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Can I Put My Bowling Ball in the Dishwasher?

After soaking inside, an open dishwasher with a bowling ball goes through the heated dry cycle.

Bowlers have many questions when it comes to taking care of their bowling balls. Can I put my bowling ball in the dishwasher? How do I clean them? What kind of polish should I use?

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to safely clean and sanitize your bowling ball using the dishwasher. We’ll also provide some tips on how to keep your bowling ball in good condition for years to come. 

So, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced bowler, read on for answers to all of your questions about cleaning and caring for your bowling ball!

Can I Put My Bowling Ball in the Dishwasher?

Yes, you can put your bowling ball in the dishwasher. However, you should avoid using a dishwasher to clean your bowling ball if it has any abrasive surface finishes, as this could damage the finish. Instead, use a soft cloth and some warm water and soap to clean your bowling ball.

Before you put the ball in the dishwasher, you need to understand that dishwashing detergent is designed to break down oils and fats, and bowling balls are coated with a layer of Lane Master lane conditioner that contains mineral oil. 

The detergent will strip away this coating, causing your ball to absorb more oil from the lane and making it harder to throw consistent strikes. 

Additionally, the high temperatures in a dishwasher can damage the ball’s core, changing its weight and impact on your game.

Red and orange bowling balls with numbers 14 and 13 sit in a local pro shop after being cleaned with a microfiber towel.

How Do You De-Oil a Bowling Ball Using the Dishwasher?

If your bowling ball is starting to feel slick, it may be time to give it a good cleaning. One way to do this is to de-oil the ball using the dishwasher. 

This may seem like an odd method, but it can actually be quite effective. 


If your bowling ball is starting to feel slick and oily, it’s probably time to give it a good cleaning. One easy way to do this is to run it through the dishwasher. 

  • Just be sure to remove any accessories, such as the finger inserts, and use the bottom rack. 
  • You’ll also want to use a mild detergent and avoid using the heated drying cycle. After a cycle in the dishwasher, your ball should be clean and ready for action.
  • Don’t use too much heat because the max temp a bowling ball can tolerate is 140°F. 
  • Shut off all heating functions or special settings. 

Steps for Cleaning or De-oiling Your Bowling Ball in the Dishwasher

Below are the steps:

  1. Using tape, cover the bowling ball holes.
  2. Place the ball in the bottom rack.
  3. Use warm water to remove the dirt and rinse the ball and regular washing cycle. Don’t use any detergent, and ensure that the heat/dry cycle is switched off to prevent cracking.
  4. Once done, allow the ball to cool in the dishwasher for one to two hours.
  5. Take the ball out and let it rest for about 24 hours before using it.
A new bowler lets their ball sit and soak in a cleaning liquid for 60 minutes, and then it will air dry.

Can Water Damage a Bowling Ball?

Water can damage a bowling ball if it is soaked for more than 30 minutes. It can cause the ball to swell and distort its shape. 

This will affect the performance of the ball and may even cause it to break. If you do get your ball wet, it is important to dry it off as soon as possible or within the first 20 minutes. 

You can use a towel or a hairdryer on low heat to dry the ball. You should also avoid using any cleaning products on the ball, as these can also damage the surface. If you take good care of your ball, it should last for many years.

What to Do With Balls That Get Powdered Detergent Stuck in the Finger Holes?

Anyone who’s been bowling knows that one of the key elements to a good game is a clean ball. That’s why it’s important to remove any dirt or residue before each turn. 

However, sometimes powder detergent can get stuck in the finger holes, making it difficult to grip the ball properly. 

If this happens, there are a few things you can do. 

  • First, try putting the ball back through on a rinse cycle. 
  • If that doesn’t work, you can try using a hose with high-pressure water to remove the detergent. 

How Many Bowling Balls Can Go Into the Dishwasher at Once?

While most people think of bowling balls as being relatively clean, they can actually become quite dirty over time. This is especially true if you bowl on a lane that isn’t properly maintained. 

As a result, it’s important to clean your bowling ball on a regular basis. However, you need to be careful about how many balls you wash at one time. 

Two to three balls are usually the maximum that you want to put in the dishwasher at once. Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging the balls or not getting them clean enough.

Why Might It Be a Bad Idea to Use the Dishwasher to Clean Bowling Balls?

While the dishwasher may be a convenient way to clean bowling balls, there are several reasons why it is not the best choice. 

  • First, the high temperatures in the dishwasher can cause the balls to warp. 
  • Second, the harsh detergents can damage the balls’ protective coating. 
  • The vigorous washing action can cause the balls to become misshapen. For these reasons, it is best to clean bowling balls by hand using warm water and mild soap. 
  • Oils on the balls are toxic and can contaminate the dishwasher. 
  • The dishwasher can dull the shine of the ball. If you must clean your ball in the dishwasher, use a mild detergent and the lowest setting possible.
A female is loading a dishwasher with mild dish soap to remove excess oil during a normal machine cycle.

How Do You Clean a Dishwasher After Washing a Bowling Ball in It?

You’d be surprised how often this question comes up! 

Whether you’re a professional bowler or an amateur, at some point, you’re going to need to clean your dishwasher after washing a bowling ball in it. The good news is that it’s not difficult to do; all you need is some regular dishwasher soap and a few minutes of your time. 

  1. First, make sure that the dishwasher is empty.
  2. Next, fill the dishwasher with hot water and add a generous amount of dishwasher soap. Then, run the dishwasher on its regular cycle. 
  3. Once it’s finished, reset the heat and drying settings as desired. And that’s it!

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Bowling Ball? 

If you take your bowling seriously, then you know that having a clean ball is essential to achieving the best results. 

A dirty ball can cause it to hook prematurely, making it more difficult to control. Moreover, foul-smelling balls are simply unpleasant to use. So how do you keep your ball clean and smelling fresh other than using a dishwasher?

Well, the best option is to purchase a professional-level ball oven like Salmon Creek NuBall. 

This device warms a bowling ball to a precise temperature, so the ball is not in danger. This helps to kill bacteria and eliminate odors. It also helps to remove oil and dirt build-up, giving your ball a deep clean. 

Another option is to simply wash your ball with rubbing alcohol after each use.

What Happens if a Bowling Ball Gets Cold?

If you’ve ever stepped out of a warm room into a cold one, you know that objects can feel different temperatures. This is because heat energy is always moving from warmer objects to cooler ones. 

In the case of a bowling ball, if it gets cold, the heat energy will move from the ball into the surrounding air. As the heat energy moves out of the ball, the molecules inside it will slow down and get closer together. This makes the ball harder and hook less than it would be at room temperature.

How to Clean a Bowling Ball

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Clean My Bowling Ball With Soap and Water?

Yes, but you should only use mild soap; harsh detergents can damage the ball’s surface. Second, be sure to rinse the ball thoroughly; soap residue can affect your grip and make the ball less effective. Finally, it’s important to dry the ball completely before using it again; otherwise, the water will cause the ball to become sticky and difficult to handle.

How Do You Disinfect a Bowling Ball?

Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, is a solution that can be used to disinfect a bowling ball. When mixed with water, it forms a solution that is effective at killing bacteria and viruses. Isopropyl alcohol is safe to use on most surfaces, and it evaporates quickly, making it ideal for use on a bowling ball.

Does Rubbing Alcohol Damage Bowling Balls?

Rubbing alcohol will not damage the ball. While it’s true that rubbing alcohol is an effective disinfectant, it needs to be mixed in equal parts with water before it can be used on a bowling ball. Otherwise, it will dry out the ball’s cover and cause the ball to crack or break down over time.

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The dishwasher is a great place to clean your bowling ball, but make sure you cover the finger holes first. You can use a toothbrush to get into all of the nooks and crannies and then dry it off with a towel. Your bowling ball will be looking good as new in no time!