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How To Clean Pool Balls

pool balls in rack with cue sticks

Keeping your billiard balls clean is essential and the best way to keep pool equipment in tip-top shape.

For a good pool game, you need clean, fresh, and good-quality equipment.

Knowing the best way to clean billiard balls is one way to keep your equipment looking funky and fresh and to help with the longevity of your balls and table.

We have everything you need to know about cleaning pool balls.

Cleaning Pool Balls: A Step-By-Step Guide

pool balls in rack with cue sticks

Polyester or Acrylic Pool Balls

Clean your pool balls using a solution of lukewarm water and just a tiny bit of white vinegar.

The balls should be soaked in the warm water and white vinegar mixture for five to ten minutes, then lightly dried with a microfiber cloth.

refrain from washing your polyester and acrylic billiard balls with boiling hot water and dish soap.

Your polyester and acrylic pool balls may be negatively impacted and start to degrade.

Phenolic Resin Balls

The best way to clean pool balls made of phenolic resin:

  1. Fill your sink or a bucket with some hot water: It’s crucial that you only use warm water and avoid using hot or cold water on your dirty billiard balls. Colder water won’t help to remove the filth and grease, and hot water can harm your pool balls.
  2. Add some dish soap or mild detergent: When cleaning your billiard balls, use a mild detergent or dish soap to make a solution to soak the pool balls.
  3. Start soaking your billiard balls: Billiard balls should only be added to the sudsy mixture for around five to ten minutes. Any longer and the pool balls may discolor and develop difficult-to-remove stains.
  4. Scrub the balls clean with a rag: Remove the balls from the soap and water mixture and scrub the pool balls properly with a microfiber towel. Avoid using a scrub brush or any other abrasive tool, as this can scratch the set while also causing discoloration. Scrub each pool ball individually.
  5. Dry each ball thoroughly: Thoroughly dry each billiard ball after scrubbing. Do this slowly and ensure that the balls are completely dry, as any moisture or water will leave stains and water spots that will be impossible to get off. You also want to keep the pool table balls dry so that detergent or soap residue doesn’t transfer from the balls to the table, damaging the felt and affecting your game.

What You Should Avoid

You should clean your pool balls regularly but you should also note that there are some products that you need to avoid.

Household Cleaning Products

Avoid using home cleaning items like steel wool, strong soaps, and detergents while cleaning your cue ball and other balls.

Your pool balls lose quality as a result of these products.

For instance, billiard balls are likely to become pink when frequently cleaned with bleach detergent.

Using items such as steel wool or brushes causes scratches on your pool balls.

Instead, clean the balls using a microfiber cloth.

Pool balls turn yellow when being washed with certain products as well.

Dishwashing Liquid

The resin-based balls can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

This is because when they are put in the machine, they behave like regular glass. However, it is not recommended to clean billiard balls using this technique.

You should avoid using a harsh dishwashing liquid, as your shiny pool balls will be no more.

The pool balls also tend to get loads of scratches and marks, and this damage can affect your play and scratch your pool table – and this is never what you want.

Bleach And Toothpaste

Likewise, avoid bleaching them.

The balls will become discolored as a result, and you could have to shell out money for brand-new ones in the near future.

Additionally, some online sources recommend using toothpaste to clean the balls.

Another no-go because it could leave residue on the balls that is impossible to get off.

Therefore, it would be far easier (and cheaper) to avoid using any of these products and methods in the first place.

Oil-based Wax/Polish

The final temptation is to polish the pool balls, but you should refrain if the polish or wax is oil-based.

Your pool table will pick up a residue from the oil that polishing pool balls with this type of polish leaves behind.

This will harm the felt on the table and have an adverse effect on your overall billiards performance.

Any polish or wax on your pool balls will eventually transfer to the felt on the table, no matter how hard you attempt to wash and dry them completely.

Billiard Ball Cleaning and Care FAQs

How can I get my pool ball white again?

You can use special pool ball cleaners and restorers to get your balls looking brand new again.

Should I wax pool balls?

Pool balls should not be waxed, especially if you are playing pool at a competitive level, as it will make it harder to have consistent shots.

Final Thoughts

Clean pool table balls not only look good but also ensure that your pool table looks beautiful and lasts long.

Knowing how to clean and care for your pool balls can really come in handy, and taking good care of your equipment is the best way to make it last!

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