How To Clean Golf Balls: A Comprehensive Guide

A clean golf ball can drastically improve your game, and luckily, getting them sparkly isn't rocket science.

You can use a variety of methods, from the simple soapy water scrub to specialized golf ball cleaners, or even your everyday dishwasher.

Eager to learn more? Stick around, we're going in for a deep dive into the world of golf ball maintenance.

The “Classic” Method: Cleaning Golf Balls with Soapy Water

Ah, the good old classic way! Cleaning golf balls with soapy water is the go-to method for many.

It's straightforward, efficient, and doesn't require much apart from a few household items.

But don't be fooled by its simplicity; there's an art to getting it right.

Here's your detailed roadmap to acing the classic way of cleaning golf balls.

Required Tools and Materials

To embark on this cleaning journey, you're going to need:

  • A bucket or a large bowl
  • Warm water
  • Regular dish soap
  • An old toothbrush or washcloth
  • A dry towel

You might be wondering, “Why an old toothbrush?”

Well, the bristles are perfect for getting into those small dimples on the golf ball where dirt likes to hide.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Process

  1. Fill your bucket or bowl with warm water. You'll want enough water to fully submerge your golf balls.
  2. Add a small amount of dish soap. You don't need a lot – a few squirts should do it. Stir the water until you see soapy bubbles.
  3. Submerge your golf balls in the soapy mixture. Ensure they're all covered.
  4. Grab your toothbrush or washcloth and start scrubbing. Pay special attention to the dimples and any particularly stubborn spots.
  5. Once you've given each ball a thorough scrub, rinse them with clean water. You want to get rid of any leftover soap.
  6. Pat them dry with a towel. Let them air dry completely before storing to prevent any mold or mildew.

Pro Tips and Warnings

  • Remember, all dirt isn't created equal. Mud will come off easier than something like tree sap. If you've got some really stubborn grime on your balls, you might have to let them soak in the soapy water for a while before scrubbing.
  • While it's tempting to give the balls a hard scrub, remember that too much pressure can damage the surface of the ball, which could affect its performance.
  • If you're using a toothbrush, make sure it's a soft-bristled one. Hard bristles can scratch the surface of the ball.
  • Always make sure the balls are fully dry before storing them. Damp balls can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can cause them to deteriorate.

The “Soak” Method: Golf Balls and the Power of Soaks

Want to amp up your cleaning game? Enter the “Soak” Method. If you're dealing with some serious dirt and grime, or if you've got a batch of golf balls that need a deep clean, soaking them can be a real game-changer. With this method, your golf balls get a rejuvenating spa experience that'll leave them shiny and clean. Let's dive into the details.

Different Soak Solutions: Bleach, OxyClean, Hydrogen Peroxide, White Vinegar

  1. Bleach: An effective, deep-cleaning agent. Bleach can tackle most kinds of grime and discoloration, giving your golf balls a bright, white appearance. However, it can be a bit harsh, so it's best to dilute it well and not to overuse it.
  2. OxyClean: This is a powerful stain remover that's great for stubborn dirt and grime. It can help restore the original white color of your golf balls.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide: An eco-friendly option, hydrogen peroxide is less harsh than bleach but can still deliver a good clean. It's also handy for whitening your golf balls.
  4. White Vinegar: This pantry staple is a gentle, eco-friendly option for soaking golf balls. It can help dislodge dirt and grime, and also works as a natural disinfectant.

Steps to Follow

  1. Fill your bucket with enough water to fully cover your golf balls.
  2. Add your choice of cleaning solution. For bleach, OxyClean, and hydrogen peroxide, a good ratio is about 1/4 cup of cleaner to one gallon of water. If you're using vinegar, go for a 50/50 mix with water.
  3. Submerge your golf balls in the solution and let them soak for about 20-30 minutes.
  4. After soaking, use a cleaning brush, towel, or cloth to gently scrub the balls.
  5. Rinely the balls with clean water to remove any residual cleaner.
  6. Dry the balls with a towel, then let them air dry completely before storing.

Pros and Cons of Each Soak Type

  1. Bleach: Pros: Powerful cleaner, whitens balls. Cons: Can be harsh, needs to be used in moderation.
  2. OxyClean: Pros: Powerful cleaner, good at removing tough stains. Cons: Might be harsh on some golf ball materials.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide: Pros: Eco-friendly, less harsh than bleach or OxyClean, whitens balls. Cons: Might not be as effective on stubborn stains.
  4. White Vinegar: Pros: Gentle cleaner, eco-friendly, can help disinfect balls. Cons: Might require longer soaking time for heavy dirt and grime.

The Dishwasher Method: Unconventional but Effective

When you think about cleaning golf balls, your dishwasher might not be the first thing that comes to mind.

Yet, believe it or not, it can be a practical and straightforward way to get the job done.

Let's explore the unconventional yet effective dishwasher method of cleaning golf balls.

Precautions and Instructions

Safety first! There are a few things to keep in mind to ensure this method doesn't end up causing more harm than good:

  1. Use the right compartment: To prevent your golf balls from bouncing around and damaging your dishwasher, it's crucial to place them in the utensil compartment. If your dishwasher has a small basket for utensils, that's a perfect spot.
  2. Add enough detergent: Just like washing your dishes, you need enough detergent to get the grime off. However, don't go overboard. The usual amount you use for a regular load of dishes should suffice.
  3. Use the medium cycle: A high-heat cycle may damage the balls or the dishwasher, so stick to a medium or low-heat cycle.
  4. Don't mix with dishes: To avoid cross-contamination, it's best to run a separate cycle just for the balls.

Suitable Situations for Using This Method

While the dishwasher method can be a handy way to clean your golf balls, it's not suitable for every situation.

It's best when you have a larger number of balls to clean at once.

It's also a good method when the balls are not excessively dirty.

A dishwasher might struggle with heavy soil or tree sap, but it can handle light to medium dirt just fine.

How Often One Should Use the Dishwasher Method

The dishwasher method is a bit like a shortcut – great for when you're in a pinch, but not something you'd want to use all the time.

Overuse might lead to wear and tear on both your balls and your dishwasher.

Therefore, consider this as an occasional method, maybe once every few months, rather than a go-to cleaning approach.

So, the next time you're up against a pile of dirty golf balls, why not give your dishwasher a shot?

It could be the perfect way to streamline your cleaning process and get back to what really matters: improving your swing.

Stay with us, though. We've got more cleaning methods to explore!

The Vinegar Method: Natural, Effective, and Eco-Friendly

If you're a fan of natural cleaning solutions, the Vinegar Method will be right up your alley.

Gentle, eco-friendly, and surprisingly effective, vinegar could be the secret ingredient your golf ball cleaning routine has been missing.

So, how does it work? Let's find out.

Detailed Guide on How to Use Vinegar for Cleaning Golf Balls

  1. Gather your materials: For this method, all you'll need is a bucket, warm water, white vinegar, and a pressure washer (optional but highly recommended).
  2. Create your solution: Fill your bucket halfway with warm water and add a cup of vinegar. The exact ratio doesn't need to be precise, but aim for a 1:1 ratio of water to vinegar.
  3. Soak the balls: Place your golf balls in the vinegar solution, ensuring they're fully submerged. Let them soak for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  4. Remove and rinse: After soaking, take the balls out of the solution. If you have a pressure washer, now's the time to use it. It'll help blast off any remaining dirt or grime. If not, rinsing thoroughly with clean water should do the trick.
  5. Dry: Use a towel to pat the balls dry, then leave them to air dry completely before storing.

Discuss the Effectiveness of Vinegar

Vinegar is a versatile and efficient cleaning agent, able to break down a variety of dirt and grime.

While it might not be as heavy-duty as bleach or commercial cleaners, it can effectively handle most common types of dirt found on golf balls.

Plus, the acidity in vinegar can help to naturally brighten your golf balls, restoring their original shine.

Environmental Benefits

One of the standout benefits of using vinegar is its minimal environmental impact.

Unlike many commercial cleaning products, vinegar is non-toxic and biodegradable.

This means it's safe to dispose of down the drain and won't contribute to water pollution.

By choosing to clean your golf balls with vinegar, you're taking a small but significant step towards more sustainable golfing practices.

Intrigued? Give the Vinegar Method a try next time your golf balls need a little TLC.

Remember, the best cleaning method for you will depend on your specific needs and resources, so don't be afraid to experiment and see what works best for you.

Stay tuned for our final method – using a commercial golf ball cleaner!

Using a Golf Ball Cleaner: Commercial Solutions

Looking for a more tailored solution to keep your golf balls in peak condition?

Commercial golf ball cleaners might be the answer.

These handy gadgets are specifically designed to tackle the unique challenges of cleaning golf balls, often providing superior results with less effort.

Let's dive into the details.

Introduction to Golf Ball Cleaners

Golf ball cleaners are specialized tools designed to clean golf balls quickly, efficiently, and without causing damage.

They often combine mechanical cleaning (like brushing or pressure washing) with a cleaning solution to deliver a thorough clean.

Using a golf ball cleaner can save you time, especially when you're cleaning a large number of balls.

Moreover, they're portable, making them a convenient option for golfers on the go.

Review of Xintan Tiger Pack of 2 Golf Club Brush Groove Cleaner and ACCTOLF Portable Golf Ball Washer

  1. Xintan Tiger Pack of 2 Golf Club Brush Groove Cleaner: This compact tool is a must-have for golfers who want to maintain their gear properly. It features two kinds of bristles: the softer bristles are perfect for delicate surfaces while the harder ones can tackle more stubborn grime. The cleaner also comes with a sharp spike for cleaning deep grooves, making it ideal not only for golf balls but for clubs too.
  2. ACCTOLF Portable Golf Ball Washer: The beauty of this cleaner is in its portability and ease of use. The ACCTOLF washer is a cleaning chamber wherein you place your golf ball, add water and a cleaning solution, and shake it. The inner brushes work to remove the dirt and grime from the ball. It's a fast, effective, and fuss-free solution to dirty golf balls.

Tips for Using These Devices

  1. Follow the instructions: Each cleaner will have its own specific usage instructions, so be sure to follow them for the best results.
  2. Check the brushes regularly: The brushes in golf ball cleaners can wear out over time, so keep an eye on them and replace them as needed.
  3. Avoid harsh chemicals: Some golf ball cleaners may recommend using a particular cleaning solution. Unless stated otherwise, it's usually best to stick to mild, non-abrasive cleaners to avoid damaging your balls.
  4. Rinse well: After cleaning, make sure to rinse your golf balls thoroughly to remove any residual cleaner.

Do's and Don'ts: Preserving the Integrity of Your Golf Balls

If you've ever been frustrated by a poorly performing golf ball, you'll know the importance of preserving their integrity.

Cleaning them properly is an essential part of that.

Now, let's delve into the do's and don'ts of golf ball maintenance, helping you to avoid common pitfalls and keep your balls in top-notch condition.

Why You Should Avoid Hard or Metal-Bristled Brushes

Scrubbing your golf balls with a hard or metal-bristled brush can seem like a good idea, especially when faced with stubborn dirt.

However, doing so can damage the golf balls' surface, altering their performance characteristics.

These brushes can cause scratches or dents, affecting the ball's aerodynamics and ultimately, how it flies and rolls.

To keep your golf balls in the best condition, opt for soft-bristle brushes or cleaning tools specifically designed for golf balls.

Other Actions to Avoid

  1. Overuse of Harsh Chemicals: While strong cleaning solutions can remove dirt effectively, they can also damage the ball's coating. Stick to milder solutions or ones specifically made for golf balls.
  2. Excessive Soaking: Leaving golf balls soaking for too long, especially in a harsh solution, may lead to discoloration or surface damage. Try to limit soak time to 30 minutes or less.
  3. High Heat: Extreme temperatures can affect a golf ball's performance. Avoid hot water or high-heat drying methods.

Best Practices for Cleaning Golf Balls

  1. Regular Cleaning: Instead of waiting for the dirt to build up, clean your golf balls regularly. This practice helps to keep them in good shape and can extend their life span.
  2. Rinsing After Cleaning: Always rinse the balls thoroughly after cleaning to remove any residual soap or cleaning solution.
  3. Complete Drying: Ensure golf balls are completely dry before storing them to prevent the growth of mold or mildew.
  4. Gentle Tools: As mentioned before, use a soft-bristled brush or a cleaning tool designed for golf balls to prevent any surface damage.
  5. Check Your Balls: Regularly check your golf balls for any signs of wear and tear, such as cuts, scratches, or discoloration. Damaged balls may not perform optimally and may need to be replaced.


Cleaning your golf balls is a straightforward but crucial part of your game.

Whether you opt for the classic soap and water scrub, a handy commercial cleaner, or something in between, maintaining your golf balls not only prolongs their life but also keeps your game in check.

Remember, avoid harsh brushes and extreme conditions, and clean regularly.

With these tips and methods, you're well-equipped to keep your golf balls in top shape.

Now, it's time to get back on the course and enjoy your game.