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Why Are Bowling Balls Scented? Does It Make a Difference?

Knowing storm balls are scented, a woman in a black shirt sniffs a red, blue, and white swirled bowling ball.

Have you ever had a whiff of your bowling ball and realized that it had a distinct smell? You’re not crazy, we promise. It seems like a strange thing to do, but manufacturers infuse their balls with scents on purpose.

If you’re wondering why they do that, we can help. This article will explain why some bowling balls are scented and how a bowling ball’s smell can affect your bowling experience and game outcomes.

Why Are Bowling Balls Scented?

There are a few reasons why bowling balls are scented, some of which will surprise you. We’ll get into each reason below in the following sections:

Key Takeaways

  • Reasons for Scented Bowling Balls: Manufacturers infuse bowling balls with scents to mask unpleasant odors from materials, calm players’ nerves, and create a positive user experience, encouraging repeat use and purchase.
  • Variety and Effectiveness: Not all bowling balls are scented, but those that often feature fruity or floral aromas. While no scientific evidence exists, many players believe scents improve focus and performance.
  • Care and Maintenance: To prevent foul odors, clean the ball after use with a towel and a quality cleaner, store it in a cool, dry place, and consider a ventilated bowling bag for airflow.
  • Coverstock Types: Bowling balls come with different coverstock options—urethane, polyester, and resin—each affecting the ball’s performance on the lane. Competitive players prefer urethane for its balance of hook potential and friction.
  • Choosing a Scented Ball: Consider trying a scented bowling ball if you’re sensitive to smells or looking for an enjoyable addition to your game. Remember also to account for the ball’s coverstock and weight to match your playing style.

The Scent Masks the Smell of the Ball

The bowling ball’s scent helps to mask the smell of the materials used to make the ball (usually rubber or plastic).

If manufacturers didn’t add a scent, the ball would likely have an unpleasant smell that permeates the room. This odor could have a negative impact on players, as it could be distracting. 

In the worst cases, a bad bowling ball smell could even make you sick. For people who are sensitive to smells, an unscented bowling ball could cause nausea, stomach upset, and other unpleasant systemic symptoms.

FeatureDescriptionImpact on Players
Reason for ScentTo mask material odors, calm nerves, and enhance user experience by making the ball more appealing.Improves focus and gameplay.
Common ScentsFruity (e.g., green apple), floral, and food-related (e.g., cinnamon, vanilla).Appeals to personal preference; potentially improves concentration.
Care TipsTo mask material odors, calm nerves, and enhance the user experience by making the ball more appealing.The choice should align with the player’s skill level and style.
Coverstock TypesSubjective: There is no scientific evidence, but many believe in a positive impact on performance.It prevents bad odors and extends ball life.
Scent EffectivenessUrethane, polyester, and resin affect the performance of the lane.May enhance enjoyment and performance.

The Scent Calms the Nerves

Some believe that an added bowling ball scent can help enhance the bowler’s performance by calming their nerves.

How? Before a bowler throws the ball, they often take a deep breath and try to relax with the ball up to their face. The scent of the ball can help to provide that extra bit of relaxation needed for optimal performance.

The Scent Makes You Want to Play With the Ball

Another reason manufacturers add scents to bowling balls is because they want you to enjoy using them. If a ball smells good, you might be more inclined to use that ball over another, and manufacturers know this.

They want you to have a positive association with their product so that you’ll continue to use it (and buy more of their products in the future). 

Close-up of bright red bowling ball rolling straight down the bowling alley because house balls do not hook.

Are All Bowling Balls Scented?

No, not all bowling balls are scented. Many balls simply take on the scent of the materials used to make them. However, select manufacturers add scents for the reasons we went over above.

Select bowling ball manufacturers produce scented balls, usually in fruity scents like green apple or floral scents. The scent is typically added to the ball’s outermost surface so the bowler can take in the scent right before throwing the ball down the lane.

Variety of colors. Close-up of a storm ball that's bright red lying in the rows of other colorful balls.

Do Scented Bowling Balls Make a Difference?

Now that we’ve explained why bowling balls are scented, you may be wondering if there’s any evidence to support the claims that the scent can improve your bowling skills.

Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to support this claim. However, many people believe that the scent makes a difference in their concentration and helps them bowl better games. 

Some Bowling Balls Have Chemical Smells

When you first get a bowling ball home, it may have a chemical smell. This is usually because the manufacturer stored the ball in an area that smells of strong chemicals or that the ball is made of odorous materials.

If your ball has a chemical smell, you can try airing it out for a few days or washing it with soap and water to see if that removes the odor. If the smell remains, you may want to consider returning the ball.

Usually, the higher the quality of your ball, the less likely it is to have a chemical smell.

How to Keep Your Bowling Ball From Smelling Bad

No one likes a smelly bowling ball, but sometimes it can be hard to avoid. If you don’t take proper care of your ball, it can quickly develop an unpleasant odor. Fortunately, you can take a few simple steps to keep your ball smelling fresh.

First, make sure to clean your ball after each use.

A quick wipe-down with a towel will remove any dirt or oil that’s been building up. You should also give your ball a more thorough cleansing session on a regular basis with a quality ball cleaner.

Another way to keep your ball from smelling bad is to store it properly. Keep it in a cool, dry place when you’re not using it, and avoid leaving it in direct sunlight or in a hot car.

You might also want to invest in a bowling bag with good ventilation so your ball can air out between uses.

Following these tips can help keep your bowling ball smelling fresh and looking new.

A golden bowling ball on the bowling lane is the right bowling ball to use.

What’s in a Bowling Ball Fragrance?

As we’ve mentioned, some bowling balls are scented with pleasant smells like fruits or flowers. But what exactly is in these fragrances?

The specific ingredients in a bowling ball fragrance will vary depending on the manufacturer. However, these fragrances may contain essential oils, which are natural aromatic compounds extracted from plants.

Essential oils are used in various products, including perfumes, candles, and cosmetics. They’re also popular in aromatherapy because they can have a calming or uplifting effect on the mind and body. 

Available fragrances are citrus scents, such as lemon and orange, which are popular among bowlers because they help to cover up the smell of sweat and oil. Floral scents, such as jasmine and rose, are also popular choices for bowling balls. There are also food-related scents for bowling balls, such as cinnamon, vanilla peppermint, orange ambrosia, white sangria, and funnel cake.

What Are Bowling Balls Coated With?

In addition to an added scent, bowling balls are coated in a coverstock, which can affect the performance of the ball. The three most common types of coatings are: 

  • Urethane
  • Polyester
  • Resin 

Urethane is the most popular choice for competitive bowlers because it provides a good balance of hook potential and lane friction. Polyester is the cheapest option and is often used for recreational bowling. Resin balls are more expensive but provide more hook potential.

As a beginner bowler, you won’t need to worry too much about the type of coverstock on your ball. The balls at the bowling alley should suit you just fine until you become more experienced.

Once you have a good grasp of the sport, you may want to experiment with different types of coverstocks to see which works best for your bowling style.

Bowling Ball Coverstock Classifications

Should You Try a Scented Ball?

Whether you’re sensitive to bad-smelling bowling balls or simply want to add a little bit of fun to your game, then using a scented ball might be a good option for you. Scented balls are available in a variety of different fragrances, so you’re sure to find one that you like.

Just don’t forget to consider the ball’s coverstock and weight when making your decision.

These factors directly affect the performance of your ball, so it’s important to choose a ball that suits your bowling style. With a little bit of experimentation, you’ll be sure to find the perfect ball for you. 

Where to Find a Scented Bowling Ball

If you’re interested in trying out a scented bowling ball, there are a few places you can look. Many online retailers sell scented balls, and some brick-and-mortar stores may carry them as well.

You can also check with bowling alleys in your area to see if they have any scented balls available for rent or purchase. As far as brands go, Storm bowling balls are great options if you’re looking for a high-quality scented ball. The brand was the first to introduce scented balls to bowlers everywhere, and they continue to produce quality scented bowling balls today.

Related Articles

Scented bowling balls offer a unique blend of functionality and enjoyment, serving to mask material odors, soothe player nerves, and enhance the overall gameplay experience. With a range of fragrances from fruity to floral, these balls cater to diverse preferences, though it’s important to note that their effectiveness is largely subjective and not scientifically proven. Maintenance practices like regular cleaning and proper storage play a crucial role in preserving the scent and the ball’s condition.

Additionally, when selecting a scented bowling ball, it’s essential to consider the type of coverstock—urethane, polyester, resin—as this directly influences lane performance and should align with the bowler’s skill level and style. Scented bowling balls represent a novel aspect of bowling culture, blending sensory appeal with the sport’s technical demands.