When and How to Polish Bowling Ball-Everything You need to Know

how to polish bowling ball

How important do you think bowling balls surface are? Should you focus more on your ball’s surface or on the lane? Now, these are the topics people have been debating for so long.  But everyone can agree that polishing or cleaning a bowling ball’s surface is the best way to change the overall functionality and performance of a bowling ball.  When you polish a ball’s surface, you readjust it for better shots. That’s why knowing the best ways to polish bowling balls is a necessity. So if you’re interested to know how to polish your bowling balls, keep on reading!

When to polish your bowling balls?

Polishing bowling ball is one of the least discussed topics for most bowlers. Oftentimes they don’t understand when to polish the bowling balls they own, and as a result, the ball’s longevity and performance become poor. When you need surface adjustment while bowling, reapplying oil on the lanes isn’t always the best option. This is when polishing the bowling balls comes to the rescue. If you want to know whether this will be a better alternative for surface adjustment, here are some things you need to consider.       

1. Are your Bowling Balls not hooking properly?

– During your match, if you see a slight change in your ball’s hooking, it’s probably because the lane has started drying up. If you notice your high-hooking bowling ball has suddenly started acting different, you should polish your bowling ball instead of waiting for the oil reapplication on the lane.

2. Are your bowling ball speed relatively slow?

– If you think your bowling ball isn’t rolling fast enough and hitting the pins with less force, then it’s time to polish it. Generally, newly polished balls are always up to their speed and energy. So, as soon as you see a slight change in your bowling ball speed, get it polished.

3. When the lanes break down, do you find it difficult to adjust with the lane? 

– If you’re bowling on a fresh oil pattern, your game will be top-notch, no doubt. But soon when it starts to break down, what do you do? Can you adjust your shots with the same bowling ball you were playing with? If you can’t adjust to that oil breakdown, you better polish your bowling ball as an alternative.

4. Are your bowling lanes hooking excessive for you?

– Oftentimes you’ll see that your bowling ball is making a much curved roll at the breakpoint that it usually does. If you want to prevent that from happening, just polish your ball adequately, and it will be good to go!

How to Polish Bowling Ball: Step By Step Guideline for You

1. Bowling Ball Polish With Polishing Agent

Polishing agents are one of the best ways to polish bowling balls. Oil, scuff, belt mark, dirt, or any buildup you have on your bowling ball, polishing agents can clear it all. But how do you do that using a bowling ball polishing agent?

Well, the longer you play the more you will see that your bowling ball is picking up stuff that might botch your ball’s overall reaction. To prevent that, you need to polish the ball’s surface and bring it back to its beauty. With a polishing agent, first, what you have to do is put your bowling ball on a ball holder better if it’s a rotating one.

After that grab your favorite polishing agent and a fresh rag or cleaning towel. Put about a dime size drop of polish on the towel and apply in a circular motion on the surface of the ball. Repeat the process to cover the entire surface of the bowling ball. Once that is done, let the ball dry. Then with a clean rug/towel go ahead and buff that off.

Once that is done, you need to wipe off any excess product that you may still have on the ball surface. So, go ahead and grab a liquid ball cleanser, like the Lane Ghost Bowling Ball Cleaner Spray. Spray it once on the ball surface and then wait for 5-10 seconds, and after that polish your ball with a piece of towel. Once you’re done, you’ll have a nicely polished ball, using the polishing agent and ball cleanser.

Polishing agents are great if your ball is hooking too early and you want to prevent that. Polish will add a little more length and leave you with a very strong backend reaction.

2. Bowling Ball Polish with Slip Agent

Slip agents are best for ball polishing whether you’re a high or low rev player. People who have trouble getting the ball down the lane, oftentimes, cannot keep the ball on the right side of the lane. Slip agents give the ball maximum length down lane and it will cut the backend reaction. Slip agents are also great if you have if you see your bowling ball hooking too early or too strong.

So, to get the predictable result out of your bowling ball, get a slip agent for your bowling ball, like the Vise Bowling ball slip agent 8000 grit. It needs to be applied to the surface of your ball with a piece of clean towel/rug. This will allow you to achieve a later reaction with a strong backend and a perfect hook on time. It will also give your bowling ball a nice glossy finish.

So no more struggles with the overreaction at the dry breakpoint. Slip agents can assist your bowling ball with this competition. This may even increase your previous average.

3. Bowling Ball Polish rubbing compound without wax

Rubbing Compounds without wax is great if you have scratches or sand lines on the balls and want to get rid of them. But it doesn’t have any slip agent and polishes in there. So what it does is, let the ball make full contact with the lane to give you the earliest read you’ve ever seen. It will also maximize the backend reaction.

With rubbing compound, you will get a less shiny effect on the bowling ball. This comparatively coarser liquid abrasive buffs off any particles that are on the ball surface and polishes it to a finer grit. Many bowlers personally, like it more as it gives the ball more mid-lane read.

Usually, compound is designed to give more surface shine than polish but a lot depends on the underlying grit of the ball itself. So, if you want to have that in your bowling ball, just grab a compound agent based on your ball’s grit. Apply a dime size on a clean towel. Buff it on the surface and do it until it completely mixes with the surface. The rubbing compound takes time to be absorbed, so do it patiently.

What type of bowling ball should you use for polishing?

Rubber Bowling Ball: For intense polishing or rubber bowling balls, you can first sand them and apply a polishing agent to resurface the bowling ball. If you have to do it during your match, then you can use rubbing alcohol or any approved bowling ball cleaner. Use a microfiber towel to get all of the excessive oil off the surface.

Plastic Ball: Polyester or plastic bowling ball is great for polishing because you can use basically use any bowling ball polish. Plastic ball’s coverstocks have different characteristics than resins and urethanes; so have no worry about the types of polish with plastic bowling balls.

Urethane Bowling Ball: Polishes that are over 500 grit are great for Urethane bowling balls. We suggest using abrasive grits polishes until you achieve the desired reaction. True urethane bowling balls are very stiff and inflexible, but not hard. So you can go up to 4000 grit polish.

Reactive Bowling Ball: Reactive bowling balls are pretty expensive, so you should be extra careful while polishing them. Any polishing agent and slip agent will do fine. For best results, don’t forget to use a clean microfiber rag/towel.

Particle Bowling Ball: You can also polish particle/proactive bowling balls easily at home. But since they are a bit expensive, you should get them done from a pro shop for the best results.

Video: Turtle Wax TruCut for all Bowling Balls Including Urethane

Turtle Wax TruCut polish works with all bowling balls

Bowling Ball Polish Alternative

Now let’s say, you can’t get your hands on the polishing agents. Can you use something else? Definitely, you can! There are some portable ball polish kits and equipment that you can use to polish your bowling balls.

Smart Star Ball Maintenance System: This bowling ball maintenance kit by PYB Inc. includes a smart VMS, a new SRB, and three different types of pads for sanding and polishing all kinds of bowling ball coverstock. This one-of-a-kind bowling maintenance kit can give you a factory-like ball polishing finish. On top, you can carry them everywhere you go and polish your bowling ball.

CTD Polishing Pad: What if you don’t have enough time to polish or clean your ball before your next shot and you’re seeing unwanted stuff on your bowling ball? What can you do? Just use the CTD polishing pads/clothes and give your ball a proper wipe and buff. The pads will easily remove the extra oil your ball has picked up, and make the surface smooth again. Also, the pads are reusable and washable so you know they will last for a long time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should you polish a bowling ball on a regular basis?

There are no fixed rules for when you should polish your bowling balls. But how often should you do it? Well, if you practice bowling every day for more than an hour a day, you should polish your balls after every three or four days. But do that only if you see that the shine is lost, or your matte finish bowling ball looks too oily. In some cases, you don’t even need to clean them for a week if they look good just after some wipes. Deep polishing is needed when your bowling ball has completely lost its shine or sanded finished and you want the ball to resurface. If you don’t bowl that frequently, you should polish your bowling balls once a month, and for plastic balls, polish them after every two months.

Can you use car wax on a bowling ball?

Some polishing/slip agent or compound contains wax that is used for polishing a bowling ball. But it’s different for car wax. The particles of car wax are dense and very different. So, you cannot apply car wax on a bowling ball. But why is that? Well, the car wax tends to clog the pores of the ball’s coverstock. This has a significant negative impact on your overall bowling performance. Your bowling ball will lose its previous performance, lose a lot of its length, and won’t hook the way it used to.


Bowling ball resurfacing, shining, cleaning, these can get really confusing if you don’t have adequate knowledge. The same goes for ball polishing. We hope this article was helpful enough for you to understand and learn the basics of bowling ball polishing. Make sure you use the right product and follow the best ways to polish your bowling balls. Remember, you don’t have to overdo it. But do it from time to time. After all, nothing beats the performance of a freshly polished bowling ball.


I’m an aspiring bowler with an immense love for bowling. I started playing the game at a very early age and it’s been an integral part of my life ever since.

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