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Can You Use Baby Powder for Bowling?

can you use baby powder when bowling

Whether bowling as a fun night out with friends or for competition, many bowlers look to get a better grip on their ball. This is especially true for women, because they don’t usually have the strength to grip the ball. But some things are actually against official rules.

One such question around grip is with the various powdery substances available. Can you use baby powder for bowling? Yes, you can use baby power, but there are better options available, like bowling tape.

The grip on your ball is an important aspect to bowling. If you can’t hold and release the ball with controlled comfort, your game will suffer. Although small, it’s a big one that can cost you dearly if you’re looking to compete.

Can You Use Baby Powder for Bowling?

For decades, bowlers used baby powder to get a better grip. And, in some cases it might be okay so long as you’re not part of a league or bowling as a professional. But USBC rules along with other organizations forbid the use of it.

Lane Dangers

Many bowlers attest to how baby powder can make delivery easier. But, this can actually make the lanes more dangerous for others who require completely different parameters. This is why it is illegal to use, because it defaces the approach.

This is especially true for using it on the outside of the ball to remove excess oil from its surface. If you choose to do this, apply baby powder only when your practice is over. Don’t do it between frames. For that, use a microfiber towel.

Blowing Powder

What’s more, most bowlers, especially beginners, won’t wipe the powder off and place it in the bowling circle. With overhead fans combined with the hand dryer on the circle, it creates an immediate circulation of powder all over the place.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Baby Powder

The main component in baby powder is talc. This is a dry, fine substance that can be a lubricant in and drying agent for bowling balls. Unfortunately, it came to light in 2018 that Johnson ; Johnson’s baby powder is not only a cancer-causing agent, but the company was also aware of its carcinogenic effects since 1969.

A lawsuit by a 66-year old Los Angeles woman proved her mesothelioma linked directly to her use of the powder. This is because the only time she used it was when she went bowling. This woman was a decades-long league bowler.

How to Use Baby Powder

If you’re dead set on using baby powder, apply it directly onto your fingers or bowling ball. Do this away from the main lanes so that you don’t spread excess powder everywhere. 

Are There Any Alternatives to Using Baby Powder on Your Thumb?

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For league bowlers who play more than twice per week, the pain from blisters and swelling can be excruciating. The best way to get a good grip on your bowling ball is to take it to a pro shop for advice and assistance.

An expert will be happy to help you determine what kind of grip will be best based on the frequency you use the ball in combination with your hand and finger sizes. You may need to have the holes fixed, in which case they can drill or polish it.

But, if you’re a hobbyist or someone who only bowls occasionally, there are other things available:

  • Bowling Tape – this is the safest and surest way most recommended by many bowlers.
  • Rosin Bag – helps for those with very dry hands but doesn’t work for everyone because it has stickiness. You have to wipe the ball after every roll so the stickiness doesn’t deface the lane.
  • Hand Conditioner – a dry substance that isn’t sticky and offers a good release of the ball.
  • Chalk – is good for drying sweat and moisture from your whole hand.
  • Perfect Slide – although intended for shoes, you can apply it onto the thumb for a quicker release. But, you have to be careful and judicious because there’s no way of knowing if you’ve used too much or too little.
  • Saliva – if you experience severe finger swelling, use your own saliva.
  • Chap Stick – serves the same purpose as saliva.

To check the current price and availability of bowling tape, click here to view it on Amazon.

What Is Bowling Powder?

Many bowling supply manufacturers produce bowling powder to help get a better grip on bowling balls and shoes. But, take into account that you should only use bowling powder once and awhile. This is because, if used in excess, can create similar problems to that as baby powder.

Can I Use Baby Powder on My Bowling Shoes?

You can use baby powder on your bowling shoes, but you want to be careful. Don’t pour it onto the floor of the lanes or anywhere near the approaches. You should only apply it once directly to the bottom of each shoe and dust off the excess elsewhere.

But, if you’re a competitor, do not use baby powder at all. It defaces the lane, which is very illegal and can cause game forfeiture. Not only that, but it does present a slippery danger to others who use the lanes after you. This magnifies the dangers of slipping, falling and other unwanted accidents.

Final Thoughts

If you have to use baby powder, be cautious about how and where you apply it. Aside from the talc being very carcinogenic, it creates a hazard for other bowlers and it’s an illegal substance for use during league play.

There are a million other things you can try that offer a safer and more legal way to keep things dry and smooth. Of course, you’ll have to experiment. It’s likely you’ll end up using a combination of techniques.

Be kind, courteous and thoughtful while following the general rules of play. This will keep everyone safe while ensuring fun. So, when applying any powder on your ball, hands or shoes, ensure you do it away from the main lanes.

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