Bowling balls need to be cleaned often. The reactive resin shells absorb oil. Even if you wipe it after every shot, the time it is on the lane, being returned to you, and sitting on the ball return, the shell is soaking up the oil. The oil gets too deep into the shell, so just cleaning your ball won’t do the trick. When this happens, you need to “bake” the oil out of your ball. You can always take your ball to a professional and have them do this for you, but there are a ton of ways to do it yourself as well. One of the more common ways to DIY the baking process is to use your dishwasher.
How often should I bake my ball?
This isn’t something that needs to be done often. As long as you wipe your ball after every shot, and give your ball a good cleaning every three games or so, this should only need to be done every 75-100 games. It may be tempting to do it more often than that, but there is risk involved, and the more times you do it, the more you expose your ball to that risk. It isn’t something that needs to be done very frequently, but removing the oil from the shell is a crucial aspect of ball maintenance.
There are a few things to be careful of. Heating up a bowling ball too hot, or heating it up too fast can cause damage such as cracking. If you use your dishwasher to clean your ball, it might heat up too quickly and crack. Many people have used this method with success, but there is no promise that your ball won’t get damaged. If you put your bowling ball in a dishwasher it might get damaged. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, and if your ball cracks, it’s not my fault!
First, check the temperature of your tap water. Turn your sink on as hot as it will go and check the temperature. The maximum temperature for a bowling ball is ~140°F. If your tap is hotter than this you are greatly increasing the risk of damage. If that is the case, either turn your hot water heater down, or don’t use this method. There are many other ways to do this. If it is lower than 140°F, you should be good to go, read on below.
- Plug the holes with some tape, clay or whatever you have available.
- Place your ball on the bottom rack because it won’t fit in the top.
- Some people use soap but I don’t recommend it. The hot water and agitation alone do a fine job of removing and rinsing the oil from the ball.
- Turn off the heat/dry cycle on the dishwasher. This will cause uneven heating which can cause cracking. Turn off any sort of special cycle other than the regular wash cycle.
- Let the ball cool in the dishwasher for a few hours. It’ll cool down slower if it is left in there which reduces risk.
- Don’t use the ball for at least 24 hours to ensure that the ball is fully cooled and dried inside and out.
It’s quite simple to do. As long as you turn off the dry cycle, you should be fine. Don’t forget there are a variety of different method of achieving the same thing. Choose the one that fits you the best.
You can always purchase a professional-level ball oven, but most of them are expensive. However, the NuBall Bowling Ball Rejuvenator is pretty inexpensive and will pay itself off over time.
If you want to de-oil your bowling ball most effectively and safely, you should take it to your local pro shop and have them do it for you. But that isn’t a possibility for a lot of us, so sometimes the dishwasher will have to do. Pro shops use expensive ball bakers like the Revivor, but you can get the same results at home with the NuBall machine I mentioned above.
Good luck baking your ball!
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions/comments, feel free to comment below or contact me.