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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. Even beginners and novices at the game can 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.
Some people avoid this task of cleaning because of their busy schedule, while others are absolutely disinterested because they lack the best cleaning practices of pool balls.
However, when you keep these balls clean regularly, it helps to improve their overall conditions meaning they play more true and you help protect your table and the felt from damage.
In this article, You’ll find a guide on how to clean pool balls to make them look new again.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 to clean pool balls: Step By Step
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.
From experience, there are two ways to keep your pool ball clean; by simply using soap and water, and by using a professional polish.
It’s even more exciting to know that 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.
To know, how to clean billiard balls, you will first need to know what type of balls you have as hotter water will effect acrylic and polyester made balls.
If you are unsure then just use luke warm water.
1. A Mixture of Soap and Water
It’s almost a norm for you to quickly think of soap and water whenever there is something to clean. Well, you aren’t wrong if you ever thought of this mixture to clean your pool balls, it’s an effective and cheap method.
However, to use this method to clean your balls, you will need the following:
- detergent or soap
- hot water(for resin based balls) OR warm water(for polyester-based balls)
- a dry soft towel, microfiber cloth.
- two buckets.
See the procedures on how to use this method effectively below:
- First, pour some hot or luke warm water into one of the buckets, add some gentle soap to it and mix properly.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
2. Using a Professional Pool Ball Cleaners
Some individuals will consider the first method tasking because of the processes involved, so they will rather go for this one. The second reason why you may consider this method is that some balls won’t be cleaned by using just soap and water.
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 excellent cleaning ability. To use this Pool ball cleaner, you will require an Aramith ball cleaner, the Aramith ball restorer, and two microfiber cloths.
- Shake the Aramith pool ball restorer properly, and apply some on the ball you want to clean first.
- With this cleaning substance, polish the ball using one microfiber cloth for 30 seconds to a minute.
- With another microfiber cloth, dry clean the ball, making sure no restorer is left behind on the ball.
- 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.
It is always best to use the restorer before the Aramith cleaner. The reason is that it is stronger of the two substances, and it helps in breaking down tough stains while the cleaner then removes them.
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 snooker 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.
Removing yellow stain
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.
This particular stain proves a lot of headaches to many pool equipment owners because it seems challenging to clean.
So, how to clean yellow pool balls?
To remove this yellow stain, you can either use any of the methods mentioned above –the common household cleaning method or the ball polish.
For resin-balls such as Aramith, i would use Aramith pool ball Restorer first, then buff using a microfiber cloth. Ensure no restorer is left on the ball.
Then repeat the process again using Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner.
For polyester-based ball i would use the process steps above but i would add some baking soda into the detergent mix and clean the balls that way
The vital thing to consider is to be adequately informed about the type of ball you are cleaning. When the wrong equipment and ingredients are used in cleaning pool balls, it causes damages to them.
How to polish pool balls
If you were looking for the best way to clean pool balls then i hope you found it above. Now its time to add a little shine to your pool balls.
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.
But when the billiard balls shine, they do look great under the table lights.
In fact, 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.
But, if you insist on waxing your pool balls so they shine like new again, then there are a few ways to approach this:
Even though its not advisable as it will change how the balls play slightly and you wont be creating true tournament conditions – you may still want to proceed with giving the balls an added shine.
Here are the steps or polishing or waxing your pool balls like new
- Simply apply a small amount of polish or wax to your ball (one or two drops) apply a very thin coating.
- Using a microfiber cloth, rub in the polish or wax, ensure to cover the whole surface of the ball very lightly but firmly.
- Leave to dry for a while
- using a microfiber cloth again, buff the ball up using circular motions, make sure to buff the whole ball.
Best way to clean and polish pool balls
Alternatively, a method that will require much less effort but will come at a higher price will be to use a ball cleaner & polisher.
The Ballstar Billiard ball cleaner and polisher is probably one of the best on the market. It uses its strong motors to clean and buff up your billiard balls. Although it wont get out the super heavy marks.
If the right care is given, heavy marks on your billiard balls shouldn’t appear. But, if they do appear then good old elbow grease will help buff it back to new.
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. Whats 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.
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.