How to Clean Used Golf Balls

By Todd Mrowice

Clean golf balls in bucket

Golf balls are expensive and sometimes it's better to clean your used golf balls instead of tossing them in the garbage and buying new ones. How you clean your used golf balls, however, will have an impact on how much longer they last. Here are the right and wrong methods to getting the scuffs and stains off of your played golf balls.

The Bucket Method

One of the easiest ways to clean used golf balls is by using some common cleaning supplies around your house. Try this age-old method as your initial line of cleaning defense.

What you'll need: bucket, water, dish soap, toothbrush of similar soft bristled brush, towel

Equipment needed to clean golf balls
  1. Fill a bucket with hot water enough water in to cover the golf balls. Add a small cap-full of dish soap and stir it around. Then drop in the golf balls.
  2. Allow the balls to soak for 30 minutes to remove any excess dirt.
  3. Get a soft bristled brush, such as a toothbrush, and scrub each golf ball individually. Place the clean balls to the side on a towel.
  4. Dump the water out of the bucket and rinse out the soap and dirt. Refill the bucket with water only.
  5. Rinse the golf balls in the clean water to remove any additional dirt, then dry them.

For Very Dirty Golf Balls

If you go through the above process with hot water, dish soap, and a toothbrush, but still find your golf balls stained or dirty, refill your bucket with hot water and add in a 1/2 cup of bleach. Allow the balls to soak in the bucket for 30 minutes, then rinse and dry each ball.

Tip: Use an old towel and wear old clothes in the event bleach gets on them.

Dishwasher Method

Another method you can try to clean your used golf balls is in the dishwasher. This method is not recommended for heavily soiled golf balls, but small to moderate marks or stains will come off easily. Simply place the golf balls on the top rack of the dishwasher and use the same soap you use for dishes.

Mistakes to Avoid

Here are a few mistakes to avoid when cleaning used golf balls.

  • Never use a hard or metal bristled brush to clean them. These types of brushes strip the outer layer off the golf ball.
  • Never use gasoline or similar harmful chemicals to clean your golf balls.
  • Do not use a power washer to clean used golf balls as it can chip away the finish and outer layer of the golf ball.

Know When to Say When

Know when your used golf balls have been through enough. If the golf balls you're attempting to clean are severely stained, cut, or are breaking apart, consider disposing of them. At best, they can be used for some backyard chipping or if you're looking to make you own ladder ball set.

About the Author

Todd Mrowice is a Staff Writer for GolfLink. He has been writing about golf for over 10 years including a long tenure at GOLFChicago Magazine. Todd has covered all aspects of the game including travel, products, business, and professional tours.