Stress-Free Steps to Clean Golf Clubs

Updated August 10, 2021
Pro golfer cleaning his golf grip

    If you take the look-good-play-good mantra seriously for your golf attire, there’s no reason not to apply it to your equipment as well. Maintaining a clean set of clubs is important for your game, but how exactly do you clean your clubs properly? While professional club cleaning services are available at fine country clubs, at-home club cleaning is inexpensive, easy to do, and personally satisfying.

    Golfers often enjoy cleaning their clubs to investigate club quality, evaluate inventory and unearth motivation for the golfing season. All you’re going to need is dishwashing soap, a soft-bristled toothbrush or any non-wire cleaning brush, a soft rag, and a towel.

    Prepare Cleaning Solution

    Fill a bucket with only a few inches of warm water. Water levels should be just high enough to submerge the heads of the irons but below the ferrule. Ensure that the water is not too hot, as high temperatures can damage clubs.

    Add a cleaning solution to the water. An easy at-home solution is two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid mixed with warm water in a bucket. Professional cleaning products are available at golf shops.


    Clean Iron and Wedge Heads

    Soak only the club heads in the bucket of water. Ensure that the heads of the clubs submerge into the soapy solution. Make sure that the ferrules do not get wet. Allow your clubs to soak in the cleaning solution to assist in breaking down sand, mud, oils, and chemicals on the club heads for about 5-10 minutes if they’re only slightly dirty. However, if they’re filthy, you can leave them in the water for up to 20 minutes.

    Cleaning Your Woods

    Do not submerge woods into the bucket. Instead, dampen your soft-bristle brush or toothbrush into the mixture and carefully scrub your clubhead, but make sure it doesn’t get too wet. Once you feel like it’s clean, wipe it down with a clean towel.

    If you have wooden clubs, these are not only much more fragile, but they’re a lot older than the ones made from metal. Do not dip these into the water either, and do not scrub them with a brush. Instead, dip a washcloth into the warm water and carefully wipe down your wooden clubhead to remove the dirt and grim. Once you feel like it’s clean, dry it with a towel.


    Clean Your Grooves

    Utilizing a soft-bristled toothbrush or any non-wire cleaning brush, gently scrub each clubhead's grooves, carefully removing any dried debris and dirt. Additionally, brush over the sole of the club and all sides of the head. Be careful not to scratch the shaft. Never use a wire brush for this step.

    Rinse Your Iron Heads

    After you scrub, rinse each individual head of the irons. Once you’re finished scrubbing, rinse the clubhead with warm water. Be careful not to let the shaft and grip get wet.

    Resoak Your Clubs if Necessary

    If your clubs still appear dirty, soak them in the cleaning solution for a few more minutes, then use a medium-to-hard bristled toothbrush to help remove dried dirt.

    Wipe Down Your Clubs

    After carefully inspecting groove and clubhead cleanliness, use a soft rag or towel to dry the shaft, and clubhead.


    Apply Polish

    If you have steel or chrome polish, rub it gently in circular motions and leave for a minute, then make sure you remove all the polish. Don’t leave the polish on it, or it can damage the club and affect its performance.

    Clean Your Golf Club Shafts

    Don’t forget about cleaning your shafts when you’re doing your golf clubs. Use a damp cloth to clean any grime from the shaft, and then make sure to dry it thoroughly with a towel.

    Clean Your Golf Club Grips

    Begin with a fresh bucket of warm water and add a little bit of dishwashing liquid. Once the solution is sudsy, dampen a cloth, clean your golf club grip, and dry it with a dry rag. Inspect the grips during this process and determine if replacement is necessary.

    Verify Your Work

    Check that the clubs are thoroughly cleaned and dried before replacing them in your golf bag.


    Do’s and Don'ts of Golf Club Cleaning

    • Consider the investment in high-quality golf club cleaning products to protect the longevity of your clubs.
    • Wipe your clubs frequently during play and post-round to maintain cleanliness.
    • Use lukewarm water. Do not use hot water for cleaning, as this could damage the club.
    • Never submerge woods in water.
    • Never use a wire brush to scrub club heads.

    Image: Christof Koepsel/Bongarts via Getty Images