how to clean billiard balls

Anyone who has ever attempted to play a game of pool in a filthy pub or billiard hall is familiar with the aggravation that can be caused by unclean and poorly kept equipment. Maintaining the cleanliness of your billiard balls is an essential but frequently neglected aspect of properly caring for your home billiard equipment.

Dust, residue, and oil from handling, as well as chalk, can accumulate over time and convert your sparkling pool balls into splotchy, off-color eyesores. More importantly, this can shorten the lifespan of the felt surface of your pool table as well as the balls themselves.

During game play, the surface of your pool table may become contaminated with the dirt and grime that has accumulated on the balls. These particles have the potential to embed themselves into the felt, which will make it essential to wipe the table top more frequently than it would be otherwise and will, in the long run, necessitate an expensive replacement.

Dirt and residues that embed themselves into the felt can potentially significantly influence the operation of the table by gently changing the trajectory of the balls as they go through an altered surface. This can be an issue because the balls are more likely to get stuck in the felt.

A ball that is not totally smooth will not go entirely in the proper direction if it is tarnished; weight imbalances can also be caused by tarnished balls and have an effect on ball movement. In addition to this issue, inconsistencies on the surfaces of the billiard balls alter the contact that the cue ball has with the object balls, which in turn affects every shot that you play.

In the following paragraphs, we will walk you through the process of cleaning billiard balls step by step. In what follows, you will find instructions and methods for cleaning your billiard balls, as well as some product recommendations; but, before we get to that, let’s have a look at some things that you shouldn’t do.

How Not to Clean Your Billiard Balls

Even though the process of cleaning your pool balls might not sound very complicated, there are a few different approaches that you should never, ever use. Techniques that have the potential to do more harm than benefit. The following are some methods of cleaning pool balls that should under no circumstances be considered.


It can seem like an easy and painless way to clean your billiard balls if you use a dishwasher, but doing so has the risk of causing irreversible damage to your balls, which would basically render your pricey equipment useless. Typically, phenolic resin or a polyester-resin combination is used in the manufacturing process of pool balls. The heat generated by a dishwashing cycle has a significant and negative effect on each of these materials.

The use of a dishwasher will have an impact not only on the surface appearance of the billiard balls but also on the core integrity of the balls. Even in a gentle setting, their brilliance will be diminished, and their durability will decrease. Because of this, you should under never circumstances put your billiard balls in the dishwasher to clean them.

Avoid Household Cleaning Products

Products such as Windex and Simple Green may look like they would be wonderful options for giving your billiard balls a brilliant shine; nevertheless, these products can be abrasive and cause damage to the surface they are used on. These items may potentially merely lead you in the opposite direction of the one you want to go in order to achieve your goal.

For instance, some people suggest using CLR as a cleaning solution; however, it is common knowledge that this may cause balls to turn yellow. Bleach will also discolor the balls, ruining the polish and maybe leaving spots on the parts of the ball that are not white. It may even tint the white parts of the ball a shade of brown! Toothpaste is another substance that should be avoided since it might leave additional residue on the balls that water might not be able to remove, and it might also cause the balls to change color.

The following is a condensed version of how to clean your billiard balls step by step, followed by a more in-depth explanation of how to complete each step correctly.

  1. Fill bucket or sink with warm water
  2. Add detergent such as Dawn or Palmolive
  3. Soak billiard balls for 5 minutes
  4. Scrub each ball individually with rag or microfiber cloth
  5. Dry each ball thoroughly

The most typical method for cleaning billiard balls is to use nothing more complicated than soap and water. Be sure to only use a mild soap or a mild detergent, and warm water, since hot water has the potential to cause harm, and cold water fails to release the debris that is stuck to the surface.

You should only soak your billiard balls in hot water if you are positive that they are made entirely of resin and not acrylic or polyester. In other words, you need to be absolutely certain about this. If your balls satisfy this criteria, you should first soak them in hot water containing a mild detergent for five minutes before pressing on them with a towel made of microfiber.

You should skip this step if you are unclear of the material that the billiard balls are made of, as heat and soap may have an effect on acrylic or polyester products. Instead, soak the balls in water at room temperature with a small bit of white vinegar, and after that, wipe them down with your microfiber towel.

If you want the results you’re searching for, it is absolutely necessary that you dry them in the correct manner. It’s possible for spots to form on billiard balls if you let them air dry or if you only partially dry them. This is especially crucial to keep in mind while working with soap and detergent. During the course of the game, particles of soap will transfer onto the table surface, which will compromise the felt’s structural integrity.

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Removing Yellow Stain

The aesthetic appeal of billiard balls can be diminished over time as a result of oxidation, which is analogous to the formation of rust on metals. Put a small amount of baking soda in a bowl, then gradually add water while stirring until you have a smooth paste. This is how you cure whatever the problem is. After doing the basic wash, apply the paste to each individual ball by rubbing it with a microfiber towel. When you are finished, make sure to give the baking soda a brief rinse off with some cold water so that it does not end up drying onto the surface of the balls. After you are completed, you must ensure that they are completely dried out. This is the most effective and straightforward approach to assisting in the removal of yellow stains.


After they have been washed, it is recommended that you polish your billiard balls so that they have an even higher sheen. You run the danger of significantly altering the consistency of game play and ball-trajectory, or even worse, you risk ruining your balls and even your table if you do not follow the correct methods when carrying out this task. It is very vital that you do so. If you use a polish that is oil-based, you should avoid using it since it will allow dust and dirt to stick to the balls even after they have dried completely, which will provide the reverse of the outcomes you were hoping for.

Waxing your pool balls is another practice that is not encouraged. Cars and surfboards are the only things that should be waxed—not pool balls! Your pricey felt will get wax on it, the ball’s spin and speed will be significantly altered, and it will be more difficult to make contact with the pool cue and other balls.

It is recommended that you utilize products that are designed expressly for the purpose of polishing pool balls if you plan on doing so. And this brings us to….

Products for Cleaning & Protecting Your Pool Balls

There is a wide selection of solutions available for cleaning billiard balls currently on the market; however, it is essential to make sure you choose the appropriate ones. This is not the time to be overly economical; trying to save a few pennies could end up costing you a lot more in the long run since it could mean having to buy a new set of balls if you buy a substandard product that has an adverse reaction with the materials that your specific set of balls is built from. Be careful to give the product a good shake before using it, and then apply it using a cloth made of microfibers as indicated.

The Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner & Restorer Kit is without a doubt the finest product to use if you are certain that the balls you are using are made of complete phenolic resin. Both the Aramith Cleaner and the Aramith Restorer are contained in the one bottle that is included in this set. These two products, when used in conjunction with one another, produce remarkable results in terms of making your billiard balls extremely bright and squeaky clean. Definitely look into purchasing this set from Amazon.com. You might be shocked to learn how little it costs to have your pool balls cleaned and brought back to an almost brand new state.

The usage of a case to store your billiard balls when they are not in use is yet another fantastic approach to ensure that they remain in pristine condition. If you keep them off the table, any dust or debris that could be on the table won’t be able to stick to your pool balls, which will increase their chances of winning. Additionally, they will be guarded against any unintentional spills that may occur.

This case by Aramith is widely considered to be among the very best currently available. It comes with 17 cushioned compartments large enough to hold all of your pool balls, your cue ball, and even a practice ball if you have one. In addition to that, it features a cushioned compartment that may hold a bottle of the Aramith Pool Ball Cleaner that was described earlier. Because it is equipped with a carry handle, this case is not only an excellent way to store your billiard balls in a secure location while they are not being used, but it can also be used to transport them.

It is possible to reduce the amount of cleaning and polishing work that will be required of you in the future if you take some precautions to ensure the security of your billiard balls when they are not being used. Additionally, maintaining a regular cleaning schedule for your pool balls can avoid obstinate chalk buildup.

Benefits of Keeping Your Billiard Balls Clean

As has been seen during the course of this article, there are a great many reasons to prioritize maintaining the cleanliness of your billiard balls. Let’s have a look at them right at this moment.

  1. Last Longer – It is possible to extend the life of your pool balls by taking care of them and maintaining a clean environment for them. Billiard balls that are covered in dirt and embedded with chalk won’t last as long as a set that has been maintained properly and is kept clean.
  2. Play Better –For obvious reasons, playing with clean billiard balls is preferable to playing with dirty ones. Pool balls that have chalk or any other debris caked upon them will not roll as smoothly across the felt as balls that are clean. Your performance in the game will suffer as a direct result of this.
  3. Save Money – Which expenditure—spending a few dollars on cleaning materials or purchasing a new set of billiard balls—will result in a lower total cost? In the long term, you can save a significant amount of money for yourself if you maintain the cleanliness of your pool balls. not only on the balls themselves, but also on the pool table you’re using.
  4. Protect Felt – Another important advantage of having clean billiard balls is the fact that they contribute to the overall condition of the felt in the table. Pool balls that are caked with impurities such as chalk, dirt, oil, and other such substances might leave behind these contaminants on your felt, which will require you to clean and maintain your felt more frequently.
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How To Clean Pool Balls At Home

It is necessary to get an understanding of the why before moving on to the how. Let’s begin by discussing in a little more depth the impact that playing with unclean pool balls can have on your game as well as the pool table you’re using.

Why You Should Clean Billiard Balls

Why go through the trouble of cleaning the balls if you’re only going to play for fun?

Do you think it would be beneficial to invest in cleaning supplies or equipment?

Those are reasonable questions.

At first sight, you might not realize how important it is to clean your pool balls. Most of the time, they even have a pleasant and sparkling appearance, and they don’t appear to be unclean at all. This is especially true of billiard balls produced from phenolic resin, which accounts for the vast majority of billiard balls on the market today.

However, if you have never cleaned them before, there is a good probability that they are dirty. And a dirty pool ball has the potential to impact the entire game.

The use of dirty pool balls can have a detrimental impact not only on your playing technique but also on the felt that covers your pool table and even your health.

To put it another way, there are a variety of compelling arguments in favor of cleaning pool balls. The most crucial ones are as follows:

Protects The Felt

The worst possible thing for the felt on your pool table is chalk. The cue ball, in particular, is prone to collecting chalk more than the other pool balls.

Also, it is certain that some of the chalk may fall onto the table. The rate of wear and tear on the felt accelerates if it is subjected to chalk for extended periods of time.

In any case, you should clean your table on a regular basis. However, filthy balls get the table dirty an incredible amount quicker.

When your balls are clean, the amount of chalk that gets on your table is reduced, which in turn reduces the amount of work that must be done to maintain your table.

You might be thinking that you can get away with not using chalk, but unfortunately that’s not an option.In the game of pool, chalk plays an extremely significant role in achieving accuracy in one’s shots, particularly when spin is involved.

Improves Shot Accuracy

The physics come into play heavily in the game of pool. Formulas for friction and impact play an especially important part in this process.

When balls are unclean, the coefficient of friction between them is reduced. This leads to impacts that are less precise overall.

To put it another way, the cue ball and the object balls do not move in the way that was anticipated. Your shots will be as accurate as possible if you use a set of balls that have been cleaned and polished.

Improves Moving Accuracy

In a similar vein, unclean balls will not roll as smoothly as they should. The presence of dirt on the balls can lead to an uneven distribution of weight, in addition to producing little bumps on an object that should be completely round.

Both of these factors affect how the ball moves. Balls that have been thoroughly cleaned will have a weight distribution that is even and will have a surface that is completely smooth. When you strike them, they will move in the direction that you want.

Makes Games More Fun

This is a psychological factor, but it is not any less important. We have a strong preference for clean things. It’s just friendlier and more approachable.

We’ve all been to bars where the pool balls and tables were covered with grime. They make it nearly appear as though they are telling you, “Don’t bother playing with me!”

When the billiard balls are spotless, they have this way of coaxing us to play with them even more. Guests will find your home much more welcoming if you keep your pool balls clean and presentable at all times. Your pool table transforms from a nuisance into a focal point of attention instead.

Cleaning Billiard Balls: Step By Step Guide

When you are cleaning your pool balls, you need to use caution. When you’re cleaning your billiard balls, you should be careful not to scratch them. After all, a ball that is injured is in a far worse condition than one that is simply dirty.

To that end, it is imperative that you are aware of any unconventional cleaning options, of which there most certainly are several available. They pose a risk of injuring your pool balls if you play with them.

And there is not the slightest reason to have them.

A solution of dish soap and water will quickly and effectively clean your billiard balls. Polishes that are purpose-built for the job are an essential component of more professional cleaning processes.

The best technique to clean your pool balls is going to be different depending on the material that they are made of.

You can use hot water if the balls are made of a resin-based material. However, water that is lukewarm is preferable when working with balls made of polyester.

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If you are unsure of the composition of the balls, warm water is a good substitute. It is always best to err on the side of caution.

Cleaning Pool Balls With Soap And Water

The combination of soap and water is incredibly versatile and may be used to clean virtually anything. Additionally, you may use it to clean the pool balls in your home if you have one.

To thoroughly clean your pool balls with soap and water, please follow the procedures below in order:

  1. Find a bucket with the appropriate size for cleaning. Put some hot or warm water in it, depending on the material that your balls are made of.
  2. To the water, add a little bit of soap or another kind of ordinary detergent.
  3. Make sure the water and soap are thoroughly combined.
  4. Put your soiled pool balls into the bucket and soak them. Keep them there for at least ten minutes before moving them.
  5. Another bucket should have some ice water poured into it. It’s also fine to drink water at room temperature.
  6. Take out the balls that have been soaked in the first bucket. Use a cloth made of microfiber to wipe them down.
  7. Place the balls inside the bucket, which should then be filled with ice water. Remove any trace of soap that remains.
  8. To clean the balls, wipe them down with a dry towel.

After you have finished cleaning the billiard balls, you must make sure to dry them. If you let the balls sit out in the water for too long, the water may ruin them.

Cleaning Billiard Balls With A Professional Pool Ball Cleaner

On the market, one can find a great deal of variety about pool ball cleaners. They allow you to clean billiard balls more quickly and in most cases simplify the process, making it easier than when you werehed them with soap and water.

When the balls are too unclean for water and soap alone to clean them, pool ball cleaners are another wonderful option to try. These cleaners are an excellent choice.

However, not every cleaning is effective. Pool ball cleaners of poor quality could end up damaging the balls. Look for high-quality cleaners and be prepared to spend a little bit more for them.

Utilizing cleansers designed specifically for billiard balls makes the cleaning process a breeze. Please proceed in the following manner:

  • Apply some cleaner to the ball.
  • Polish the ball with a microfiber cloth.
  • Dry clean the ball with another microfiber cloth.


Cleaning Billiard Balls Like A Pro

There are more professional ways to clean your billiard balls. They’re more expensive, though.

Some pool halls and bars have special machines for cleaning their billiard balls. You can buy one for your home table and make cleaning a complete snap.

These ball cleaning machines take care of all of the steps for you. You just put the balls in the machine, and it uses its motors to clean and shine the balls.

How To Clean Pool Balls That Have Yellowed

After some time has passed, you can start to notice that the color of your billiard balls has changed to yellow. The yellowed stain gives the impression that they are rather old. In order to keep a professional appearance, pool balls should be restored to their original white color.

Oxidation has produced this yellow stain, which may be seen here. The cue ball is where you will notice it most of all. Unfortunately, billiard balls that have turned yellow are difficult to clean properly.

Ball cleaners of a high-grade are the most effective method for removing the yellow stain. It can also be cleaned with water and soap, but you should also include some baking soda in the solution. Another option is to use vinegar.

How To Polish Pool Balls At Home

Billiard balls can be given a dazzling appearance by polishing them. They are going to be illuminated beautifully by the table lights.

On the other hand, polishing isn’t always required. Shining the balls actually has an effect on how they spin and how they respond when they are struck, which is why many professional tournaments choose not to do it.

However, there are some people who prefer less shiny billiard balls, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that preference.

At home, polishing and shining your billiard balls can be done in a number of different methods. Utilizing specialized wax is the path of least resistance.

After you have cleaned the balls using one of the ways described above, you should polish them before using them.

After the ball has been cleaned, apply the polish or wax to it. Use a cloth made of microfibre to polish it. Give the ball some time to dry up completely. Polish it using an additional cloth made of microfiber.

The key to success here is to move in a circular motion. Your pool balls will have a lustrous appearance as a result of this.

Some of the more expensive ball cleaning machines include a feature that shines the billiard balls in addition to cleaning them. If you are going to spend the money on a cleaning machine, it may be well to invest a little bit extra money to purchase one that also polishes the balls if you are going to spend the money on a cleaning machine.

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