Complete Guide To Washing Golf Balls Easily


Keeping your golf equipment in top shape by doing things like washing your golf balls is important if you want to play your best game out on the course. We’ve already discussed how to clean your golf clubs in a separate post. Now let’s go over how to clean your golf balls and what the benefits are of doing so.

golf ball in water

Using a golf ball with dimples that are filled with mud and debris can have an impact on your golf club distance. This is because the dimples are what create the aerodynamic ability to hit golf balls for distance. Golfweek has an article that further explains why a ball without dimples would not travel very far.

Best Tips For Washing Golf Balls

What Can You Clean A Golf Ball With By Hand?

You’ll want to use a cleaner that won’t damage the balls, so stay away from materials that are abrasive or acidic. The best cleaner that is gentle enough would be a good car wash soap or dish soap.

RELATED POST: The Best Golf Towels To Clean Your Equipment

Grab some supplies you probably have at home already:

  • A bucket

  • Dish soap or car wash soap

  • A toothbrush or other soft-bristled brush

  • Old towels or washcloths

Step 1. Fill your bucket with some dish soap and hot water, high enough to cover the golf balls. If the balls are very dirty, car wash soap might be more effective.

Step 2. Soak the balls for 30 minutes to remove excess dirt and debris.

Step 3. Grab a toothbrush and scrub each ball individually. As you finish a ball, set it aside on a towel.

Step 4. After all balls are scrubbed, empty the dirty water from the bucket and rinse it out. Fill the bucket with only clean water.

Step 5. Rinse the balls in the bucket of water to remove any leftover soap or dirt and then dry them with a washcloth or towel.

TIP: If your golf balls are stained and you want them to look cleaner, you can dilute some bleach (approx. 1/2 cup) in a bucket of hot water and let them soak for about 30 minutes. After they are finished soaking, rinse each ball thoroughly and dry them.

Is It OK To Soak Golf Balls In Water?

Golf balls can become waterlogged so you don’t want to leave them in water for a very long time. The more chips and scratches that are on them, the better the chance that water will get inside. You should be fine soaking them for a cleaning, but you don’t want to leave them in a bucket of water for hours and hours.

How To Clean Permanent Marker Off Golf Balls

Some golfers swear by nail polish remover and a cotton ball. You can use dish soap and water to clean the ball after.

Can You Clean Golf Balls In The Dishwasher?

Some golfers like to use a dishwasher to clean dirty golf balls. If you decide to try this, the top rack would be the best to use in this scenario and dishes should not be cleaned at the same time. This method would work best for lightly soiled balls using the same soap you use for your dishwasher.

How To Use A Golf Course Ball Washer

Most golf courses have a ball washer at each tee box. It has a reservoir filled with cleaning solution, brushes, and a manual plunger for cleaning the ball.

Step 1. Make sure no one is teeing off since you don’t want to distract them by making noise while cleaning your ball.

Step 2. Remove any excess mud or debris from your ball so you don’t fill the reservoir with anything unnecessary.

Step 3. Raise the plunger and insert your ball in the slot.

Step 4. Pump up and down several times.

Step 5. Take your ball out and dry it with a towel.

Here is a demonstration:


Why Do You Wash Golf Balls?

It wouldn’t make sense to spend money on good golf clubs and invest time in practicing your golf swing, only to have your performance negatively impacted because of a dirty golf ball. Hitting a clean ball will help ensure the best possible outcome for things like shot distances and accuracy, for any type of golf shot.

How Often Should You Clean Your Golf Balls?

There are rules as to when you are allowed to clean your ball.

USGA rules state: When you lift your ball from the putting green it may always be cleaned. When you lift your ball from anywhere else it may always be cleaned except when you lift it:

  • To see if it is cut or cracked – cleaning is not allowed.

  • To identify it – cleaning is allowed only as needed to identify it.

  • Because it interferes with play – cleaning is not allowed.

  • To see if it lies in a condition where relief is allowed – cleaning is not allowed, unless you then take relief under a Rule.

If you clean a lifted ball when not allowed, you get one penalty stroke.

As long as you follow those rules, you should be cleaning your ball off after every hole while golfing and giving them a deeper clean at home whenever necessary.

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