Bowling Balls can be very expensive these days, especially with the economy being the way it is. The newer "Reactive Resin" balls can help you achieve higher scores because they can get through the oil better than the urethane ones, but they vary in price from $150 and up! These balls usually last anywhere from 2-5 years depending on how many games you bowl per week. They also absorb a lot of the lane oil, and over time the reaction of the ball will change and it will NOT perform the same as when it was new. If you're like me, you will want to help lengthen the life span of the ball as long as possible before you have to spend a lot of money buying a new one. There are several things you can do at home or have done at the pro shop to help lengthen the life span of your ball.
Here are some of my suggestions:
1. Try to wipe your ball after each shot or at least after every few frames to keep oil from soaking into it and to wipe off any debris that may have gotten onto the ball. You can use a regular Terry Cloth hand towel from home or you can buy a "Micro Fiber" towel online or from the local pro shop (see my blog post from 4/26/21 on Equipment you need for bowling). Both will help to keep the pores clean on the balls' surface.
2. You can use a USBC (United States Bowling Congress) approved Ball Cleaner after each set of games you bowl. You can purchase a bottle of it online or at the pro shop in your bowling center. This product can be used during league play so if you prefer, you can wipe the ball off after each game (Ebonite Powerhouse Ball Cleaner, Reacta Clean are good ones that I have used and prefer).
3. Soaking the Ball:
First I remove any tape from inside the holes in my ball and I put tape over the 3 holes in the ball (so no water will get inside of it) and I soak it in a large sink full of very hot tap water with liquid "DAWN" dish detergent. I leave it in there for about an hour. The dawn really cuts through the grease and oil does come out of the ball because you can see it floating on the surface. If you don't have a deep enough sink, then just put in half of the ball for 30 minutes and turn it over and soak the other half for 30 minutes.
4. You can also wipe your ball off after each 3 game session with some of these products you probably already have in your home-Ammonia, Windex, Orange Clean Multipurpose Cleaner, or rubbing alcohol. Don't use rubbing alcohol every time because they do say it can dry out the ball and make it more brittle over time. Also try NOT to let the cleaner get inside of the holes.
5. There is a product called "Scotch-Brite". They are pads used to scratch up the surface of the ball. Use it a little on the dampened side rather than totally dry.
6. Believe it or not, I used to bowl with a fellow who "Baked" his bowling ball in a 185 degrees oven for 30-45 minutes. I have tried it and I placed a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven to catch the oil that dripped out of the ball. Don't use this method too often because dry heat can dry out the ball and possibly cause it to crack over time
7. You can try using an Abralon Pad- This is a sandpaper with a foam backing on it which ranges from 1000-2000 grit.It can be used wet or dry on the bowling ball and will keep the bowling ball reacting the way it did when it was new for about 30 games until you will have to repeat the process. I just wipe the ball with a damp cloth, then go over the ball in a circular motion with the pad while the ball is still damp. It gives the ball a dull finish which will help the ball to hook a little later on the lane. Having "More" Surface on a bowling ball means to scratch it up more. Let's say using a sandpaper with a 500 grit will put more surface on a ball than using a 2000 grit sandpaper. Using a 500 grit sandpaper will help the ball to hook earlier than sanding your ball with a 2000 grit which will cause the ball to hook later.
8. They also sell OIL EXTRACTION Machines online or you an take it to the pro shop and have him/her re-surface the ball if you don't want to do it yourself. They put the ball on a SPINNER or Resurfacing machine and apply a 1000-2000 grit sandpaper finish to it. The process will last about one bowling season before you have to do it again, and the cost can range from approximately $10+ depending on the condition of the ball. The process cleans the pores of the bowling ball and allows more gripping power on the lane and thereby more hook.
Most bowling centers no longer have the "Luster King" machine to clean the ball since the newer reactive resin balls cannot be put into those machines. It used wax to polish the ball but that will only CLOG the porous surface on these newer balls. These machines were used for rubber and plastic balls. So if there is one of those machines in your center, do NOT use it if you have a reactive ball, but you can use it to clean a plastic ball.
The key here is to try and remove as much of the oil from the balls' surface as soon as possible before it has a chance to seep into the pores. The more you try to do that, the longer your ball is going to last and perform the way it did when you first purchased it, and you will not have to buy a new ball as soon as you would if you didn't do anything to the ball at all.
Check out my ebook available on Amazon/Kindle--"Let's Rev Up Those Bowling Scores"!
Please join me next week when I'll be starting to discuss some of the different OIL PATTERNS the PROS play on and what you may encounter in some of the tournaments I hope you'll be signing up for. The first I'll discuss is the "SHARK PATTERN". I hope to see you then.
Good Luck and High Scoring!
Hello!! My name is Joanie. Although I'm not a professional bowler, I have loved the sport for more than 45 years, averaged over 200 for several seasons, and learned quite a bit with research and experience.