Have you ever had a ball that after 30-50 games the reaction is about half
of what it use to be!? Yes technology is great, but does tend to have its flaws along the way. Why should we maintain our equipment? In this article we will discuss the reasons why maintaining your equipment is a GOOD thing.
One question you may have is, what happens to the bowling ball if I never clean it? Well, with today's equipment and technology being spilled into bowling balls, the cover stock of a bowling ball is very sensitive. Imagine a bowling ball acting as a sponge, obviously a bit harder than a sponge but with the same principles. Every time that ball goes down the lane, it's absorbing oil on every shot. Have you ever noticed the rings of oil going around the bowling ball? Some of that oil is actually going straight to the core of the bowling ball. I personally have found out the hard way why I should clean my equipment. I threw a Columbia Sport ball (one of my favorite balls of all time), but my downfall was I never cleaned the thing. Well after some time of oil going to the core, the reaction was about as good as a plastic ball. So I used it as a spare ball for a little bit until.... the ball cracked 360 degrees around. Ever since that happened to me I have always cleaned my equipment and performed better maintenance on my bowling balls.
What are some ways to clean and maintain your bowling balls? One thing that I recommend is using the same brand cleaner as the bowling ball company you are using. For example, with a Brunswick ball try a Brunswick Cleaner, with a Storm ball try a Storm Cleaner, etc. This is what I recommend since companies test ball cleaners on their own equipment. Everyone has differing opinions on which cleaners are best so try several and pick the one you like best. Some people prefer to apply the cleaner straight on the ball and some on a towel then to the ball, either way works. I also recommend a micro-fiber towel for the cleaning part of it, but any clean towel will work.
Another way to revive your bowling ball is to go to your pro shop and talk to him/her about resurfacing the bowling ball. This will help get the ball close to its original surface. This doesn't help get the oil out of the core, but at least will freshen up the cover stock for you.
There are some other commonly used methods of cleaning/maintaining a bowling ball or getting the oil out of the ball. One method is placing your bowling ball in a bucket of hot water, and possibly adding soap to it. Another method is using the dishwasher. Some have used their oven to cook out the oil. The Innovative Revivor Bowling Ball Oven is my favorite thing to use to extract the oil. Please be warned that it really is not good for the ball to be heated up to extract the oil out, but it does bring back the ball to life again. If you are to try some of these methods, make sure the heat does not rise above 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything higher than that will end up causing the ball to crack more rapidly. Think of a bowling ball like a basketball with air in it, the colder it is, the more the ball will contract, thus having what appears to be less air in the ball. The opposite is true with heat, the ball will expand, sometimes causing a lump in the basketball. Same thing will occur with the core of a bowling ball, it will expand and contract due to the weather.
My recommendation is to stick to cleaning your bowling ball with cleaner until the reaction is not there anymore due to the oil being soaked into the core. Then I would go to your pro shop and see if they can resurface your bowling ball for you. As a last resort I would try some of the heating methods to get some of the oil out of the core. It is tough to say how many games a bowling balls keeps their reaction, but dull bowling balls due to their porous cover stock tend to have a shorter life span than pearl bowling balls. I hope that some of these tips and methods work for you. These are just some of the ways to help prolong the life of your bowling ball. Remember that a bowling ball will not last forever, eventually Father Time does catch up, even with bowling balls.
(Please note that soaking or baking your bowling ball may void the manufacturer's warranty. We recommend checking your ball's warranty before performing these methods.)