How To Clean Pool Balls For Optimal Performance? The Importance of Pool Ball Maintenance

One thing is sure – your pool balls will get dirty with frequent usage. No matter how neat you are pool balls are going to get chalk marks, become yellow, collect dirt, and other types of stains. Luckily, it’s not too hard to clean them. So, how to clean pool balls?

A quick clean with warm soapy water will keep your pool balls clean and looking great for the most part. You’ll need a deeper clean if they have become yellow, stained, or need polishing and waxing. This type of maintenance will improve their overall condition, including how they play true, and also protect your pool table felt too.

In the paragraphs below I shared my experience and wrote EVERYTHING you need to know about how to clean pool balls.

Keep your pool balls just as your pool table cloth in great condition with the tips and suggestions provided here, and you’ll be ready for a game of billiards any time when you want. 

How to clean pool balls at home?

How to clean pool balls

In case you own equipment for pool sports you already know how important is to maintain it and keep it clean if you want to endure its lifespan.

If you don’t want to spend money on professional help with cleaning you can always spend a little bit of time cleaning it on your own at home.

Cleaning pool balls, especially for the first time, will definitely require a mixture of elbow grease and patience.

You’ll want to make sure not to scratch or mark the either billiard ball at all.

Below you’ll see how to clean pool balls at home in a few different ways: with water and detergent, baking soda, professional cleaner, etc. 

Keep in mind that with a clean pool table and clean every billiard ball, you have better chances for precise strikes.

Let’s see how to make your billiard balls clean.

The best way to clean pool balls

The fact is pool table balls aren’t always made from the highest quality materials, and some of them can get dirty quite easily and we need to clean them.

The simplest and at the same time the best way to clean pool balls is with hot water and detergent.

Before you start cleaning billiard balls with this technique you should check which material is used for them. 

For example, if your billiard balls are resin-based you can use hot water and if they are polyester-based my recommendation is to use luke liquid.

If you’re not sure about the material just use lukewarm water. 

Here are some quick tips on how to clean your billiard balls:

Cleaning time 30 minutes

Step 1

Fill two buckets with hot or lukewarm water and add some gentle soap or laundry detergent to each bucket. Mix the water properly by stirring the mixture with your hands or a spoon until you see bubbles form in the bucket.

Step 2

Soak the balls that need to be cleaned for at least 10 minutes in one of the buckets. While the balls are immersed, add cold/ room temperature water to the other bucket. This will help make sure that your clean-up job gets done right – and quickly!

Step 3

After about 10 minutes, remove those billiard balls and wipe them properly with a microfiber cloth (you can also add extra soap to this cloth if you want). Give them a good scrubbing until they’re nice and shiny again! 

Let’s check another way of ball-cleaning.

How to clean pool balls dishwasher?

My advice is not to use this method. Cleaning pool balls in the dishwasher may cause more damage than good.

Cheaper billiard balls have a good chance to discolor.

More expensive balls probably will lose the shiny protective layer they come with because of the high temperature of the liquids. 

How to clean pool balls with baking soda?

This technique is easy and effective, and it only takes a few minutes. All you need is a toothbrush and some baking soda paste.

These steps are going to help you to know how to clean pool balls with baking soda:

The first step is to wash your billiard balls (as described above). Then add baking soda to a small cup of water until the water turns into a paste.

Apply the paste to the yellowed billiard ball using a toothbrush. Scrub the ball to remove any yellow stains.

Once satisfied, wash the ball in water to remove any leftover baking soda paste. Dry completely.

How to clean pool balls with vinegar?

Vinegar is one of the most effective multipurpose cleaners. Personally, I use it wherever I can. It’s cheap, natural, and eco-friendly.

You should take the one that you consider the best vinegar for cleaning and mix it with water.

This is a great way to clean billiard balls. Here is how you can do it:

  1. Soak balls in a bucket with a vinegar and water mixture. You can use a 1:1 ratio.
  2. Leave it in for 5 minutes and remove them
  3. Rinse the balls off and dry them with a microfiber cloth.
  4. Dried balls wiped with a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth to remove any water spots

How to clean pool balls by hand?

This question I’m getting a lot. If you’re trying to figure out how to clean pool balls by hand, all you need is a bucket of lukewarm water and a detergent. 

After washing and cleaning the ball, rinse it with water and dry it with a microfiber cloth.

Remember, always use an anti-static cloth. This way you’ll get optimum cleaning results.

How to polish pool balls?

People who want to keep their billiard balls shiny and polished may use different methods.

If you’re looking for the fastest option, then you should choose a polishing machine or a polish agent.

If you’re wondering how to polish pool balls, there are two simple ways to do it:

1. Machine polishing

A polishing machine is a real-time-saver.

There are a lot of different polishing machines available, but they’re all working on the same principle: first step – fill the machine with a cleaning agent, then, you have to place the ball in the machine, and then turn the machine on.

Basically, that’s all you need to know about it, and your balls will shine like new.

2. Hand polishing

A slower, yet cheaper and simpler option is to polish billiard balls by doing it by hand.

The principle is the same: you have to apply the cleaning agent on the ball, wipe it with a microfiber cloth and then wipe it with the dry, antistatic ball.

The main advantage of hand polishing is a cheaper price – you only need to buy the cleaning agent and microfiber cloth.

However, it’s quite a time-consuming activity compared to machine polishing.

How to clean with a professional pool ball cleaner?

One of the most popular pool ball cleaners is Aramith billiard ball cleaner. Here are some steps that can make your cleaning with this professional cleaning agent easier and more effective:

Needed: Aramith billiard ball restorer and Microfiber cloths.

1. Shake the Aramith billiard ball restorer well, and apply a couple of drops to one of your billiard balls. You can use the same cloth for each ball.

2. Buff the ball with firm pressure until it is shiny again. Wipe off any excess polish with a clean cloth. Repeat this process for each ball until all are restored to a shiny state.

How to wax pool balls?

Most professional pool players would not advise you to wax your billiard balls. They say that waxing would make it hard to pull off shots consistently.

However, if you still wonder how to wax pool balls here are some steps you can follow. One of the wax products you can use is Meguiar’s cleaner.

Needed: Meguiar’s cleaner wax, paper towel, and microfiber cloth

  1. Wash your pool balls with warm water and a soft-bristle brush. This will remove any dirt that could scratch or damage the surface of the ball. It will also help loosen any wax that may have built upon the surface of the ball. After washing, dry off the ball with a paper towel and let it air dry for a few minutes before proceeding.
  2. Apply a thin even layer around the ball using circular motions and then clean off the top layer using a paper towel (If you do not have a product like Meguiar’s cleaning wax, you can use olive oil or WD-40 instead). 
  3. Use another paper towel to clean the residual wax from the ball.
  4. Repeat this process until all balls have been coated with an even layer of wax.

How to clean pool balls that have yellowed?

When wondering how to clean pool balls that have yellowed keep in mind that the technique with baking soda is quite effective for this type of stain.

Of course, if you clean it with an Aramith ball restorer you’ll also get more than satisfying results. 

After you clean the balls with baking soda or Aramith ball restorer, you should get rid of the deposits left on the pool table felt with a soft cloth or brush.

Additionally, you should always store them in a special rack while they are not being used. Balls need air to maintain their shine, so having a place where they can always have significant airflow is crucial.

Why do pool balls turn yellow? 

Yellow stains are the most common type of stains that appears on pool balls. Those are stubborn and annoying but it’s easy to understand why they are appearing.

When asking: ”Why do pool balls turn yellow”, you must know this type of stain is a result of oxidation. Just like metal is rusting in contact with oxygen.  

Pool ball cleaners

Over time all pool table balls will begin to show signs of wear. With some care and maintenance, your balls and your pool table are sure to stand the test of time.

Which pool ball cleaner is the best choice for you depends on your personal preferences. We also have an article where we covered in detail all related to pool ball cleaners. 

My personal favorite is Ballstar Pro Pool Ball Cleaner. I chose it because it has three simple cleaning settings you can select depending on how dirty your billiard balls are.

Also, I think it’s faster than other machines I’ve tried.

How to clean Aramith pool balls?

Aramith Pool Balls are some of the very best in the world. They will outlast most other types of balls, and they’re absolutely beautiful to look at.

They have a high quality that you do not see in many pool balls these days. If you have one of these expensive sets and are looking for a way to clean them.

The most convenient way to clean your pool table balls is to purchase a dedicated Aramith cleanser. Just spray the ball cleaner on the balls, let them sit for half an hour, and then squeegee them off with a towel. 

The cleaner works best if you spray it on just before you hit the sack at night so that they can soak in the ball cleaner overnight and be ready for play the next day.

This will also add some life back into them as some of the restoring agents in the cleaner naturally freshens up old balls as well as restore them to their original shine.

Of course, if you’re on a budget you can always use one of the techniques we already mentioned above.

DIY pool ball cleaner

Per my experience, the best DIY pool ball cleaner has only two ingredients – soap and water. Soap or detergent should be gentle and water should be warm.

The temperature of water differs depending on the material of your balls.

In case you’re having polyester-based balls don’t use too hot water since you can damage balls for good. 

Also, whether you prefer a DIY or ready-made pool ball cleaner, go ahead and make it a part of your practice routine.

The cleaner you use matters less than the simple act of cleaning your balls at every opportunity.

Good circulation is the key to keeping them spotless and also helps you to spot any broken ones quicker.

What are billiard balls made of?

Billiard balls should be made of strong and tough material to assure durability and persistence.

Nowadays, you can choose the balls that you will play with on the table. There are plenty of types of them.

If you asked what are billiard balls made of years ago, at the beginning of the game the answer could be wood. Now, the answer is different.

The material from which most pool table balls are made is a phenolic resin. You can find more about this material and how it can affect pool games here.

Benefits of cleaning pool balls

The main benefit of regular and thorough cleaning of pool balls is consistent playability at the table. 

Keep in mind that clean and polished billiards balls roll smoothly and with an even surface you’ll have precise strokes and a successful game. It’s not a little, right?

Cleaning your pool table balls and felt may seem like a daunting task but the process is simple when you know what needs to be done.

You can go ahead and clean your pool balls without any worries that they will be damaged or littered with scratches.

If you own a digital scale, weighing each billiard ball before and after you clean billiard balls will help you gauge how much dirt has been removed.

How often should I clean billiard balls? 

That depends on you, there are no rules. Neat players wash billiard balls after every use because they know how that can affect their game.

This helps them keep billiards’ balls clean all the time. Also, this way every billiard ball will look it’s best as well as avoid becoming damaged by dirt, grime, and moisture. 

However, if you’re not a cleaning nut but play frequently, clean them once a week. Of course, you should not only clean billiard balls but also take care of your cues, pocket bumpers, and triangle.


How do I get my pool balls white again? 

The simplest way to clean balls is to use a gentle detergent and warm water and wash your billiard balls.

What can I use to clean pool balls?

There are multiple ways to keep your billiard balls clean, with baking soda, by hand, with gentle detergent, with professional cleaners, etc. Avoid cleaning in the dishwasher.

Should you clean your pool balls?

Yes, definitely. Over time balls get dirty as everything else we use frequently. Clean billiard balls assure a better game.

To sum it up

If you’ve got a pool table at home or a professional pool hall, it’s worth the effort to maintain your balls regularly.

As you can see here, the process is simple, straightforward, and relatively trouble-free. 

Once you’ve got the routine down, it won’t take long before your balls look like new – making the table they roll on look great in the process.

Having well-cared-for billiard balls is a vital part of maximizing your enjoyment and improving your game. Chose the method that best suits you.

I hope this article was helpful to you and now it’s clear to you how to clean billiard balls. Don’t let dirty billiard balls spoil any of your pool games.

In case you need more info about anything related to pool games or billiard ball cleaning, leave a comment with a question and I’ll help you. 

Thanks for reading!

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