Do Bowling Balls Absorb Oil?

do bowling balls absorb oil

We’ve all seen workers running down bowling lanes spreading a thin layer of wax to keep them nice and slick. The slicker bowling lanes are, the better bowling balls can roll down, hitting the pins exactly where you wanted them to. 

Bowling balls do absorb some oil, coming into contact with it as they roll down the lanes. Though all bowling balls absorb some of the oil, the amount that they absorb depends on the material that the bowling ball is made of. Plastic and polyurethane bowling balls absorb much less oil than pearl or hybrid.

Below, we’ll go into more detail about the way that bowling balls absorb oil and what you can do to remove it. Plus, we’ll give you the scoop on how often you should be removing oil from your bowling balls, keeping them in optimal shape as they glide down the lanes with ease. 

Which Bowling Ball Absorbs the Most Oil?

Bowling balls are much more advanced than they used to be. Today, you have a selection of different bowling balls all made from different materials. Each of these materials absorbs oil differently, making it something you should look out for. Bowling balls can be separated into three main categories, including: 

– Solids 

– Pearls 

– Plastics 

The materials determine how much oil is absorbed into balls and some absorb better than others. Knowing the type of ball that you have and how much oil it’s absorbing on the way down can help you keep your ball in optimum rolling shape. 

Does Oil Absorption Ruin a Bowling Ball? 

Oil absorption will not ruin your bowling ball no matter what material it’s made of. The one thing that it will affect is the performance. Bowling balls with excess oil trapped on the surface don’t roll as well as those without oil and won’t hit pins as strongly. 

Bowlers from pro to rookie swear by keeping their bowling balls free of excess oil, making it something that you should try and see if you like. Now, you should look at your bowling ball and find out the material so that you can clean it up after a day at the lanes. 

Do Pearl Bowling Balls Absorb Oil?

In the case of pearlized balls, you’ll have a lot more oil absorption than you bargained for. The combined material that it takes to make a pearlized ball is porous, which results in the absorption of more oil. Though it sounds like it could throw off your bowling game, there is actually a reason why. 

As pearlized balls glide down the lane, they slide with perfection. It isn’t until the end of the lane that they start to react with much more friction, as there is no oil. This increased friction is said to give the ball an extra boost at the end to knock pins down with more power. 

Do Urethane Bowling Balls Absorb Oil?

Urethan materials have been around for a while and are less porous than pearlized bowling balls. These bowling balls don’t absorb so much oil thanks to the oil rings that surround the track. As the ball rolls down the lane, a very small amount of oil is absorbed. The less absorption helps the ball roll down the lane and focuses more on carry-on. 

Do Plastic Bowling Balls Absorb Oil? 

Plastic bowling balls actually have the least absorption of any of the other types of bowling balls. Plastic molecules stick close together and create a non-porous area where oil is hard to absorb. Perhaps that’s why plastic balls got their nickname, “carry-down.” They pick up very little oil which means they have more carry down as they roll down the lane toward the pins.  

What Is the Best Way to Get Oil Out of a Bowling Ball? 

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Getting oil off of your bowling ball is something that you need to do from time to time. Especially if you’re trying to make it to professional status, you can take steps to reduce the oil absorbed by your ball by choosing a cleaning method. Common cleaning methods include: 

  • Ball Spray 
  • Rubbing Alcohol 
  • Immersion 
  • Handing Over to the Pros 

Did you know that most professional bowlers wipe down their bowling balls after each shot? Oil track is excess oil that is left on a bowling ball after a shot. When a lane is oiled too much, the amount of oil tracked on your bowling ball will greatly affect the way it rolls. Using a bowling ball wipe pad like this one after each shot can help keep excessive oil off of your bowling ball.

Ball Spray – The Natural Way 

To make a ball spray on your own, you can mix equal parts of rubbing alcohol and water into a spray bottle. You can take this along with your in your bowling bag and give your ball a quick spritz and wipe before each round or each shot depending on how much oil is on your lanes. 

Rubbing Alcohol – Quick Cleaning

If you’re at home and want to remove excess oil after a day full of bowling, you can prepare a little bath for your bowling ball and dunk it in.

Mix a 4:2 ratio of rubbing alcohol to water and use a towel to dip, wring, and wipe the oil off of your bowling ball. Then, you can leave it in a spot to air out before the next big game. 

Immersion – the Best Method (at Home)

The immersion method of cleaning your bowling ball is one of the best. You can do it from your home by following these five easy steps. 

1. Fill a Bucket 

The first step in the process is getting a bucket big enough to fit your bowling ball. Fill it with hot water and, if you want, a bit of dish soap or detergent. Be sure to not use anything too strong so that it doesn’t strip the outer layer of your bowling ball in the process. 

2. Tape your Ball 

During the immersion method, you don’t want water to seep into the finger holes. So, grab some tape that’s resistant to water and throw some tape over them. Make sure that they are completely covered before you immerse your ball to keep them safe. 

3. Immerse 

With the finger holes secure, take your ball and dunk it into the water, making sure that it’s completely covered. It will likely sink to the bottom because of the weight, which is what you want. Leave it to soak in the bucket anywhere from twenty to thirty minutes. 

4. Remove 

After soaking, you’ll need to take your ball out. Have a towel ready so that you don’t drip water everywhere. When taking the ball out, make sure that the holes are still covered and they stay covered to prevent any water from dripping in.  

5. Wipe it Down 

The last thing you’ll need to do is remove the excess water. Though you can use any kind of towel, one of the best to use is microfiber. These towels are soft and won’t scratch your ball and they absorb water really fast for a quick dry. 

Ask the Pros 

Professional cleaning services know that oil absorption is a common thing and offer cleaning services to remove excess oil. You can find a professional service to clean your ball for you, saving time and knowing that it’s going to get done right every time. 

Professional bowling services offer options to clean your bowling ball and resurface the entire outside. A simple clean will run about 5 to 10 dollars and a resurface could cost you up to 30 bucks. It’s not expensive and it’s well worth the cleaning every once in a while. 

How Often Should You Remove the Oil From a Bowling Ball?

The frequency at which you should remove oil from your ball depends on the amount of time you bowl. For instance, if you hit the lanes every day, you might want to remove the oil more often. On the contrary, if you go once a week or once a month, you might not need to remove the oil so often. 

For pretty slick lanes, take a bit of spray with you and wipe down your ball after each throw. For drier lanes, you can wait until you get home to wipe everything off. As a rule of thumb, try and remove oil at least every fifty to seventy-five games. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to keeping your bowling gear in tip-top shape, removing the oil is a necessity. It will make your bowling ball glide down the lanes and help it reach the pins exactly where you want it to. If you’re a frequent bowler, start taking steps to remove oil from your ball to notice a difference in your bowling game. 

Depending on the ball you have, you can choose to remove oil more or less often. Choose a method that suits you or choose a combination of methods that allows you to remove oil both at the lanes and in your home. Be sure to choose soaps, detergents, and towels that won’t damage the outer layer of your bowling ball. 

These days, there are lots of tricks of the trade. Bowlers have their methods figured out and know how to get their ball rolling optimally. The better your ball, the better your roll, and the close you’ll get to bowling a perfect game every time. 

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