Learn how to clean pool table balls by studying this quick guide.
Keeping your pool equipment in top condition is the ideal way to ensure that everything looks the part. It can also help save you money in the long run too.
When you manage to own a great pool table and have the best break cues to go with it, you would want perfect pool balls to really complete the ensemble wouldn’t you?
If you’re new to billiards, make sure you learn how to rack pool balls and that you check out popular games such as 8 Ball (see our 8 ball rules guide) and 9 ball rules before you begin playing. It is also generally a good idea to learn proper maintenance of your equipment, starting with the pool balls.
Being aware of the best cleaning practices can help with the longevity of your table and felt. So it is definitely worth learning how to clean pool table balls by reading this handy guide.
How to clean pool balls – Getting started
So you’ve decided to take the plunge and learn how to clean your pool balls. After all, if you’ve purchased a brand new pool table, you want to have pristine pool balls to match as well.
Related: Best Pool Tables under $1000
Committing to doing it for the first time is half the battle. But once you’ve cleaned them once and you know what you are doing it does become easier.
Soap and water will be your 2 main go-to’s when undertaking this task. The heat of the water differs depending on the material of your balls. For the majority of billiard balls, they are polyester-based so be careful with the temperature. Water that is too hot may cause irreversible damage. But cold water won’t get them clean as the balls need heat to remove the gunk from the surface.
If you are unsure about the material of your billiard balls, follow the main part of the guide to play it safe.
Follow these steps to ensure that your pool balls get kept in pristine condition:
- Fill a bucket or sink with the correct temperature water.
- Grab a detergent or cleaning product and add it to the water.
- Ensure that you soak each billiard ball for around 10 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, scrub each ball so that all excess dirt gets removed.
- Wrap each ball in a towel so that they dry.
Drying pool balls carefully and thoroughly will avoid leaving spots on them. This can make them look like you haven’t cleaned them at all so is best avoided. If you want to take your billiard ball cleaning to the next level, consider giving them a polish as well.
Products for cleaning pool balls
Now that you know the method, having the right product to assist you can make all the difference in the quality of the finish.
There are products available designed for both polyester-based balls or Aramith-based balls. Make sure you know which type of ball you have before committing to purchasing.
One of our favorite products to clean billiard balls is this Aramith billiard ball cleaner. Designed especially for billiard balls, it will give your pool balls a good clean with a small amount used.
You may even decide that you would like to pair the cleaner with the Aramith Billiard ball restorer as well. Using this will give the balls a little extra professional shine.
To ensure that you have the ideal billiard cloth for cleaning, consider picking up a micro-fiber cloth too.
Once you have managed to clean the pool balls, then you may want to get a travel case to store your billiard balls in. This way, you can keep them cleaner for longer.
What not to do when cleaning pool balls
Learning how to clean pool table balls may seem like a straightforward process. There are still some common mistakes that get made that may cause irreversible damage to your set of billiard balls if you do not take care.
The main culprit of this is when people decide to use products that they have lying around the house to clean their billiard balls.
But using them may cause damage to the surface, especially using products such as Windex.
Don’t bleach them either. This will cause the balls to discolor and may mean you have to fork out for some new ones sooner rather than later.
You may also see advice online to use toothpaste. This is another no-go as it may leave residue on the balls which become almost impossible to remove. So it would be a lot easier to avoid doing that in the first place.
When polishing the pool balls, the biggest mistake you can make here is to use an oil-based polish. Using this to polish can lead to the balls becoming too sticky and picking up more dirt and dust as a result.
If not dried properly, playing with them while they are still oily can even lead you to damage your other pool equipment or felt.
Benefits to having clean pool balls
Having clean pool balls not only looks great on your table but it gives extra benefits as well.
It happens gradually as you play matches of your favorite billiards games.
But constant use will allow your pool balls to build up grime which eventually affects how they slide across the table.
You may find that the first game that you play after cleaning, everything is a lot smoother and that you are playing better as a result. And if you still aren’t playing better, consider reading our guide on solo pool games to play to improve your game for some helpful game tips.
You may also find that your pool table felt lasts longer by having a regular clean of the pool balls. Using chalk on your cue will leave chalk on the balls when you play. This in turn spreads the chalk across the table as the balls roll about.
Chalk left on the felt of a table for an extended period can lead to damage and need replacing. If you have picked the best pool table felt for your table, you can prevent damaging it by simply cleaning the pool balls regularly.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get my pool balls white again?
By carefully following this guide, it should give you plenty of advice in making your pool balls as white as the day you purchased them.
Don’t worry if you try the steps and they are still not as white as you would like them to be. If they are particularly dirty it may take many attempts before it returns to its natural whiteness.
Can you clean pool balls in the dishwasher?
Using a dishwasher to clean pool balls is certainly not recommended. We would advise staying away from doing this altogether.
A dishwasher gets too hot when it is on, even on the lowest and quickest of settings. Due to the material used for pool balls, it can’t handle the high heat. This heat will make the balls dull whilst also making their internal structure less durable.
Should you wax pool balls?
Polishing pool balls isn’t a need at all, so don’t feel obliged to do so if you’re pressed for time. Yet, it is certainly recommended to give your billiard balls that extra sheen.
Do not wax your pool balls in the same way that you would to a car. Waxy billiard balls can affect the way that they slide across the table when playing. So much so that the WPA won’t allow waxed balls in their official tournaments.
If you are someone who wants shiny pool balls but aren’t too keen on having to do the polishing yourself, you can get a machine to do that for you if you find one.
Why do pool balls turn yellow?
Pool balls turning yellow is a result of oxidation naturally occurring on the surface of the ball. It is like the pool ball equal to metal going rusty when exposed to different elements.
The yellow stain can make the pool balls look old and ugly, and is likely to be the reason why you looked up how to clean pool table balls in the first place. The stains can be particularly stubborn to get rid of but you can remove them with enough determination.
How do you clean Aramith pool balls?
Aramith pool balls do need different treatment when cleaning as opposed to the more common polyester-based balls.
Definitely use the recommended cleaner if you have these types of balls for the best results. Also, if you are certain that your billiard balls are Amarith, then you will need to use hotter water to clean.
By reading, we hope that you have learned how to clean pool table balls the proper way to ensure that no damage occurs because of dirty billiard balls.
Not taking the proper steps to take care of them can lead to having to pay out on a new table, felt, or other equipment sooner than expected. So taking good care of everything is key to longevity.
By keeping everything clean and pristine as well, you can show off your pool table to your pals. And once you wow them with the condition of your set-up, all you’ll need to do is wow them with your pool skills.
Now that you will be enjoying clean billiard balls, it only seems right that you use them while playing some great games.
For some pool games that are a bit different from what you would usually play, be sure to check out our guides to the cutthroat pool rules and the bank pool rules.
Both of these games are less than conventional as they’re designed for large groups to play, so nobody has to be left out if you’re planning a pool night with pals.
Or if you are someone who enjoys other forms of bar games, have a look at our list of some of our favorite dartboard games for some entertaining games that use a dartboard.
You could also start with some easy dartboard games to really ease you in before you attempt the more complex, challenging games.