How to Clean Golf Balls – Proven Methods to Make Them White Again!

how to clean golf balls

Golf balls take a beating on the field. They get whacked, trampled, and driven every which way, so it’s no surprise that they can start to look grubby and unappealing after a few rounds. Despite their small size, golf balls can be a significant investment for any golfer, and it’s important to keep them in tip-top shape to get maximum performance. Honestly, I do not like to buy new golf balls every time they become dirty. Instead, I prefer to clean them up and give them new life. Not only does it save me money, but it also helps me to keep my game consistent. But how to clean golf balls? 

Some golfers might think that simply wiping their ball with a towel or rinsing it with water is enough, but there’s more to it than that.

How to Clean Golf Balls at Home?

Nobody wants to have a dirty or stained ball in their collection, especially when it can affect the accuracy of their shots. Here’s the secret: you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars replacing your balls every time they get dirty. The easiest way to clean golf balls involves using a washcloth, hot water(lukewarm), and soap. Just start cleaning by scrubbing away with these basic supplies. Plus, this method is affordable and easy to do at home.

I understand the value of having clean and fresh-looking golf balls. Purchasing new balls frequently can be expensive, so it is important to know how to keep your golf balls spotless. In the above paragraph, I taught you the best way to clean golf balls. But it’s important to note that there’s no best way to wash golf balls as different methods work best for different golfers. However, I have found success with my techniques, and I’m confident that they will work for you too. 

How to Clean Golf Balls with the Dishwasher Method? 

I tried this method after a round of golf. To my surprise, when the cycle finished, the golf balls came out looking brand new! I realized washing golf balls in the dishwasher is also a great step if done carefully. So, here’s how you can do it too.

an image of a dishwasher

1. Gather all your dirty golf balls. Place them in the top rack of your dishwasher. 
2. Add a small amount of dishwashing detergent to your dishwasher. 
3. Select a shorter cycle, preferably less than an hour, to avoid overwashing golf balls.
4. Once the cycle is complete, take out the golf balls and let them dry completely. 

Note: Be very careful not to use any hot water or heated air as this could damage the golf balls by expanding the air inside them.  

How to Clean Golf Balls with Bleach?  

I have been cleaning my golf balls with bleach for years now, and I have noticed how much cleaner and shinier they look after every wash. Here’s how I do it.

1. Take a bucket, bleach, water, and a soft-bristled brush.  
2. Mix the solution together and then place the dirty golf balls in the bucket. 
3. Leave them for about 15-20 minutes. Do not exceed this time frame. 
4. After the time is up, take a soft-bristled brush and gently scrub each ball.
5. Now rinse the balls with clean water to remove any residual bleach.  
6. Dry them off completely with a soft towel or let them air dry.  

How to Clean Golf Balls with the Soak and Pressure Wash Method? 

I remember practicing for a tournament one day, and my ball kept veering off course. I tried everything to fix it, adjusting my stance, and my swing, and checking the golf ball diameter like an expert, but nothing seemed to work. I even searched for what golf ball I should use online because I thought maybe I was using the wrong ball. 

It wasn’t until my fellow golfing buddy recommended the Soak and Pressure Wash method that I saw a miraculous difference. Since then, I have made it a priority to clean my golf balls regularly, and the Soak and Pressure Wash method has remained my go-to technique. 

1. Start by filling a bucket with warm water and adding a mild detergent. 
2. Let your golf balls soak in the solution for at least 15 minutes. 
3. Now give them a good scrub with a soft-bristled brush. 
4. Make sure to check the dimples on golf balls and scrub them.
5. Take your golf balls to the nearest pressure washing station. 
6. Put them in a mesh bag and give them a quick wash. 

How to Clean Golf Balls with the Soak and Scrub Method?  

This is one more way to get rid of any dirt, mud, or grass stains that may have accumulated on your balls from the course. The best part? It also increases the shelf life of a golf ball if done properly. So, below is the best way to clean golf balls with the soak and scrub method.

1. Gather all your dirty balls and a large bucket. 
2. Fill up the bucket with warm water, and add some mild dish soap. 
3. Place all the balls in the water and let them soak for at least 10 minutes. 
4. Start scrubbing each ball gently but firmly. 
5. Once all the balls are clean, rinse them thoroughly with clean water.
6. Never towel dry the balls, as this can cause scratches or damage to the surface. 

How to Remove Sharpies from Golf Balls?  

I’ve been playing golf for the past 20 years and I’ve encountered all sorts of challenges throughout my journey, but one of the biggest problems I’ve faced so far is removing sharpie marks from golf balls. This is a common issue that most golfers face, and it can be quite frustrating. To help, I am sharing the most effective ways to remove a Sharpie from your golf ball.

1. Take a microfiber cloth, rubbing alcohol, acetone, and a small bowl. 
2. Start by soaking the microfiber cloth in rubbing alcohol. 
3. Use the cloth to rub the mark. Keep repeating the process until the ink starts to fade.
4. Dip the microfiber cloth into the acetone and scrub the golf ball. 
5. Use a dry-erase marker to cover the sharpie marks.  

How to Clean Old Golf Balls?

Over time, golf balls can accumulate dirt, grime, and even algae, all of which can affect the ball’s performance. Not to mention, some of the chemicals used in pesticides and fertilizers on golf courses can also affect the ball’s surface. And to really get them clean, you need to use a few special techniques.

an image of a few dirty old golf balls in a tray

  • Start by soaking the balls in warm, soapy water for a few minutes. This helps to loosen any dirt or grime that may be stuck on the surface. Once the balls have soaked, gently scrub away any remaining debris with a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to rinse the balls thoroughly with clean water and dry them with a towel.
  • For tougher stains, try using a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Simply mix equal parts of vinegar and baking soda to form a paste and apply it to the affected areas. Leave the paste on for a few minutes before scrubbing away with a brush.
  • If you have access to a ball-cleaning machine, it can be a quick and efficient way to clean a large number of golf balls at once. These machines use high-pressure water and specialized cleaning solutions to remove dirt and stains.
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What to Clean Golf Balls With?

WaterPlain water can be used to clean golf balls. Simply rinse the balls thoroughly and dry them.
Soap and WaterMix warm water and mild soap to create a soapy solution. Dip the ball in and scrub. 
VinegarCreate a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. Soak the balls for 10-15 minutes.
Baking SodaMix baking soda and warm water to form a paste. Rub it onto the balls and rinse.
Commercial CleanersThere are many commercially available golf ball cleaners. Follow instructions carefully.
Brush and TowelUse a soft-bristled brush and a towel to rub and dry the golf balls.
Golf Ball WasherInvest in a golf ball washer for a quick and easy cleaning solution.
Water and Hydrogen Peroxide While cleaning golf balls with hydrogen peroxide is helpful, always mix it with water. 
an image of a golfer hand while cleaning a golf ball

Must Read Guide: How Do Four Balls Work In Golf  

Golf Ball Cleaning: How Often Should You Do It?

Before choosing the best way to clean golf balls, you must know how frequently you must clean them. Golf balls often accumulate dirt and grass which can affect their performance. Dirty golf balls can cause a loss of spin, distance, and accuracy. In order to achieve your best game, you need to make sure that your equipment is in top condition, starting with your golf balls. 

Generally, it’s recommended that you clean your golf ball after every shot. However, that’s easier said than done, especially when playing a round with a group. In reality, it’s more practical to clean your ball before and after each hole.

Clean your golf balls after every game, not only for better performance but also for longevity.  

What to Avoid When Cleaning Golf Balls? 

While keeping your golf balls clean is important to maintain their condition and performance, there are certain things you should avoid when cleaning them. Here are some tips to help you keep your golf balls in top-notch condition.

  • Avoid using abrasive materials – Using abrasive materials such as sandpaper or steel wool to clean your golf balls can cause damage to the material and alter it, which can affect its performance. It may remove numbers on golf balls which helps you identify the ball on the golf course. Thus, opt for a soft cloth or sponge to clean them gently.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals – Harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia can damage the outer golf ball layers and affect their trajectory. Use mild detergent and warm water to clean them instead. Moreover, it is important that you understand the chemistry of the inside of golf balls as it can help you with better selection & performance with your golf balls.
  • Do not use hot water – While warm water is great to clean your golf balls, avoid using hot water as it can cause the material to expand and warp, thus affecting the ball’s performance. Cold or lukewarm water is perfect for cleaning golf balls at home.
  • Avoid using excessive force – Golf balls are made to withstand pressure but using excessive force can cause damage to the material and affect their performance. Handle your golf balls gently and avoid pressing down too hard.
  • Do not dry your golf balls in direct sunlight – While it may seem like a good idea to bask them in the sun, drying your golf balls in direct sunlight can cause the outer layer to crack and affect their effectiveness. Instead, dry them in a cool and dry place.
  • Do not keep your golf balls wet for too long – Leaving your golf balls wet for too long can cause them to absorb water, which affects their weight and can alter their trajectory. Dry them immediately after cleaning them.

Got the Best Way to Clean Golf Balls | Recall the Basics

I hope this guide on how to clean golf balls has been helpful to you! By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can make sure that your golf balls are as clean as a whistle – which will help you hit that perfect shot on the green! Plus, you just have to grab a bucket, and some soap, and get scrubbing. Not that difficult I guess. This way, not only will you be able to play your best game, but you can also make sure that your golf balls don’t become a breeding ground for bacteria. So, give them a good clean on a regular basis and you will be good to go.

For more exclusive golf-related topics, make sure to follow Golf Ace Nation. From golf equipment to golf tips and tricks, you will find everything at once.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How long do you soak golf balls in water?

Soaking golf balls in water can help to loosen dirt and grime, making them easier to clean. The length of time you should soak your golf balls depends on how dirty they are. For lightly soiled balls, 30 minutes in warm water should be enough. If they are particularly dirty, you should consider leaving them to soak for a few hours.

Q. Can I use vinegar to clean the golf balls?

Yes, vinegar is an effective and cheap way to clean golf balls. Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and warm water, and soak the balls for 30 minutes. After soaking, scrub the balls with a soft sponge or brush, then rinse them off with clean water and dry them with a towel.

Q. Can you rub your ball on the green to clean it?

No, rubbing your ball on the green to clean it is against golfing etiquette and can damage the grass. Instead, use a ball cleaning towel or rag to wipe off any dirt or grass stains.

Q. Should I wash my balls with cold or hot water?

Warm or hot water is generally more effective at breaking down dirt and grime, so it’s best to wash your golf balls with warm water. However, if you’re using a cleaner or detergent that specifies cold water, then follow the instructions on the label.

Q. How to clean the golf balls in bulk?

The best way to clean golf balls in bulk is to place them in a mesh laundry bag and wash them in a washing machine. The balls should be washed using a gentle cycle, warm water, and a mild detergent. Alternatively, you can fill a large bucket with warm water and cleaner, and soak the balls in batches before scrubbing them clean. 

Q. Can you wash golf balls in the dishwasher?

Although it’s possible to wash golf balls in the dishwasher, however, it’s recommended to place them in a mesh bag to prevent damage and use a gentle mode with mild detergent. Avoid high heat settings to maintain the ball’s condition.

Q. Can you bleach golf balls?

Yes, you can bleach golf balls! But remember, you have to be careful with the process as bleach can damage the outer layer of the ball and affect its performance. To do it properly, mix some bleach with water in a bucket and let the balls soak for around 10-15 minutes. Then, rinse them thoroughly with water and let them dry completely before use. 

Q. How to clean the golf balls from ponds?

Wear proper protective gear like gloves and boots, as the water in ponds can be full of bacteria and harmful chemicals. Use a scoop or a net to recover the balls from the pond, and rinse them thoroughly with clean water. If the balls are dirty or stained, you can clean them with some mild soap, warm water, and a soft brush. Let the balls dry completely before using them again, and store them in a cool, dry place.

Q. How to wash golf balls in a washing machine?

To wash golf balls in a washing machine, place them in a mesh laundry bag and set the machine to a gentle cycle with warm water and mild detergent. Don’t overload the machine, and avoid mixing the balls with other items. Once the cycle is complete, remove the balls from the bag and dry them with a towel.

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