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How to Clean or Shine Billiard Balls

How to Clean or Shine Billiard Balls

Anyone know the best way to clean billiard balls? Mainly the cue ball, but I tried Simple Green, and it made it less shiny.

How to Clean or Shine Billiard Balls

Replies & Comments

  1. SoCalMacDudebilliardsforum on 2/3/2008 5:29:20 PM

    There are a bunch of different devices and products suggested for cleaning and shining pool balls, especially the cue ball. To get a real shine, you are going to need some elbow grease and some hard buffing. Some companies sell billiard ball polishers, and they run about $50 dollars. There are some industrial ball cleaners that run upwards of $500.

    There is a product made specially for this, called "Tiger Ball Cleaner/Polisher" which you can purchase through amazon.com:

    Tiger Ball Cleaner/Polisher

    I just clean them on occasion with Windex, and it worked pretty well, but never use abrasive cleaners on them. I've also heard of people using dish soap too, saying that it works better on billiard balls than regular soap, but you risk leaving residue.

    You can also try a vibrating rock polisher. ($110)

  2. SoCalMacDudepatrickp123495 on 2/16/2009 10:13:16 AM

    It depends what kind of brand.For aramith balls use the green and blu bottles.After that you might want to buff it with an electrical buffer.I hope i can post the shiny cue ball.:).Pls if it doesn't work don't blame me.Just trying to help.

  3. SoCalMacDudeguest on 5/3/2009 7:46:24 PM

    About cleaning the balls, my brother showed me a good car polish wax. With little efforts they do become clean. Concerned about wax on the table, I do another step after that to clean the wax off. I use kitchen type wipes. Looks very good.


  4. SoCalMacDudeguest on 8/9/2009 1:46:57 PM

    I had great luck with comet, ajax, or bartender's friend. All are slightly abrasive that takes the marks off with ease. These will take away some of the shine which can be brought back with a little polishing. Remember no to rub too hard... just enough to get the scuffs off. Also remember that high quality billiards balls are NOT pure white.. the aramith is slightly ivory in color.

  5. SoCalMacDudeJustanotherevolutionary on 8/13/2009 10:55:01 AM

    I use water and paper towels =) I get away with this cuz I clean them after every use. The more you neglect your balls the more scrubbing they need. (hehe...he..he=P ) But seriously they are a lot easier to maintain if you just keep up good cleaning habits on them consistently, don't let it build up. It's like the saying, "why clean it, it will just get dirty again" That's true. It will also get to the point where it's a bigger hassle than it has to be though. Good luck to ya.

  6. SoCalMacDudeNursey1313 on 8/13/2009 12:49:30 PM

    Sure don't want to neglect your balls. I am real lucky I guess. I just bring them to our local pool hall and the owner cleans them in her machine for me. For free.

  7. SoCalMacDudeguest on 8/19/2009 1:37:39 PM

    After reading the responses, and spending hours using a pencil eraser, I thought "Bon Ami." It is a non abrasive polisher/cleaner my wife uses instead of Ajax or Comet. Worked great! Try it.

  8. SoCalMacDudeeddiethelock on 12/19/2009 9:38:51 AM

    Chrome polish. (was advice from a master)

  9. SoCalMacDudeFenwick on 12/19/2009 2:50:36 PM

    With all due respect eddiethelock chrome polish is meant for chrome. Same with comet, ajax, or bartender's friend. Not designed for cleaning billiard balls. I'm jokingly told I have OCD because if the balls are dirty at the beginning of leagues I'll get two bar towels, one damp and one dry and clean all the balls before we play. I hate when grease or chalk causes cling or skid. Stick with something designed to clean billiard balls would be my advise.

  10. SoCalMacDudeeddiethelock on 12/20/2009 8:13:47 AM

    Thanks for the response.

    My advice came from Pat Fleming (of accu-stats.com, a hall-of-famer, etc.). The man knows probably more about the game and equipment than most.

  11. SoCalMacDudeMitch Alsup on 12/20/2009 12:55:19 PM

    Note: this will not make balls shine:

    Vinegar will disolve the chalk and is not strong enough to harm the plastics. No rubbing, just drop them in for an hour and rinse with plain tap water and dry with towel.

    Any time you rub on the balls you take a chance of making them unround. This is why machine polishers were invented. So when your balls actually need to be shined up take them to a man with a machine. Machine polishers are designed to polish every square inch with the same amount of time, pressure,... so the balls stay round.

    Still, the lifetime of a set of balls should be considered to be 1 year if you play at the semi-pro level, 2-years if you play at the APA7 to semi-pro, 3 years if you play above APA 4, and forever if you don't.

    When you by a set of balls, buy all the cue balls at the same time so there are in the same wear cycle. These need to be polished at the same time also. This keeps the weight of the cue balls equal to the weight of the play balls.

  12. SoCalMacDudeFenwick on 12/20/2009 1:56:55 PM


    I'll give you this. If the ingredients in chrome polish are contained in ball polish there may be a reason for using it or it may just work. There are times when we as gentlemen just have to agree to disagree. This seems to be one of those situations. Fair enough?

  13. SoCalMacDudeeddiethelock on 12/20/2009 7:12:37 PM

    Fair enough.

  14. SoCalMacDudequickshot on 12/20/2009 8:35:27 PM

    I still stand by my earlier suggestion. Put the balls in net stocking or bag and put them in the dish washer. Some things not designed for a particular purpose, serves the purpose very well.

  15. SoCalMacDudeeddiethelock on 12/21/2009 12:42:57 PM

    seen the comebacks from my post and should have clarified something chrome polish to clean them and i use aramith ball cleaner to finish them

  16. SoCalMacDudeguest on 1/2/2010 8:08:31 PM

    I got a 30 year old pool table from a friend and the balls look like they have never been cleaned... is it worth cleaning them or just buy new ones

  17. SoCalMacDudeeddiethelock on 1/2/2010 9:37:58 PM

    you might wanna find out if maybe they centennials or other aramith balls. if so they should clean up real nice, good luck with it.

  18. SoCalMacDudeguest on 11/22/2010 9:55:04 AM

    if you're in sri lanka you can buy any billiard table pool table or snooker table related products and accessories from lanka sports tables. (link removed)

  19. SoCalMacDudeeddiethelock on 11/22/2010 10:11:42 AM

    Getting on a plane now for Sri Lanka, anyone want me to get extra?

  20. SoCalMacDudejohnwicks on 12/2/2010 5:53:39 AM

    To get a real shine use quality grease and polishers. Never use bleach or ammonia to clean your pool balls.

  21. SoCalMacDudePardusCC on 12/11/2010 12:59:58 PM

    There are many cleaners mostly alcohol based.

    I think to have shiny ball is important but the hit feeling with the cue and ball rolling on the table (long - short - regular) after each cleaning is more important.

    We tested this one for long time also at some official Tournaments - it does the job. It is not available at the moment but in a few months I hope.


  22. SoCalMacDudejags on 12/23/2010 1:38:32 PM

    I was just thinking of putting them in the dishwasher on rinse with no dry cycle. Has anyone tried this and had no ill effects?

  23. SoCalMacDudeMagnumousx on 2/10/2012 10:38:27 AM

    Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner works great for me.

    on amazon.com

  24. SoCalMacDudeolblueyes327 on 2/18/2012 7:24:44 AM

    You might try the new rub-on wipe-off headlight lens polish that is available now.

    A friend says it's the easiest, best thing since sliced bread. I haven't tried it myself, but just passing it along.

  25. SoCalMacDude2ballrun on 2/18/2012 8:50:02 AM

    I just usually use soap and water. It doesn't get the black marks off though. For them, I rub with tooth paste.

  26. SoCalMacDudeQStix on 3/28/2012 5:12:20 AM

    There are plenty of waxes and cleaners out on the market specifically for this purpose. Two of the most popular would be Billiard Ball Cleaner or Ball Restorer.

    However, cleaning a billiard ball set is not a tough process. It just takes a little soap and water, and some elbow grease, of course. Use these material and make those billiard balls like they are new.

  27. SoCalMacDudeguest on 12/14/2014 10:35:29 AM

    Toothpaste works great for cleaning chalk marks from the cue ball, Arm & Hammer Baking Soda toothpaste.

  28. SoCalMacDudealexanick on 5/15/2016 8:29:56 AM

    One of the gentlemen in our league took a five gallon bucket, lined it with carpet and put a hole in the bottom. He then cut a plywood disc to fit the bottom. He attached a stem to the center of the disc and then carpeted the disc. He now puts the stem through the hole and into a drill, puts three or four balls at a time in the bucket and runs the drill for a few minutes. Wallah, nice shiny balls.

  29. SoCalMacDudeMr. Brizzi on 12/3/2017 7:22:39 AM

    Cleaning and polishing by hand, never had any issues with Aramith resin balls, and generic polyester balls, by using a Mister Clean-type eraser sponge and Turtle Wax (paste/semi-soft). Use a reflection of light. Look where the grime and tap marks are. Gently rub like you are shining shoes. Tough marks may need circular rubbing. Do only enough to remove marks and grime. Then wipe with a cloth to get dust off the ball from the eraser sponge. Apply Turtle Wax. Here's where the work gets different. When removing the wax, use one paper towel to remove heavy wax, then a second paper towel to remove the residual secondary lighter wax. Next a good buffing with a cloth, followed by a synthetic micro chamois cloth as the final buffing to ensure no residue will be transferred onto the table fabric. I play five hours daily, seven days a week. About ten hours to twenty hours of play, will be the timeframe for cleaning the balls over again, as I visually inspect and, pay attention to the performance on the table. As things slow down, it is an indication that ball cleaning is needed.

    For old billiard ball sets that are really filthy, it will usually be more of an issue with polyester balls than resin balls. In either case, I use automobile headlight lens cleaner, such as Blue-Magic. Shake the bottle really good, then as I am right handed, put a small amount of that cleaner into my left palm. The hand is a natural shape for accepting a sphere. Roll the ball briskly against the palm, and the brown residue usually from photosynthesis, will come off. It could take a bit of cleaning depending on the condition of the ball. Then with a paper towel, remove the cleaner. Follow that with Mother's Mag & Wheel polish, applying with fingers, and that will slick the ball. Then simply look for any tap marks, and read the top of this response for the eraser sponge and wax application. Note: Your hands and fingers will be brown/yellow for a couple of days. It will look like the old timers who smoked four packs of cigarettes. Usually, rubbing alcohol and hand soap, will help remove some of the coloration. Cleaning the balls with full servicing, can take 2.5 hours of time, while basic eraser and wax service will take about 1.25 hours. My table has worsted teflon fabric and is a very fast table. When the balls are racked and slid to the footspot, the feel, tells the whole story.

  30. SoCalMacDudePapaRic on 1/26/2018 1:03:50 PM

    Has anyone tried cleaning pool balls with ultrasonic cleaner?

  31. SoCalMacDudeuser1517100889 on 1/27/2018 7:54:50 PM

    Funny you should ask. I just did so two days ago. Great job removing deep chalk, but does not polish. Never saw it mentioned before. Extremely simple.

  32. SoCalMacDudeprufessa on 8/26/2018 12:31:57 PM

    WD-40 or lighter fuel (Zippo) will clean both the billiard balls and you pool cue.

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How to Clean or Shine Billiard Balls

  • Title: How to Clean or Shine Billiard Balls
  • Author:
  • Published: 2/3/2008 4:32:57 PM