How to Clean Golf Balls

But let’s say your hobby is patrolling golf courses, including the water hazards, for lost, forgotten, abandoned balls. At the end of the day, you may end up with a hundred scuffed, muddy balls, some of them marked for identification with felt-tip pens. How do you clean all those?

Why Clean Your Balls?

Clean balls fly truer, faster, and farther. That’s why you find scrubbing devices beside the tees at any golf course worth a sod. In fact, unless you’re a true obsessive compulsive – the cleaning your Maxflite gets in one of those golf course scrubbing stations is probably all you need.

Cleaning Golf Balls the Easy Way

Put them in the dishwasher or washing machine. They shouldn’t damage the machinery. Should this kind of hot-water washing harm any of the balls, they weren’t in good shape to begin with.

Cleaning Really Dirty Golf Balls

If this doesn’t get the gunk off (balls that have been in water and are partially covered with mold or algae may be tough customers), here are a few more suggestions:

  • Soak them briefly in a product containing oxalic acid.
  • Apply undiluted bleach, ammonia, OR white vinegar (but DON’T mix ANY of these chemicals together if you value your life – poison gas is produced).
  • Throw a bunch of them in a concrete mixer along with crushed peanut or almond shells and let them spin around for a while.
  • Put them in a container with water and throw in a couple of denture cleaning tablets.

As for getting ink off of them, use nail polish remover.


  1. Linda says:

    Throw them into your swimming pool
    The chlorine will clean off all the built-on dirt.

    Then, let the kids dive in and fetch them for you.

  2. Hi! says:

    I would say that someone should put the golf balls in a dishwasher with nothing else in it. Then you should turn the water on COLD! If you put it on HOT, it will fade the color and loose the words on it.

  3. Alan in Australia says:

    I have found that using a nappy cleaning product called Napisan (which you soak the kid’s diapers in prior to putting them in the washing machine) really cleans the golf balls well, but takes a bit of the sheen off them. Of course, rinse them in cold water and dry with a towel.

  4. John says:

    I just started playing golf a lot and the fact that I’m young and eager to hike and get my feet wet for lost balls, you can see that I usually have a lot of balls to clean when I get home. I found the best way to clean most golf balls, unless they’re Titleist or off-brand balls; those are the worse brand of balls to clean; you can use a wire brush. I know what your thinking; Wouldn’t that mess up the dimples or the ball name or something like that right? That’s what I thought too and the answer is no, it won’t. The wire brush works wonders on all kinds of golf balls except, like I said, Titleist and some off brands like Golfmate or Staff. It especially works really well on Nike. Nike balls come really clean with a wire brush.

  5. Aaron B. says:

    I mixed bleach and Simple Green together, obviously diluted in water, and let them soak for a day or so; it actually cleaned them up really well. Saves a lot of scrubbing.

  6. Darius G. says:

    I just sit the golf balls in really hot soapy water and leave them for 15 minutes, then take them and dry them with a tea towel and they look brand new.

  7. Juan says:

    The first step is to soak them in water and spray them on the jet setting of a sprinkler.

    Step two: Soak them in Dawn mixed with water for about three days. Wipe them clean afterward.

    Step three: Soak them in OxiClean for two days.

    Step four: Put them in the top rack of the dishwasher and run it on the pots and pans cycle for 90 minutes and dry on the dry cycle.

    This gets them pretty clean.

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  9. AJ says:

    I just soak them in rubbing alcohol and use a cotton swab to get anything off them. Time-consuming, but effective.

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