Bowling ball cleaners are not something that we think of a lot and most of the time, people tend to just wipe the bowling ball and then continue to play, thinking that the ball has been cleaned. But then, they (or you) may become frustrated when the hook potential is influenced – and not in a good way!
Bowling balls tend to absorb a lot of oil on the lane and therefore, it tends to let dirt stick to the surface of the ball. This could influence your playing abilities and you might even be incapable of fully utilizing all of the features of your ball. A ball cleaner is a very cost-effective way to increase ball integrity and consistency, not to mention looks! And by the way, if you’re wondering exactly how to clean a ball with spray or liquid cleaner, it couldn’t be easier. Simply spray and wipe. You don’t need to let it soak or follow some 3-step process. Spray ‘n wipe is all. Good cleaners will deal with the problem areas with less physical effort and rubbing, but all USBC (see below) approved cleaners should do the trick!
Top Bowling Bowl Comparison Chart
After the first few bowls, the ball might only absorb a few dust particles and with the weight and the throwing momentum, this might not really have a significant impact on the ball, but over time the dust will start to build up and then the hook potential and even rolling potential of the ball might be influenced
Bowling ball cleaners are made for two purposes. The one is to clean the ball after each game and the other is for cleaning the ball during the game. We are going to be focussing on bowling ball cleaners that will help you benefit during the game and significantly give you better results, or simply just allow you to continue your strong performance.
But before we look at the top bowling ball cleaners, you will need to know what to look for in these bowling ball cleaners and how they could possibly influence your game. Not all cleaners are the same and the composition of the cleaners will need to be designed so that your ball does not deteriorate over time.
Bowling Ball Buying Guide
Since bowling balls can become expensive, especially at the higher levels of play, you might not want to dole out the extra cash to ensure that you have one of the best cleaners and we completely understand. Generally, bowling ball cleaners are fairly cheap, but we looked for the features to ensure that you have the best value for your money.
The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) regulates all the playing items required and what you are allowed to use in your game. Making sure that the product you are looking to purchase has been approved by them will ensure that you are allowed to use it during games.
Bowling balls and all items used for competition are regulated by the USBC and they have the authority to test products and say whether or not it can be used for professional competitions. Ball cleaners need to meet certain criteria that affect the finish on the ball (does it change? Does it make the surface slicker? Does it make the surface duller? Does it have harsh abrasives that affect the ball and the lane surface?). Only specific cleaners that have particular qualities will be approved by the USBC, and these are the ones you should stick with if you’re serious about improving your game – legally and ethically!)
If you are a casual player, this might not be as important, but professional players will definitely need to look for the USBC sign to see if the product can be used. There are tournaments that make it part of the rules that you MUST use USBC approved cleaners or risk a penalty of some sort.
The bottle size is only taken into account when it comes to fitting it inside your bowling bag and making the carrying process easier, but it is also important to look at the value for your money to ensure that you have a cleaner that will give you value for your money. Larger bottles can offer you more for your money, but you’ll pay more cash upfront. It’s the idea of saving in “bulk”.
Certain cleaners have been designed specifically to allow you to remove the oil ring and still leave that “grippy” feel on the ball. These cleaners have been designed to only remove the layer of dust and oil on the ball, but must be applied regularly. Tough marks and scratches are often removed by a different kind of cleaner, but the best kind (that we feature) will remove all types of scuffs and oils so only one cleaner is needed.
All of these features determine the cost of the product, and as I mentioned earlier, since the bowling ball is already expensive, there will be no need to buy a custom-made mixture at a high price. Generally, the top cleaners are also fairly priced and the prices are generally quite close to one another. That said, some cleaners that do the best job, may not necessarily have the highest price tag. Shop carefully and if you don’t have the time or don’t want the bother, just go for the top cleaner on our list and you’ll be fine!
By understanding these four features, you should be more capable of selecting the best cleaner for your ball. It is important to note that there are different cleaners for each ball and players with high hook potential ball, will need to look for something that will not strip the tac off the ball and still allow for the perfect hook, but either way, as long as you at least have a ball cleaner, you should have a good playing experience.
With that being said, let’s look at the top bowling ball cleaners for your specific bowling ball:
Best Bowling Ball Cleaner Reviews
Volume: 8 ounces
Lane Ghost caught our attention because of its name at first, but a name doesn’t go far if it doesn’t cut the mustard when it comes to performance. We had a chance to actually test the Lane Ghost cleaner and we found it worked as advertised! It absolutely removed oily scum, dust and belt marks (which are the things we encountered).
We were sure to confirm it was USBC approved because if it wasn’t, it could include abrasives and waxes that will either damage the ball and the lane surface or radically alter the ball’s performance – or BOTH! We love that it’s great for all cover materials like reactive resin, plastic, and urethane as well as particle proactive (which is like snow tires with chains, giving you tons of friction).
One of the best things aside from performance is the fact that Lane Ghost Cleaner is fully made right here in the USA! We love it when we stumble across products that meet this critical criterion.
Another really cool thing about Lane Ghost is that it’s actually on the lower end of the price spectrum, but it lacks nothing that the pricier options offer, and in fact we believe it rises to the top of the heap (that’s why it’s #1 in spite of its more modest price point).
As if all that wasn’t enough, get this: Lane Ghost Bowling Ball Cleaner comes with a cleaning cloth. You know that cloth will be the absolute best product to use on your ball and you won’t have to guess which type of cloth is the best.
It’s got to be worth a few dollars, but even WITH the cloth included, it’s still the best-priced option and arguably the best and most effective cleaner on the market.
One of my friends who bought the product though Amazon raved about how he’s tried over a dozen “approved” cleaners and all of them took much more elbow grease and effort to remove scuffs than was needed with Lane Ghost! Enough said!
Lane Ghost offers excellent customer service and they’ll stand behind any of their products and make it right if there’s a legitimate issue.
- USBC approved
- Probably the lowest price around
- Includes cleaning cloth
- Least amount of effort needed by the user to clean scuffs
- The name can be scary for youngsters! (okay, I’m really stretching here!)
Volume: 6 ounces
The Neo-Tac Hook It bowling ball cleaner is one of the most affordable bowling ball cleaners on the market. This cleaner has been specifically made for people who love keeping the existing ball surface intact while removing the small bits of dust particle that could be stuck after each throw.
This bowling ball cleaner actually helps to improve the overall tac on the ball, thus helping you to have even better hook potential and also improving the general roll and spin of the ball to ensure that you have better consistency.
Furthermore, it has also been USBC approved, thus allowing you to use this cleaner during professional games and it will also certainly improve the gloss look on your ball. The cleaner is also unscented and will not change any part of the surface.
At 6 ounces, this cleaner is really affordable for the volume of liquid that you will receive and you will be able to get more use out of it for longer periods of time. We highly recommend this cleaner for hook experts looking to keep up the consistency.
- USBC approved
- Really affordable
- Easy to fit in a bowling bag
- Keeps original ball surface intact
- Adds more hook to the ball for which compensation is needed
Volume: 8 ounces
The Storm Reacta foam bowling ball cleaner is one of the unique types of cleaning compositions. The cleaner features a foamy liquid that will actually help you to clean the ball much more sufficiently and you will also use less of the product at a time, thus saving you a few extra bucks.
It comes in an 8-ounce bottle and this bottle is quite small as well, thus allowing you to easily carry it along and the composition of foam has been designed not to remove any of the original surfaces on the ball. Unlike the first cleaner, it does not add to the ball but will ensure that you can play much more consistently.
The cleaner has also been designed to be applied directly to the surface of the ball and then wiped off, meaning that you could even target specific areas like the oil ring to get much better results and save some money.
Since the cleaner does not affect the general surface of the ball, this cleaner is highly recommended for players with higher hook potential to ensure that you still maintain your potential and simultaneously improve the overall consistency in your game.
- Apply directly to ball surface
- Really affordable
- Foam dispenser allows you to use less at a time
- No cons
Volume: 4 ounces
While the Storm Reacta Shine polish and cleaner does not provide as much value as the foam counterpart, it is widely considered as one of the best cleaners for reactive bowling balls. The cleaner is designed to restore that tacky feeling to the ball and this will subsequently increase the ability to hook the ball in the lane.
Since the cleaner does not only remove the oily ring around the ball, it will improve the overall rolling ability of the ball as well. The more shiny and clean the surface, the better rolling and overall spin you will receive. This gives you multifunctional use and you will be able to polish the ball as well.
Unfortunately, the bottle is quite small with only 4 ounces of liquid inside and you will still need to apply the normal amount to get results. It is fairly cheap, but you might need to buy a new bottle after every game to ensure that you could keep your ball clean.
We recommend this for balls with high hook potential and players looking to improve the hook potential on their balls. The cleaner is even so effective that it might add a little bit of hook to some of the straight plastic balls with no friction as well.
- Fairly cheap
- Improves hook potential
- Easy to apply
- 2 in 1 cleaner and polish
- Only 4 ounces of liquid
Volume: 4 ounces and 32 ounces
The Monster Tac remove all bowling ball cleaner is considered to be the current best bowling ball cleaner on the market and since it was generally available only in 32 ounces, they have added the smaller 4 ounces for people to test out the cleaner and see the cleaning for themselves.
The cleaner has been approved by the USBC for use during, after and before bowling games at competition level, but it really cuts into the oil on the ball and might remove all of the tac on your bowling ball. The cleaner also increases the overall lifespan of the bowling ball, thus ensuring that your bowling ball is also protected.
Since it really cuts into the oily marks and belts, it is not so good for people with higher hook potential on their ball, but could still be used at a lower dosage. This bowling ball cleaner is definitely multifunctional and can be used for all of your different types of ball. The bottle is also small enough to easily carry in your bag.
We highly recommend this cleaner for top players with multiple balls, but bowling alleys that allow commercial playing should also look for this cleaner as it will make cleaning al of those bowling balls that are rented out much easier.
- Provides multifunctional use
- Really cheap
- USBC approved
- Removes all dirt easily
- Removes the tac on the ball as well
Volume: 8 ounces
The Tac Up bowling ball cleaner is one designed for use by casual players looking to best their friends and still maintain a good consistency. The cleaner also cuts into oily rings and dirt quite effectively and will easily allow you to get the everything off the ball while improving the overall tac on the ball to give you more hook potential.
It also comes in an 8 ounce bottle and only a little bit needs to be applied every time, some people might even decide to apply it on every second or third bowl to get more value out of the bottle, but it must be applied regularly on heavily oiled lanes, thus making it great for casual use and also improving the lifespan of your bowling ball.
The strong bio-degradable formula will easily remove all oil rings and ensure that your ball is ready for the next throw with its quick dry formula, thus improving your overall consistency and also the game that you play.
We highly recommend this cleaner for casual players looking to improve the hook potential on their bowling balls and still increase the overall lifespan of the ball. The bottle is also fairly small and can easily be carried around in the bag.
- Great for casual use
- Keeps surface of the ball intact
- Dries up fast
- Great value for your money
- A bit smelly
- Cheaply manufactured dispensing cap and mechanism
Volume: 4 ounces
Last but certainly not least, we have the Storm Reacta clean standard bottle. This cleaner has also been designed for bowling balls with higher hook potential and will definitely improve the overall tac on the ball, thus also improving the hook potential of the ball.
The cleaner is also great for digging into the oily ring and easily removing dust, thus improving the roll and the spin on the ball. With a shinier and cleaner ball, your backend power will automatically improve to get more momentum on the ball.
Unfortunately, the cleaner is only available in 4 ounces and even though it is fairly cheap, you might need to buy a new bottle for every game. Furthermore, it has been approved by the USBC for use during games to ensure that you have more consistency.
We highly recommend this cleaner for the value that it gives the player during the game, but it could become expensive in the long run. Professional players might need this cleaner on hand to improve the tac on the ball and also the hook potential.
- Fairly priced
- Improves tac on the ball
- Easy to use
- Only available in 4 ounces
Final Thoughts & Recommendations
A clean bowling ball will definitely help to improve your overall consistency while bowling and we now that it might seem expensive, but improving the lifespan of your bowling ball might only be beneficial to you down the road and also give you more playing success. Don’t forget to clean the finger holes as well, and while any USBC cleaner will give you a decent product (we haven’t seen any horrible USBC approved cleaners), always remember that “GOOD, is the enemy of BEST”. We suggest Lane Ghost (for now) and we’re positive you can’t go wrong if you choose it.
Also, while some players like cleaning their balls (sounds crass I know!) nearly every use (can you say OCD?) others clean their balls only once or twice a season if that! It really depends on what your results are when cleaning more or less. The idea of cleaning more often is that the grease and gunk cannot penetrate the surface or get stuck on it as well, so you’ll have a truer playing experience for a longer time.
We would like to thank you for reading this article and we hope that you can now choose the best bowling ball cleaner for your ball and your style. We would like to encourage you to let us know what you think of our list and if you think we might have missed any of your favorite cleaners or cleaning techniques!