How Often To Clean Billiard Balls (Here’s Answer)


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If you have ever played pool in some dingy place, you may understand how uncomfortable and frustrating it is, especially if the equipment too were unkempt. Although most people may overlook the importance of keeping the pool accessories clean, it is actually an important practice. Consider the daily dust  and oil residue from regular handling of the balls for instance, which may eventually make the balls lose their color and shine. Thus, you must clean the billiard balls.

This begs the question, how often should you clean the balls? If you are a keen pool owner, you may want to clean the cue ball right after every frame or practice session. This doesn’t end there; at least every week, give the entire set a thorough cleaning. This is not only the balls but also the cue, the pocket bumpers, as well as the triangle.

In this article, we will discuss why billiard balls need cleaning, how to clean them and other related questions. Keep reading for deeper insight.

Why Do You Need To Clean Your Billiard Balls?

We have already mentioned how dust, oil from touching and even chalk can make the balls splotchy, lose color as well as their shine if not cleaned off regularly.

Additionally, the dirt and grime on the balls can be transferred to the felt of the table, making it dirty. This will call for regular cleaning of the felt, of course accelerating its wear and tear.

Dirty balls do affect playability due to imbalance in weight. The ball will not flow properly in the intended direction. Even contact with the cue ball itself will be inconsistent if the surface of the ball is dirty.

Thus, to minimize the wear and tear on the table, and have consistent playability, while at the same time maintaining the balls to their shiny look, cleaning is the solution.

How to Clean Billiard Balls

It is important that you clean your billiard balls the right way, otherwise you may ending up doing them more harm than good. Phenolic resin billiard ball will need special cleaning products such as Aramith Ball Cleaner. The best thing is that phenolic resin is slick and durable, and a simple wipe-down would be enough to keep it clean.

Below is the general procedure for cleaning other billiard ball materials such as polyester and plastic.

  • First, clean the sink or bucket that you intend to use.
  • Fill it with lukewarm water and add a mild detergent
  • Soak in the billiard balls in for five minutes. If your sink or bucket is small, put in a few billiard balls at a time to avoid the balls knocking each other while in the water.
  • After 5 minutes, scrub the balls one after another using a microfiber cloth or soft rag.
  • Proceed to drying them properly using a dry clean towel.

See Also: How to Clean a Pool Table Brush?

The Don’ts of Washing Billiard Balls

Never attempt washing billiard balls in a dishwasher. Disregard any advice about using a dishwasher for billiard ball cleaning because this will cause irreversible damage to your balls. The material used for the manufacture of billiard balls, usually phenolic resin, or a blend of polyester resin does not go hand in hand with the heat in the dishwashing cycle.

The surface appearance as well as the shine will be affected and the warrant will be voided once the manufacturer establishes that the balls were put in a dishwasher, which by the way is very easy to tell.

Ensure that you are using mild detergent or gentle soap with warm water not too hot. Hot water again will damage the surface while strong detergent will be too abrasive on the balls.

Do not leave the balls to air dry, as this will leave spots. Use a towel to dry and ensure that you have dried them thoroughly leaving no marks.

Never use bleach, as it may leave behind a residue of pink dots that may be difficult to remove.

Dealing with Billiard Ball Discoloration/Yellowing

With time, you may notice your billiard balls lose color on the white parts and yellowing in a way. The yellowing is due to exposure to elements such as heat, UV light, and air, making the resin to break down forming the off-white yellowish appearance.

The yellowing does not affect the game in any way, thus it is nothing to be worried about. The only cause for concern for most people is the look/aesthetics.

While the balls may be converted to the original white, you can do something about it to try to restore it a little. You can use a pool ball cleaner or polisher.

Overall, always keep your billiards ball clean so that they play better, last longer, protect the felt, and save you money.

Related Questions

Can you use a glass cleaner to make your billiard balls shine?

Absolutely not. Glass cleaner will act as abrasives on the material of the balls, tampering with the aesthetics and eventually, the effects can be seen through poor playability of the balls.

Will billiard balls eventually wear out?

Billiard balls are usually smooth. However, with continued use, there is some friction between the balls and the table, and with time, they will not be of the standard size because of the wear.

See Also:
Are Old Pool Balls Worth Anything?
How Often Should You Chalk Your Cue
Can You Use Car Wax on Pool Balls? (Here’s The Answer)

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