Can You Use Bleach to Clean Pool Balls?

can you use bleach to clean pool balls

Sometimes maintaining the cleanliness of your pool balls can be tedious. However, the upkeep is important as it increases their durability, preserves the table’s felt, allows for a smoother game and saves you some dollars in the long run. Why wouldn’t you want that?

Despite the renowned whitening qualities of bleach, it should not be used on pool balls. If you were to use bleach, it would cause the material to break down. This damages the balls and removes the plastic, resulting in a very, very difficult game of pool.

In this article, you’ll learn how to easily clean, remove stains and polish your pool balls, as well as how to prevent them from yellowing in the future.

Will Bleach Damage Pool Balls?

There’s a lot of misconceptions that you should use bleach or wash them in a dishwasher – in short, don’t! If you were to use bleach or to place your pool balls in the dishwasher, you will run into some much larger problems.

As a majority of pool balls are made of phenolic resin, exposure to UV light, heat, and oxygen can cause them to yellow over time.

Bleach breaks down this plastic, and similarly, the hot cycle of the dishwasher also causes the same effect, so you should NOT do this.

How Do You Clean Pool Balls at Home?

The type of ball that you use will determine how rigorous your method of cleaning should be, as they require different care. If the water you are cleaning with is too hot, it can damage acrylic and polyester-based balls. If you are unable to determine what type of pool balls you have, you can always just use lukewarm water.

To start with, you can rinse the balls with water and soap and then choose one of the following methods below to ensure that your balls end up with the whitened finish that you desire.

How Do I Make My Balls White Again?

Here are three methods that you could use to clean and remove the yellowing stains from your pool balls and make your balls white again. Although each method ends up achieving the same finish, a variety of factors including time and resources available, and budget may impact your decision.

Option 1: 5 Simple Items, 5 Easy Steps

This cost-effective method is perfect for those with a lower budget and for those who don’t have the time to go out or purchase extra items. By using just 5 common household items, you can make this solution at home and the results will be just as dazzling. Here’s how:

 What you’ll need:

  • Bowl/Container
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Microfiber towel OR a smooth toothbrush
  • Dry cloth


  1. You’ll need to take your bowl and add a tiny amount of baking soda. This step is all about trial and error, so ensure that you start small, as you can always add some more later!
  2. Gradually add the water into the bowl of baking soda, taking intervals in between to stir them together. This should start to form a smooth, fine paste. Once you’re happy with the consistency, you can move on to the next step.
  3. Using either a microfiber towel or a smooth toothbrush, rub the fine paste into each of the balls.
  4. Quickly rinse off the baking powder with some cold water.
  5. Once you have finished, take your clean, dry cloth and wipe over the balls. Leaving them wet can damage the ball’s surface so ensure that you dry them as much as possible.

Option 2: Store-Bought Solution

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There are solutions that you can buy to remove the yellowing of the pool balls. Buying professional cleaning kits may reduce the stress, however, may come at a higher cost than making your own.

We recommend using this Billiard Ball Cleaner by Aramith. It does a great job at cleaning and restoring old and dirty billiard balls.

What you’ll need:

  • Aramith Ball Cleaner
  • Aramith Ball Restorer
  • Two microfiber cloths


  1. Before using the solution, make sure to shake the bottle.
  2. Add the Aramith pool ball restorer to the individual balls. (By using the restorer first, it begins to break down the harsh yellowing stains before later removing them with the cleaner.)
  3. Using one of the microfiber cloths, polish the ball for approximately 30 seconds.
  4. Using the second microfiber cloth, dry clean the ball. Make sure that you completely remove the restorer from the balls.
  5. You can then repeat this process with the Aramith ball cleaner.

Option 3: Professional Billiard Ball Cleaner

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For those who play pool frequently, you may want to invest in a cleaning machine. Although the initial payout can be quite costly, it may become easier and most cost-efficient for you over time.

Aramith Power Ball Cleaner: If you are looking for all your balls to be cleaned at once, then this is NOT the cleaner for you. Whilst it only cleans the balls individually, as with the cleaners, it is a reliable brand and product. You would, however, still need to purchase a ball cleaner. The Aramith one above would pair perfectly.

Simply add a few drops of the Aramith ball cleaner onto the cleaning machine’s pad and apply pressure. The motorized machine then finishes the rest for you. One ball could be clean in as little as 45 seconds!

If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could even try to make your own DIY ball cleaner for as little as $35. Here’s how.

How Do You Make Pool Balls Shiny?

Once you have successfully cleaned and removed the stains from your pool balls, what should you do next?

Whichever one of these methods that you’ve chosen to clean your pool balls, you should end up achieving the same results of whitened, shiny balls.

Although it’s not entirely necessary, if you do decide that you want an extra shine to your pool balls, you can use a non oil-based polish. Oil-based polishes will cause dirt to stick to the ball and instead reverse the cleaning process you have just been through.

You may have heard that waxing your pool balls after can make them super shiny. Initially, it does improve the shine quality of your balls, as well as the glide of the ball across the table. However, this is only temporary and will affect your gameplay, and not in the way you want. Shots will be obscured, the felt will be affected and overall it will hinder how you play.

Final Thoughts

Preventing your pool balls from yellowing in the first place is the best way to make them last. Firstly, you should try to store them inside a carrying case which will keep them more protected. The padded spacing inside the case also gives your equipment some extra protection.  Storing them in the case reduces the likelihood of them accumulating heavy amounts of dust.

Secondly, once you have stored them inside the case, place them somewhere where high temperatures will not affect the balls. Cooler conditions will help to prevent discoloration.

Although these steps will not guarantee that there won’t be a discoloration of the balls, they will help to preserve them and look fresher for longer. These are some easy steps that you can take to restore them to their natural form. Follow through the easy steps and then you’ll be able to bring your A-game to the pool table.

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