How To Clean Golf Balls

Golf balls tend to go through a lot during a round out on the course. Aside from being whacked hundreds of yards, they can also come into contact with wet grass. That is if you are having an especially good round. If not you can expect your golf balls to mix with the sand, mud, and even algae.

While many golfers tend to look after their clubs, the same care should also be taken with their golf balls. After all, your shiny golf club is not going to remain so if it comes into contact with a dirty ball. Not to mention the improved contact from a clean golf ball and a well-maintained driver head.

You are also more likely to find your golf ball in the rough if it was bright and shiny when you hit it.

A clean golf ball can also move better in the air. For an aerodynamic design to truly work, the golf ball should be in the best possible condition. That means clear dimples free of dirt and mud for a true and faster flight.

You may spend a lot on your golf balls, and ensuring that they remain in good condition means maintaining the best performance.

The Dishwasher Method

Let’s start with perhaps the laziest method of them all but easily the most trouble-free. They may rattle but golf balls are surprisingly dishwasher-safe.

Though you should be aware that a cheaply built dishwasher may suffer from having golf balls bouncing around. If you are unsure, make sure that your utensil department comes with a lid that you can close.

That way, the balls may have some limited movement for a clean but cannot escape causing havoc inside your dishwasher.

If your golf balls only have light dirt where you want them to shine then give them a quick clean. Just like washing your plates, the hot water and detergent remove any light dirt and your golf balls should come out sparkling.

Load the golf balls in the utensil department of your dishwasher and close the lid if you can. Use a medium cycle and the appropriate amount of detergent for that wash.

Once the cycle has been completed give the golf balls a quick pat down with a towel. The hot water and soap should remove that light dirt for a rewarding shine.

The Hot Water And Dish Soap Method

For golf balls with a touch more dirt on them, you want to let them soak. Using a bucket of hot water and dish soap is essentially like giving your golf balls a nice bath.

Drop your golf balls into the bucket and make sure there is enough soapy water to cover them. Stir them around to knock off some dirt then leave them for half an hour. Even the crustiest pieces of dirt should fall off and surface stains should vanish too.

After their soak, remove each ball and scrub them with a bristle brush made of nylon. This should be light enough to knock off any excess dirt yet light enough not to damage the outer core. Empty the bucket and give it a quick rinse as you will need it for another soak.

This time refill the bucket with hot water but add in about half a cup of bleach. Don’t worry, the golf balls will be fine as long as the bleach is diluted well enough. You should wear gloves and only use bleach, any other chemicals mixed in may cause toxic gases.

Leave the balls for another half an hour to soak this should sterilize your golf balls and remove any discoloration.

You may want to wear gloves when removing the balls but give them a quick rinse and they should be stain-free. The golf balls are made of sturdy material which can withstand bleach so there is a limited chance of causing any damage.

The Baking Soda And Pressure Washer Method

Occasionally, you may find that for caked-on, heavy dirt you need to take further measures. This is especially important if you have completed a round under wet conditions where your golf ball has been covered in mud.

After a few hours of drying, your golf balls can become sticky and not very aerodynamic. You will want to use them again, but you may need to do some scrubbing to get them ready for your next round.

Instead of bleach or just plain old hot water, soak the balls in a bucket of hot water with a cup of vinegar. Again, you should wear gloves as this can get a little smelly. Extend the soaking time to a good hour as this will give the vinegary solution enough chance to sufficiently dissolve the mud.

While the golf balls are soaking, make a paste using baking soda and water. Try mixing in a tablespoon of baking soda with some water until the paste can be spread.

After an hour of soaking, remove the golf balls and rub the paste into the dimples then use a bristle brush to remove any stubborn mud. If any mud remains after the paste has been removed, you can always use a pressure washer to clean the surface.

You can simply use the bucket again once you have emptied it as long as the pressure is not too much for the bucket to withstand.

Once you are happy that the golf balls look as good as new, dry them off and leave them outside.


Looking after your golf balls is extremely important. While your golf clubs rightly take precedence, get into the habit of cleaning your golf balls at the same time.

Not only will a set of clean golf balls look ready for action, but their aerodynamic design also performs as it should when they are clean.

Cleaning your golf balls may seem like a chore yet it does not have to be. You can use your dishwasher or simple everyday items to create solutions that readily remove caked-in mud.

David Anderson
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