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How to Clean Billiard Balls

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If you want your pool set to last longer, you should learn how to clean billiard balls. Don’t worry, this is actually really simple. With a few simple steps and the right materials, you can prevent any dirt buildup on your billiard balls that can affect their movement.

How To Clean Billiard Balls 

The most important thing that you should know before cleaning your billiard balls is to know what type of billiard balls they are. Different types of billiard balls use different methods for cleaning. Using the wrong cleaning method may cause damage to your billiard balls.

When in doubt, use products that are specifically for cleaning pool balls. Some products can be used for all types of pool balls so you’ll be safe. 

Billiard balls in need of cleaning

Cleaning Billiard Balls

All you need to clean billiard balls are warm water, cold water, detergent, and a rag or microfiber cloth. To start off: 

  1. Prepare your bucket of warm water. Sink water may do just fine.
  2. Add detergent and mix.
  3. Soak the billiard balls for 5 minutes.
  4. Scrub each ball with a rag or microfiber cloth
  5. Wash off the detergent with cold water
  6. Wipe the balls until they are dry

You can also use soap instead of detergent. Use only gentle soap or light detergent for cleaning. While some people may tell you to use hot water instead of warm water, don’t go for it right away. Hot water may potentially cause damage to your balls.

You can use hot water for soaking only if your billiard balls consist of 100% resin. Hot water may cause damage to billiard balls made of acrylic or polyester. If you’re not sure about the materials of billiard balls, just use room temperature water with a small amount of white vinegar. 

Don’t just air dry your billiard balls or it can leave some spots. Use a dry cloth to wipe the soap or detergent off the billiard balls. 

Cleaning Plastic and Resin Billiard Balls

You may find that plastic and resin billiard balls are fairly easy to clean. If you have a dishwasher at home, it’s pretty convenient. Resin billiard balls react like standard glass when cleaned under the dishwasher. 

However, we don’t recommend using a dishwasher as it can damage your billiard balls with harsh soap. They oftentimes leave with scratches and marks after going through a dishwasher. 

Cleaning Polyester Billiard Balls

Polyester balls aren’t the same as resin billiard balls since you can’t clean them in the dishwasher. You need to use warm water, a gentle soap, and a soft sponge or cloth. 

You can also polish your billiard balls with ball polish using a microfiber cloth. You can easily find industrial ball polishers online. 

Using a Dishwasher with Billiard Balls

As we mentioned above, you wouldn’t want to use a dishwasher on your billiard balls. They can cause permanent damage to your billiard balls especially if they’re on the cheaper side.

Clean billiard balls inside a rack

Most billiard balls use phenolic resin or polyester resin. Combined with harsh soap, the heat from a dishwashing cycle can seriously damage the materials. 

Using a dishwasher may alter the appearance and core integrity of your billiard balls. You’ll eventually notice their shine wearing out and they grow less durable over time. That’s why we wouldn’t recommend you use a dishwasher.  

Using Household Cleaning Products

Household cleaning products may seem a great choice for cleaning your billiard balls yet they do more harm than good. Products like Windex or Simple Green can cause abrasion and damage to your billiard ball’s surface. 

Some cleaning products also turn the color of your billiard balls yellowish. Bleach causes discoloration and lessens the shine. It also creates non-white spots making your billiard balls look unappealing. 

In general, you should only use detergent or soap. The better option would be to use cleaning products specifically made for cleaning billiard balls. 

How to Remove Yellow Stains on Billiard Balls

Billiard balls turn yellow over time because of oxidation and they lose their beauty. However, you can easily remove the yellow stain on your billiard balls. 

  1. Mix a small amount of baking soda with water in a bowl and stir. 
  2. Wash the ball with warm water and rub the mixture paste onto each billiard balls. 
  3. Let it sit for a while.
  4. Afterward, rinse off the baking soda with cold water. This will prevent the baking soda from drying onto the ball’s surface. 

While there are other options for removing yellow stains on billiard balls, this is one of the easiest ways to do it. This works for polyester-based billiard balls. For billiard balls made from resin-like Aramith, check the steps below. 

Polishing Your Billiard Balls

If you want your billiard balls to look good as new, you may consider polishing them to give them a bit of shine. You want to avoid using oil-based polish because it can make dust and debris stick to your balls. 

Waxing also isn’t recommended. It may affect ball spin, speed, and effectiveness and it sticks to the felt of your pool table. Felt is very expensive so you want to avoid this if you can. 

Pool balls inside a rack

Use a polish specifically designed for polishing billiard balls. Most of them come with instructions on how to use them and all you have to do is to follow the instructions. 

Using Aramith Pool Ball Cleaner

If you have a really dirty set of billiard balls with yellow spots all over, then you need to consider using an Aramith pool ball cleaner which also comes with an Aramith pool ball restorer. However, note that this can be quite strong and can be harmful to cheap pool ball sets. Simply follow these:

  1. Shake the bottle of Aramith pool ball restorer before use, apply a spot of it to a billiard ball.
  2. Use a microfiber cloth and polish the solution for about 30 seconds or more. 
  3. Use another microfiber cloth to dry the ball until the Aramith is wiped off.
  4. Shake the bottle of Aramith pool ball cleaner and apply it to the ball. Softly polish the ball and wipe it clean using a piece of cloth. 
  5. Repeat the same steps with the other balls.  

Why You Should Clean Your Billiard Balls

Cleaning your billiard balls makes them more effective and prolong their usage. Here are some of the reasons why you should clean your billiard balls:

  • Longevity: by keeping your billiard balls clean, you can extend its usage. When not cleaned, the balls can build up chalk that damages the billiard balls over time. 
  • Friction efficiency: billiard balls with no dirt sticking to them can have the right transfer of spin/momentum on them with the right amount of friction. The dirt slows down the speed of your balls. 
  • Prevents damage to your table cloth: the dirt in billiard balls increases the amount of friction between both surfaces. This increases the possibility of wear and tear on your table cloth. 
  • Aesthetic: you wouldn’t want to show your friends a dirty pool set and pool table. 
  • Frugality: you would save more cleaning your billiard balls than buying a whole new set of billiard balls. Most people take for granted that billiard balls last a long time, you should also clean them.

Conclusion

Cleaning your billiard balls is easy and you should do it regularly. If you want to have a smooth play and longer-lasting billiard balls, keeping your billiard balls clean will benefit you a lot. Make sure you use the method that’s right for the type of billiard ball.