How To Clean Pool Balls Like New – Step-by-Step

  • By: Rob
  • Date: May 12, 2022
  • Time to read: 13 min.
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There are certain things in the game of pool that you can’t help; getting your pool balls dirty is one of them. Beginners to experts can’t escape this fact. As long as you play the game –even if it’s once in a while- you will experience dirt, chalk, and other things staining your pool ball. 

With this in mind, you will need to know the best practices of cleaning your pool balls. 

Cleaning your pool balls regularly can be as easy as using warm soapy water. A deeper clean may be needed if they have turned yellow, stained, or need to be polished and waxed. Regular cleaning will improve their overall condition so they pay true and also protect your pool table cloth too.

how to clean pool balls

In this article, You’ll find an easy-to-follow guide on how to clean pool balls to make them look new again as well as remove stains and yellow coloring that can appear. We will also walk you through steps on how to polish and wax if needed.

How to clean pool balls: Step By Step

If you are wondering what to clean pool balls with then this will be your ultimate easy to follow guide – I would bookmark this page!

I am sure you will find different methods online on how to clean pool balls; however, some of those methods may end up damaging your balls. This section is dedicated to sharing the best ways of cleaning your billiard balls without having to damage them. 

There are two ways to keep your pool ball clean; by simply using soap and water, and by using a professional cleaner. 

there are many other ways, for example, some clean pool balls with Windex, but i have detailed ways i use for you to follow.

What’s great is these alternative methods are easy, affordable, and equally effective. 

While I explain these methods, note that the type of pool balls you have will determine to a large extent the particular approach to use.

  • For Resin-based balls, you can use hotter water
  • For Polyester-based balls use lukewarm water

To know, how to clean billiard balls or just how to clean cue balls, you will first need to know what type of pool balls you have as hotter water will affect acrylic and polyester made balls.

If you are unsure then just use lukewarm water.

Best way to clean billiard balls using soap and water

The best way to clean billiard balls is to use warm soapy water, it’s an effective and cheap method. 

To clean your balls, you will need the following:

  • Laundry detergent (amazon link) or soap
  • Hot water(for resin-based balls) OR warm water(for polyester-based balls) 
  • A dry soft towel, microfiber cloth (Amazon link).
  • Two buckets.

See how to wash pool balls below:

How to clean billiard balls

  1. First, pour some hot or luke warm water into one of the buckets, add some gentle soap or laundry detergent and mix properly. 
  2. Soak the balls that need to be cleaned in the bucket for at least 10 minutes. While the balls are immersed, add cold/ room temperature water in the other bucket. 
  3. After about 10 minutes, remove the soaked balls and wipe them properly with the microfiber cloth. To ensure these balls brighten up, you can add extra soap to the microfiber cloth. 
  4. Place these balls now into the other bucket with cold water and wash off the soap. After washing, wipe the balls with the dry towel. 

How to clean billiard balls

  1. First, pour some hot or luke warm water into one of the buckets, add some gentle soap or laundry detergent and mix properly. 
  2. Soak the balls that need to be cleaned in the bucket for at least 10 minutes. While the balls are immersed, add cold/ room temperature water in the other bucket. 
  3. After about 10 minutes, remove the soaked balls and wipe them properly with the microfiber cloth. To ensure these balls brighten up, you can add extra soap to the microfiber cloth. 
  4. Place these balls now into the other bucket with cold water and wash off the soap. After washing, wipe the balls with a dry towel. 

Note that the balls need to be thoroughly dry before you play with them. Leaving them half dry can expose the balls to great damage. It’s a common mistake made by a few people, especially people cleaning their pool balls for the first time; don’t fall for it.

How to clean with a professional pool ball cleaner & restorer

Aramith billiard ball cleaner (Amazon link) is a great way to clean phenolic resin pool ball – its not recommended on polyester pool balls. 

It has a mild cleaning agent that does a great job at cleaning resin balls by hand or you can use in a ball cleaning machine, like the Aramith power ball cleaner (Amazon link)

There are brilliant, high-quality pool ball cleaners that can make your stained pool balls look new again. One of such cleaners which come highly recommended is the Aramith’s  pool ball cleaner. 

The cleaning agent is explicitly designed for phenolic resins balls; cheaper billiard ball cleaners may not get the result this cleaning agent boasts of achieving.  

It has been proven for an excellent cleaning ability. To use this Pool ball cleaner, you will require an Aramith ball cleaner, the Aramith ball restorer, and two microfiber cloths.

How to clean pool balls using Aramith ball cleaner

  1. Shake the Aramith pool ball restorer properly, and apply a couple of drops on the ball you want to clean first.
  2. With this cleaning substance, polish the ball using one microfiber cloth for 30 seconds to a minute. Applying some firm pressure when buffing it
  3. With another microfiber cloth, dry clean the ball, making sure no restorer is left behind on the ball.
  4. After that, repeat the process, but this time with the Aramith ball cleaner. Shake it, apply some to the ball, polish it, and then wipe with a clean cloth

If you are looking to restore your resin pool balls and make them shine again like you just got them out of the box, then you will want to use an Aramith billiard ball restorer (Amazon link). This acts like a pool ball polish and will make your balls look shiny and new.

Note that this is different from the ball cleaner above, this is to restore your balls back to a shiny new state.

How to restore pool balls with Aramith billiard ball restorer

  1. Clean balls properly and thoroughly with Aramith ball cleaner (Follow the how-to above)
  2. Add a few drops of Aramith pool ball restorer to a microfiber cloth and buff applying some pressure as you buff and polish.
  3. Repeat the process for all your balls

Aramith has their own microfiber cloths (Amazon link) but they are slightly more expensive than the microfiber cloths above.

Removing yellow stains on pool balls

The yellow stain on the pool balls is the most popular stain seen on a pool ball. It makes the balls, especially the cue ball look old, dirty and ugly. But why do pool balls turn yellow?

The stain is a result of oxidation taking place on the ball. It is similar to the ‘rust’ experienced by the metals.

You will usually see pool balls of high quality, such as phenolic resin balls turning yellow. 

There are a few ways to do this, but using Aramith ball restorer (Amazon link) is a gong to work wonders for a yellowing pool ball.

Another method you could try is by using baking soda (Amazon link). 

I will go over how to do both methods here to help remove yellow stains on your cue ball and playing balls

How to remove yellow stain from pool balls with Aramith billiard ball restorer

  1. First, wash pool balls as described above
  2. Add a few drops of Aramith pool ball restorer to a microfiber cloth and buff the balls, apply pressure while doing it.
  3. Once satisfied and the yellow has been removed, make sure there is no restorer is left on the ball.
  4. Repeat process for all your balls

How to remove yellow stain from pool balls with baking soda

  1. First, wash pool balls as described above
  2. Add baking soda to a small cup of water until the water turns to a paste
  3. Apply the paste to the yellowed ball using a toothbrush
  4. Scrub the ball to remove any yellow stains
  5. once satisfied, wash the pool ball in water to remove any left over baking soda paste
  6. Dry completely. 

How to polish pool balls

After you have cleaned your pool balls you can add a shine to them. Its not necessary but it looks great when your pool balls are looking brand new and shiny.

The most important thing is to ensure you’re cleaning pool balls when and if they are needed, polishing them is an added extra but not always necessary. There are a few products on the market to polish pool balls, you can also use polishers that aren’t necessarily meant for pool balls, but they will still work well, just ensure you don’t use an oil-based polish.

There are a few different pool ball polisher you can use but the two i like are Aramith ball restorer (Amazon link), which we have talked a lot about and also Mezz cue magic billiard ball cleaner and polisher (Amazon link). 

If you want to restore your resin billiard balls to shine like new and look great under your table lights then follow these steps on how to polish billiard balls.

How to polish pool balls with Aramith billiard ball restorer or Mezz Cue Magic

  1. First, wash pool balls as described above
  2. Add a few drops of one of the polishers above to a microfiber cloth and polish the balls, some pressure needs to be apply while polishing.
  3. Polish until satisfied with the shine 
  4. Repeat process for all your balls

How to wax pool balls

The WPA is against waxing pool balls for tournament play as they say it changes the way the balls spins and interacts with each other. 

It’s claimed that if you wax your pool balls regularly, over time it will leave wax on the table cloth, witch also affect the play of the table. 

You can use different kinds of car wax on pool balls, like Turtle Wax, but here i will use Meguiars cleaner wax (Amazon link). This pool ball wax will do the job nicely.

If you insist on waxing your pool balls to fully restore them and give them a super shine, then this is how to wax your pool balls: 

How to wax pool balls with Meguiar’s cleaner wax

  1. First, wash pool balls as described above
  2. Then gently, using circular motions rub in some Meguiar’s cleaner wax 
  3. Once you have fully applied a thin even layer around the ball, take a peper towel to clean off the top layer of wax
  4. Once completed, use another paper towel to clean the residual wax.
  5. Next,  using a microfiber cloth, buffer the pool ball well bringing it to a new looking shine.
  6. Repeat for all the balls

Best pool ball clean and polish machine

Alternatively, a method that will require much less effort but will come at a higher price will be to use a ball cleaner & polisher.

This pool ball cleaner polishing machine is probably one of the best on the market. It uses its strong motors to clean and buff up your billiard balls. 

This pool ball cleaning machine uses Pure wool loop to clean and buff the balls. It’s durable and cleans quickly.

If you just don’t like cleaning pool balls by hand, then this is without a doubt the best way to clean pool balls. Its easy, quick and effortless. What’s great about this is the way the machine buffs the balls means they come out not only clean but with a great shine.

But it will cost a little more, so its really up to you and your budget.

Resin-based balls

The resin-based billiard balls actually react just like a standard glass whenever in any washer, preferable dishwasher. This means they are quite easy to clean using a dishwasher. So for your Aramith balls, your dishwasher can do the job easily; be careful not to use harsh soaps. 

*We don’t advise washing your resin based balls in a dishwasher, but if you are careful, using the correct soap, its possible*

Harsh soaps like those used for pot stains and serious greasy stains will end up damaging the shiny finish of the balls, leaving them with scratches and marks. Be sure also to space your balls while using a dishwasher. 

The steps listed above for cleaning is perfectly ok, the main difference between cleaning is that with resin based balls, you can use hotter water for cleaning than polyester based balls.

Polyester based balls

There is a different cleaning approach adopted when cleaning the polyester-based billiard balls. Because they are polyester-based, they can’t be washed in a dishwasher. 

They require some more attention when cleaning than the Aramith balls. To wash these balls, you will need warm water, a bit of gentle soap, and a soft clean cloth or sponge, including a little pressure. 

After cleaning the stain, be careful to remove all soapy substances on the ball. Any leftover soap can leave a filmy residue on the ball. 

To further bring out the ball’s shine, polish them with some ball polish applied to the microfiber cloth. An example of some industrial ball polishers to use is the Tiger Ball polisher.

Why clean pool balls

Before i give you a step-by-step rundown on how to clean pool balls; first let me explain why we should even bother cleaning pool balls.

If you are among those who still find it stressful to clean your pool ball, you probably don’t know the benefits a clean ball offers you. Some reasons why you should ensure your cue balls are always clean include:

  1. For Frictional Co-Efficiency: The basic mechanism of the pool game is the transfer of spin/momentum from the cue ball to the object balls. This mechanism is the thrust of the game. To achieve this effectively, frictional co-efficiency is needed between the balls. Only clean balls can guarantee a high level of co-efficiency. 
  2. Dirty Balls Increases Risk of Wear And Tear on The Table Cloth: As the unclean balls rollover your table cloth, the rough dirt increases the amount of friction between both surfaces. This increased friction increases the possibility of tear of the cloth. Also, dirt slows down the speed of balls, and the distance they can cover. 
  3. Increased Pleasure to Play:  Naturally, cleanliness attracts. This same principle applies to the pool ball. You will feel the desire to play pool when you have a clean ball, as your efforts are in line with the result (balls ease and speed) achieved. 
  4. Act of Responsibility: As you play the ball regularly in areas where there are specks of dust, greasy food substances, oil, and others, it becomes our responsibility to make sure the balls are clean and well-polished.

How often should I clean my pool balls

How often you should clean your pool balls depends on a variety of factors, including how often you use them and how dirty they get.

Some people recommend cleaning your pool balls every time you use them, while others suggest cleaning them every few weeks or months.

If you use you pool balls casually then as a general rule , I would recommend cleaning them at least once a month.

That said, if you play more regularly or your pool balls become very dirty or scratched, you may need to clean them more often. 

Do you need to clean pool balls

The short answer is no, you don’t need to clean pool balls. The longer answer is that, although it is not necessary to clean your pool balls, there are several benefits to doing so.

Cleaning your pool balls can help them last longer and look better. It can also help improve your game, as dirty or scratched balls can affect your accuracy.

If you decide to clean your pool balls, there are several ways to do so. Most are mentioned within this article. 

Whichever method you choose, be sure to rinse the balls thoroughly afterward. 

Can you clean pool balls in the dishwasher

The short answer is no, you cannot clean pool balls in the dishwasher. I feel the water will get too hot in most dishwashers and will damage the finish on the balls. The detergent may also discolor your pool balls.

Saying that, you can put some dishwashing detergent on them and scrub them with a brush, it is not as effective as using a dedicated ball cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water.

I must add that some people do use the dishwasher to clean pool balls, while I can’t recommend it, It does happen and some people consider it perfectly safe. 

They consider polyester and phenolic resin pool balls to be durable enough to withstand being washed in a dishwasher.

So if you decided to try it, know that some people do it and consider it perfectly ok, but there is a risk involved.  If you decided the risk is worth taking then I suggest using a gentle cycle using a low temperature without detergent.

Conclusion

Every player desires always to enjoy the game, hopefully with clean pool balls. To a large extent, You can guarantee that if you’ve followed my guide on how to clean pool balls correctly. 

The above methods are useful for cleaning your pool balls, including the cue ball without compromising the quality of the balls. Note that cleaning your balls should be done regularly. 

This is to minimize the potential damage that accumulated dirt can cause on the balls and the pool table. Just ensure you apply complete precautions (as outlined in this guide) while cleaning to prevent unwanted pressure. I wish you good luck with your cleaning process.

Hope you got value from this guide on how to clean pool balls, if so why not bookmark the page so you can come back next clean you give your pool balls.

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Rob is an avid player and fan of all cue sports, particularly 8-ball, and snooker. He has competed in a few local 8-ball tournaments and although he is not a professional, he can compete with the best of them.