Close this search box.

Can You Use Car Polish On Your Bowling Balls?

can you use car polish on your bowling balls - bowlingview

Bowling is a sport rich in nuances, subtleties, and surprising dynamics. One such surprise that often stumps even the most experienced bowlers is whether car polish can be used on bowling balls. It might sound strange at first, but when you consider the similar glossy finishes of cars and bowling balls, the question doesn’t seem so far-fetched.

Understanding the importance of proper maintenance for bowling balls is crucial to optimal performance in this sport.

Just like a well-oiled machine, a well-maintained bowling ball can greatly enhance your game, providing the precision and fluidity that every bowler seeks. So, let’s delve into the peculiar question at hand and uncover the secrets of bowling ball maintenance.

Understanding the Composition of a Bowling Ball

Bowling balls aren’t just uniform, round objects. They are intricately designed pieces of sports equipment. Made up predominantly of two parts – the core and the coverstock – the composition of a bowling ball is an intriguing interplay of different materials.

Different Materials Used in Bowling Balls

The core, which is essentially the ball’s interior, is usually made from dense materials like ceramics, or less dense materials like foam, depending on the type of ball and its intended use.

On the other hand, the coverstock is the outer shell of the ball that comes in direct contact with the lane. This can be made of plastic, urethane, reactive resin, or particle (proactive) material, each offering unique benefits in terms of performance and durability.

Glossary of Terms:

  • Coverstock: The outer layer of the bowling ball that interacts directly with the lane.
  • Particle (Proactive) Material: A type of coverstock material known for its high friction and aggressive reaction on the lane.

How These Materials React to Different Substances

Different materials react in distinct ways when exposed to various substances. For instance, plastic coverstocks are fairly resilient and can withstand a range of cleaning solutions.

Urethane, reactive resin, and particle materials, however, are more susceptible to damage from harsh chemicals. It’s crucial to understand these reactions when considering what to use to clean or polish your bowling ball. Improper maintenance can lead to a decline in performance or even irreparable damage. For practical bowling tips, check out Bowling This Month.

Read also: 10 Best Urethane Bowling Balls 2023

What is Car Polish?

Car polish, often confused with car wax, is a product designed to eliminate surface scratches, swirls, oxidation, dirt, and other minor imperfections from your car’s paint. It is generally a mixture of natural and synthetic materials, including a variety of solvents, silicones, and waxes.

What is Car Polish - Bowlingview
What is Car Polish?

Polishes work by removing a very thin layer of the car’s paintwork, so the appearance of scratches and defects is minimized as they’re filled with the polish.

The abrasives in the polish also help to break down the roughness of the paint, resulting in a shiny, glossy finish.

It’s important to remember, though, that car polish does not provide any protective layer; instead, it preps the surface for the application of car wax or sealant, which will provide a layer of protection against the elements.

Another interesting read > How To Paint A Bowling Ball.

The Effect of Car Polish on Bowling Balls

Car polish, traditionally used to maintain the gloss and shine of automobile surfaces, is packed with various compounds that interact with material surfaces in unique ways. When applied to a bowling ball, these compounds can potentially impact the ball’s surface texture and performance.

But before drawing any conclusions, let’s delve deeper into the science behind it.

Scientific Explanation of What Could Happen

Car polish typically contains mild abrasives, chemical cleaners, and oils. The abrasives can help smooth minor scratches and rough spots on the ball’s surface, while the cleaners work to remove dirt and grime.

However, the critical factor to keep in mind is that bowling balls and cars are made of different materials, so the effect may not be the same.

Possible Benefits and Drawbacks

One of the primary potential benefits of using car polish on a bowling ball is the added shine, which could also potentially enhance the ball’s slide.

However, there are also potential drawbacks. The abrasive nature of car polish may gradually wear down the surface of the bowling ball, potentially altering its performance characteristics. Further, the oils in the polish could penetrate the ball’s surface, affecting its weight distribution and balance.

Therefore, while car polish might provide a quick fix for a dull bowling ball, it’s not a recommended solution for long-term care.

Experiences from Bowling Enthusiasts

Many seasoned bowlers have shared their personal experiences with using car polish on their bowling balls. John, who has been bowling passionately for over 20 years, claimed that car polish gave his old ball a renewed shine and seemed to improve its spin. However, he also cautioned that the polish made the ball slightly slippery, affecting his grip.

On the other hand, Sarah, a member of a local bowling league, found that car polish didn’t provide the same long-lasting shine as a specialized bowling ball polish. She also noted that it slightly discolored her neon-colored ball.

Meanwhile, Brian, a bowling coach, warned against using car polish, suggesting it may damage the surface of the ball over time. He shared an instance where one of his students used car polish and ended up with a ball that had an inconsistent surface texture, thereby affecting its performance on the lane.

In summary, experiences vary widely and it’s clear that using car polish on a bowling ball may have mixed results.

Expert Opinions

In the quest to understand the impact of car polish on bowling balls, we sought the views of professional bowlers and ball manufacturers. The consensus among experts is that using car polish on bowling balls is not advisable.

Professional bowlers caution against using car polish due to its abrasive properties, which could potentially harm the ball’s surface. The protective coating of a bowling ball, they argue, is delicate and not designed to withstand the harsh chemicals found in many car polishes.

Bowling ball manufacturers echo this sentiment. They note that while car polish is designed to restore the shine on a car’s finish, it can cause irreversible damage to a bowling ball. The chemical composition of car polish can degrade the ball’s surface, affecting its performance on the lane.

Using car polish might provide a temporary gleam, but it may also shorten the lifespan of your bowling ball. The expert advice is clear: It’s better to stick with products specifically designed for bowling ball maintenance.

Alternative Ways to Clean and Polish Bowling Balls

When it comes to maintaining your bowling balls, there are various proper methods you can adopt to keep them in optimal condition.

Regular cleaning after each use is vital to prevent the buildup of oil, dirt, and other residue that can affect the ball’s performance. You can use a simple mixture of water and mild detergent, or opt for specialized bowling ball cleaners available in the market.

Moreover, bowling ball polishes are designed specifically to restore the shine and enhance the longevity of your bowling balls.

They are developed with a formulation that suits the material of bowling balls, hence, ensuring they do not harm the surface while providing a high-gloss finish. You should, however, avoid using them too often to prevent excessive wear.

Remember, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions while using commercial cleaners and polishes to avoid any potential damage. Lastly, store your bowling balls in a cool, dry place to maintain their condition and performance.


In conclusion, the idea of using car polish on a bowling ball is indeed a fascinating one. We’ve explored the composition of both bowling balls and car polish and considered the possible effects of using one on the other.

Anecdotal evidence provided by bowling enthusiasts and expert opinions from professionals in the field has revealed both potential benefits and drawbacks related to this practice.

However, given the specific substances used in commercially available bowling ball polishes and cleaners, and their proven effectiveness, they are likely the safest choice for maintaining the longevity and performance of your bowling ball.

Always remember, that proper care for your bowling equipment not only improves your game but also extends the lifespan of your tools. While curiosity and experimentation can lead to interesting discoveries, it’s always recommended to use products as intended by their manufacturers.

Related articles

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In this section, we will address some frequently asked questions about the use and maintenance of bowling balls, particularly the use of various polishes and waxes. These answers will guide you towards the best practices to ensure longevity and maintain the performance of your bowling ball.

Q: Can you clean your bowling ball using car polish?

A: Yes, car polish can be used to clean your bowling ball. However, it’s crucial to note that many car polishes in the automotive industry are laden with gritty substances, which could clog the pores of your bowling ball’s surface and alter how it reacts on the lane. Therefore, it is advisable to seek advice from a pro shop before using any type of polish.

Q: What is the effect of car wax on a bowling ball?

A: Using car wax, such as turtle wax, could give your bowling ball a glossy appearance, but it might have consequences on the ball’s performance. The wax can fill the pores on the ball’s surface, causing the ball to lose its gripping ability on the lane.

Q: Can you use car polish on a bowling ball after every game?

A: It’s not recommended to use car polish on your bowling ball after every game. Over-polishing may cause the bowling ball to lose its lane-gripping ability. It is generally suggested to clean your bowling ball after every play with some warm water and rubbing alcohol to maintain its performance.

Q: Which type of bowling ball polish should you use?

A: It is best to use approved bowling ball polishing compounds, available from most pro shops. These ensure the best results and don’t risk damaging the surface of your bowling ball. Car polishes, especially those containing grit, should be used with caution.

Q: How does polish affect the surface of a urethane bowling ball?

A: If you use the correct bowling ball polish, it will help to maintain or restore the surface of your urethane bowling ball. However, using automotive products like car polish or wax could clog the pores and negatively impact your ball’s performance.

Q: What kind of equipment can you use to polish a bowling ball?

A: A bowling ball spinner is the best equipment to polish a bowling ball. This device allows you to evenly distribute the polish on the ball surface, providing the best results. You can find these in most pro shops or purchase one for personal use.

Q: Can you resurface a bowling ball using car polish?

A: Car polish should not be used to resurface a bowling ball. Resurfacing involves removing an even layer from the entire bowling ball surface, which is beyond the capabilities of car polish. This process should be left to the professionals at a pro shop to prevent damage to your ball.

Q: Can you use car wax on a plastic bowling ball?

A: Car wax as a polish on a plastic bowling ball is also not recommended. While it may impart shine, it has the potential to clog the bowling ball’s pores, affecting the ball’s reaction on the lane. It is better to use polishes designed specifically for bowling balls to ensure proper maintenance of your ball.

Q: How to properly apply car polish on a bowling ball?

A: If you choose to use car polish on a bowling ball, apply the polish evenly on the ball’s surface using a ball spinner for the best results. Use a clean, dry cloth to buff the bowling ball until the polish is thoroughly absorbed. Keep in mind that even though it delivers short-term shine, continuous usage of car polish could lead to a potential performance drop in your bowling ball.

Q: Is it safe to use turtle wax on a reactive bowling ball?

A: Turtle wax or any other automotive wax should be avoided on reactive bowling balls. These balls are designed with pores that react to the oil patterns on the lanes to help control the ball’s movement.

Using turtle wax may clog these pores, limiting the reactive capabilities of the bowling ball and possibly reducing overall performance.