstock). The three-piece consists of a filler material, a weight block, and a coverstock.
Types of Bowling Ball Coverstocks
Understanding coverstock is an important piece of the bowling ball surface guide as it plays a huge role in how the ball rolls and reacts as it slides down the bowling lane. As such, it is important that we look at the materials that go into the making of the coverstock as well as the types of coverstock.
The types of coverstock include – polyester (plastic) coverstock, a urethane coverstock, and reactive resin coverstock (reactive resin coverstock can be further categorized into reactive solid coverstock, reactive hybrid coverstock, and reactive pearl coverstock). Another type is the coverstock that goes into the creation of particle balls. Although this is a recent innovation, particle balls are quickly gaining popularity.
In addition, coverstock surfaces can be polished or sanded. This hugely affects how the ball moves.
Polished Bowling Balls
With polished coverstock, the friction between the ball and the floor is minimized. Because of this, the ball will travel further down the lane before it hooks.
Sanded Bowling Balls
Conversely, with sanded coverstock, the friction between the ball and the lane surface is maximized. As such, the ball hooks earlier in its path down the lane.
Sanding the bowling ball is beneficial because the process removes blemishes, scratches and dirt. When sanding your bowling ball a grit pad is used. This is discussed further down in this article.
To ensure your ball is always in the best condition. A maintenance schedule is important. This schedule needs to be followed methodically to ensure you get the best results when you bowl.
A good maintenance schedule for cleaning your bowling ball is:
- After every 10 games, you should polish shiny bowling balls. Dull bowling balls, on the other hand, have to be scuff after every 10 games.
- After every 30 games, you should scuff and polish shiny bowling balls.
- After every 60 games, it is important that the bowling ball is fully resurfaced. The finger inserts also need to be replaced. This will ensure you get the best out of your ball.
These steps should be repeated all the time to ensure your bowling ball is always ready to go. If a proper bowling ball cleaning schedule is adhered to, your bowling ball will last you a long time.
How to Clean a Bowling Ball
As you may already know, maintenance practices include involves cleaning, scuffing, polishing, baking, bathing and resurfacing. Let’s start by covering cleaning your bowling ball.
The oil on the lane is absorbed by the bowling ball over time. This oil absorption can cause the ball to lose grip and affect your game negatively. A bowling ball can be cleaned at a pro shop, but we think it’s better to put tender love and care into your bowling ball yourself!
Wipe Your Ball During and After the Gameball towel
During play, you can use a ball towel to wipe the oil off the ball. This towel needs to be cleaned or changed after every game. This will ensure oil buildup isn’t transferred back to the ball.
The bowling ball towel needs to be microfiber and lint free. While the lint-free feature ensures the pieces and threads of the cloth isn’t transferred to the ball, the microfiber feature protects the ball’s finish.
After every play or stroke, you can use the towel to whip oil off the ball. The warmth from the friction of the bowling lane makes cleaning easier and more effective. Also, little rubbing alcohol or cleaning agent can be applied to the towel. You should use a dry towel to whip out any rubbing alcohol residue left on the ball.
The longer it takes before cleaning, the deeper the oils seep into the ball making it tough to remove. As such, you need to clean the ball regularly and right after a game.
In this bowling ball surface guide we recommend deep cleaning after about 50 to 100 games. The number of times you do a deep clean depends on how oily the lanes are at the local bowling alley. In addition, if you notice the movement of your ball has changed then it likely needs a deep clean.
Deep cleaning is effectively ‘pulling oil out of the ball’. As time goes on, the oil on the lanes seeps deep into the ball. With time, the oil builds up and affects play. You can do a deep cleaning can at home or at a pro shop.
Bowling Ball Deep Cleaning At Home
This is done by submerging your ball in hot water.waterproof tape
- First, you need to cover the finger holes. This is to prevent water from entering them, as water can damage the holes. Cover the holes with two layers of waterproof tape.
- Place the bowling ball in a bucket of hot water. The water may contain mild degreasing detergent. Never use abrasive or corrosive detergent.
- The ball should sit in the water for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, take the ball out of the water and dry it off using a lint-free microfiber cloth. Dry the ball before removing the tape to prevent water from dripping into the finger holes.
The theory behind this method is that, since oil is lighter than water, oil and dirt will lift off the ball and into the water.
At a Pro Shop Using Specialized Ball-Cleaning Machine
You can also take your ball to a pro shop for deep cleaning. An oil extraction machine is used to remove the oil. Before the deep cleaning commences, you can have the ball cleaned by a professional at the pro shop. This cleaning typically is low-priced and a great idea if you are nervous about doing a deep clean at home. A deep cleaning usually takes about an hour or so.
Importance of Resurfacing Your Bowling Ball
Apart from polishing and cleaning your ball, it is also important to resurface it, since this restores the ball’s pores and maintains the ball’s grip and hook. This should be done after every 60 games or so. Resurfacing your bowling ball regularly and periodically ensures the ball is always in great condition. This is essential for any bowler who plays frequently or at an intermediate level.
As time passes, the microscopic pores on the surface of a bowling ball smooth out. This reduces the traction/friction between the ball and the lane. It affects the hook-ability of the ball and can negatively impact your game.
Additionally, resurfacing removes scratches as well as oil embedded in the ball which is a huge component of the bowling ball surface guide.
How to Sand Your Bowling Ball
Understanding how to sand your bowling ball is a key to any good bowling ball surface guide. You can use grit pads (abralon sanding pads) to alter the surface of the ball. This will influence the movement of the ball. Choosing the right grit pad depends on how you want your ball to move, hook and react.
360-grit followed by 1000-grit: First, the ball is sanded using a 360-grit pad. This is followed by a 1000-grit pad. The finish achieved by this sanding technique is best for heavy patterns with fresh back-ends. The finish enables the ball to generate traction on heavily oiled lanes.
500-grit followed by 2000-grit: This finish defers hook transition and enables for strong entry angles. The finish allows the ball to have sufficient surface exposure for balls to generate traction on lightly to moderately oiled surfaces while ensuring that the bowling ball doesn’t read the lane too early.
500-grit: Sanding with this allows the ball to read the lane very early. This finish is best on heavy patterns. Bowlers who prefer to bowl with a direct line to the pocket can benefit from sanding with 500-grit pads as it gives balls plenty of traction.
Bowling Ball Surface Guide – Wrap Up
When bowling ball maintenance is neglected, it can ruin your game and your score. This makes ball surface maintenance essential. We hope this bowling ball surface guide will ensure longevity to your bowling ball along with many more strikes!
Last update on 2021-09-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API