How to Clean Billiard Balls

How to keep them shiny and new longer easily

How to Clean Billiard Balls

Billiard is a great way to spend some free time either alone or in a company of friends. And even though having your very own pool table can be pretty pricey for most of us, dropping in to a billiard club is more than affordable.

But if you do have your own billiard and all the supplies needed for the game (such as balls, for instance), you must be aware of how fast those pool balls become dirty! Most of us prefer not to clean billiard balls for various reasons, and everything would be fine with that if not one issue: dirty pool balls can kind of play not true.

So how do we avoid that? This is what we will be talking about today. Stay with us!

How to Clean Pool Balls

Billiard balls are so hard to clean!

This is approximately what every billiard player or owner of one will tell you when being asked why he/she does the cleaning procedure so seldom.

Indeed, maintaining those balls takes time and a certain effort since they become covered with our fingerprints, the traces of chalk, and all sorts of other grease and dust quite fast. And for the modern people who are super busy with their jobs and household duties, spending an extra hour for washing and polishing those billiard stuff seems like a pointless waste of time that could otherwise be used more efficiently.

But if you have your own billiard table at home, and you do play it often enough, you will anyway need to do some maintenance routine to keep the pool balls in a proper state.

Let’s agree, playing with dirty, stained balls is not much pleasure and it definitely does not look aesthetically! 

Is there the best way to clean pool balls yourself? Well, everything hangs strongly upon how often you play and thus how fast the balls become soiled and dirty. 

If it is fine to make use of some mild washing product for cleaning off the minor dirt, then for cleaning billiard balls that are badly soiled we will have to go for another scheme and means that must be stronger, otherwise, they will not be able to do their cleaning job properly.

How to clean billiard balls at home

First of all, consider that despite having various cleaning approaches, not all of them can and should be used. Sometimes such do-it-yourself cleaners can even end up damaging your pool balls!

How to Clean Pool Balls
Photo by Joey Genovese

Then, there is another moment that must be taken into account. In general billiard balls can be cleaned in two ways. 

  • One is an ordinary washing procedure that requires the use of soap and water (yes, that simple).
  • Another method will need you to get a special professional pool ball polish.

The good news is that both these ways are equally effective and affordable in terms of price and ease of finding the necessary supplies.

Now let us take a closer look at each of them and figure out how each process is supposed to go on.

How to wash the billiard balls with soap and water?

To wash your billiard balls with a homemade remedy, you will need soap or some detergent, two buckets, some water (opt for hot water for the resin-based balls, and for lukewarm one for polyester-based balls), a towel or a microfiber cloth, and, well, balls. Dissolve some soap or detergent in water using one of the buckets. Then soak the balls in this solution for like ten minutes, and meanwhile fill another tank with cold or room temperature water.

After ten minutes passed, take the pool balls out from it, wipe them thoroughly with a microfiber cloth, and place into another bucket with clear water. Wash the soapy residue off, and then give them a final wipe with a towel.It is vitally important that the billiard balls you wash are completely dry when you start using them again. See, if we leave them half-wet, it will lead to their further damage.

How to wash the billiard balls with a professional pool ball cleaner?

As for another cleaning method, it will require a professional pool ball cleaner. This approach is somewhat more preferable because sometimes billiard balls are very hard to clean using only soapy water.

Besides, washing balls with water does take some time.So if this is your case, and you need to make them glossy and new-looking fast again, we would recommend using one of such cleaning means, for instance, the one called Aramith’s pool ball cleaner.

How to clean pool balls !!How to clean pool balls !!

However, take into account that such a cleaning method will need you to make use of both cleaning and restoring products! The restorer is needed for polishing pool balls to bring back their glossy appearance and bright colors.

The cleaning procedure itself is extremely simple. 

  • You just need to shake the bottle with a restorer and apply some on a ball that is supposed to be cleaned. 
  • Now polish the ball’s surface with a microfiber cloth for thirty to sixty seconds, but normally one minute is more than enough even for the very dirty pool balls.  The good thing is that there is no need to learn how to polish pool balls, you just work on it with a cloth until its surface becomes clean and shiny.
  • When it is done, take another, clean cloth and dry clean the ball. Note that no product must be left on its surface!
  • And finally, repeat the whole procedure only this time using a cleaning product instead of a restorer. 

Why to go for a restorer first, somebody may ask? Well, the reason is that this product is stronger and thus it will cope with all the stubborn prints, grease, and stains easier and more efficiently than if we applied the cleaner first.

Also, there is one more way of cleaning billiard balls with a homemade product, and that one requires some baking soda. What you need to do is just make some soda paste by mixing the powder with a bit of water until it becomes a homogeneous substance. And then, after washing the balls with soap as it was described above, just apply the soda paste and gently rub with microfiber cloth.

Soda is a gentle cleaner and it will remove any stubborn spots and greasy marks easily without damaging the surface of a ball. On another hand, such a procedure is rather time consuming, so not everyone might like it.

More About Polishing

How to clean and shine billiard or pool ballsHow to clean and shine billiard or pool balls

Polishing gives the pool balls that shiny gloss that makes them look new and cool. However, since the process itself is quite monotonous, most of us would rather skip this phase. For this very reason, billiard owners make use of a billiard ball polisher machine quite frequently.

This handy device looks like the machine we use for drying fruits pretty much, only into this one, we will load the billiard balls.

Prior to turning the device on, the balls are treated with a polishing product, and then you just set them into the sections in the machine, you close the lid, and press the start button. And the smart device will do all the dirty job for you! The only disadvantage of such a method is that such a polishing helper is quite pricey and can cost around three hundred dollars. 

Why Clean Them At All?

It may seem odd, but people sometimes do ask this question. Indeed, why do we need to bother and wash the balls? They still roll properly even when being dirty!

Well, they do roll, yes, but the dirtier they become the less accurately we will be able to play with them. But except for that, we can name several other reasons why we should pay attention to such a boring routine.

  • Clean balls have better frictional co-efficiency which is needed for creating that spin that the cue ball gives to other balls. Without that spin, the balls must be clean.
  • Moreover, greasy billiard balls covered with someone’s fingerprints do not look much aesthetically, let’s agree to that.
  • Finally, and this is what most of us don’t even have an idea about, dirty billiard balls can damage the table cloth! Dirty balls create harsher frictions when rolling over the table which will eventually result in the wear and tear of the latter one. 
  • Dirty balls lose their speed which can badly influence the game process.

So as you can see, maintaining the billiard balls and keeping them clean is not only about aesthetic pleasure.  

How to Make a Pool Ball Cleaner Yourself?

The pool ball cleaners are not that pricey to not be able to afford one for yourself. However, it can so happen that we have no professional cleaning product at hand when we are in urgent need of wiping the pool balls. 

In such a situation, making a billiard ball cleaner yourself can be very helpful. Besides, a homemade pool ball polisher or cleaner needs only simple ingredients and very little time for preparing it.

The best option is to get some water with the soap dissolved in it ready, and then prepare a baking soda paste. Simply mix this powder with some aqua until you get the smooth paste-like substance. This one will serve perfectly for removing the greasy and dusty marks from the pool balls after you give them a proper bath in that soapy liquid. 

How to Make a Pool Ball Cleaner Yourself
Photo by C. Z. Shi

And remember to dry them thoroughly afterward since moisture will make the pool balls get ruined quickly. 

How to Keep Clean Pool Balls That Way Longer?

To not make the cleaning pool balls procedure useless, keep clean billiard balls correctly. It does not mean you shall lock them in a special chest or box and keep hidden away in a vacuum space like some superhero would do to his weapon.

Nevertheless, certain recommendations are better to be followed anyway.

  • Wipe the balls after each game. Yes, it sounds boring, but it will at least help to keep them clean longer.
  • You should indeed find some sort of box for storing them. Whenbeing locked away, the pool balls will be way better protected from dust and thus you will be protected from too frequent cleaning procedures.
  • Make it a rule to wash and polish them regularly. The frequency will hang upon how often you play though.

Following these simple rules will help to keep the billiard balls shiny and free from dust and dirty marks longer, which in its turn will save you time that would be spent on washing and polishing.

How to Store Billiard Balls?

We bet that most of us would just leave the pool balls on the table after the game is over, and hardly anyone would bother to place them elsewhere. However, such an attitude is not quite acceptable if you want to keep the billiard balls clean and undamaged. To store them correctly, consider the following hints.

  • Do not leave the pool balls on the table. When doing so, they will not only become dusty faster, but there is also a risk of developing wear and tear on the table, as well as cloth marks.
  • Leaving balls in the pockets is also not recommended for the same reasons of dirtiness.
  • We would also not recommend keeping them on shelve or another similar place.

The best thing that can be done is to buy a set check and keep the pool balls there protected from dust, damages, and any other potential hazards.

So, now that you learned about cleaning pool balls, about how to polish billiard balls, and how to make your own homemade pool ball cleaner, we are sure that you will have no more issues regarding their storage or maintenance in future. 

Take care of your billiard table and balls, and they will serve you very long so that your children will even be able to inherit them, perhaps!

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ How to clean billiard balls?

Use either a professional product or a homemade remedy like soapy bath for that.

⭐ How to clean billiard balls at home?

Wash them with soapy water, and then treat with baking soda paste to remove any stubborn or old spots and marks.

⭐ How to clean up old dirty billiard balls?

The best option is to use a cleaning machine since it is able to cope with the most difficult cleaning tasks.

⭐ How to clean aramith billiard balls?

The Aramith cleaning product must be applied after the restorer of the same brand. Just apply some onto the ball and wipe it with a cloth.

Written by
Olivia Paxton
Olivia is a Former Four Season Service Manager she worked there for 15 years. She knows all the nuances and secrets of hotels, houses, and apartment cleaning. We are very proud that she is a part of our team of Experts and shares her knowledge and experience with us.
Or editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
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