Sep 21, 2022
POSTED BY: Nicholas Venditti

How to Clean Golf Balls: A Quick Guide

What image comes to your head when you think of golf?

For us, it's bright green, exquisitely maintained turf; freshly pressed collared shirts; and the sun sparking off an expertly-shined golf club. This pristine aura is one of the key traits that sets the sport apart from others. Elevated and refined, golf is a sport that rises above dirt and grime.

However, golf balls will inevitably get dirty and scuffed up during play. Don't fret! With the right know-how and a little elbow grease, you'll have your balls shining like new in no time.

Best Techniques to Clean Golf Balls

There are numerous ways to approach cleaning your golf balls, and the processes are remarkably simple. You'll want to choose a technique that aligns with the level of filth on your balls to get the most thorough result. 

Dishwasher Method for Light Dirt

When playing in nice weather, it's unlikely that your golf balls will get too dirty. If they only need a quick wash, you may be surprised that the dishwasher is the perfect solution.

Just like it does with your glassware, a dishwasher can remove light debris. This method saves you time and energy, so you can just pop the balls into the machine and be on your way.

  1. Load the golf balls into the utensil compartment in your dishwasher. Using this compartment prevents them from rolling around when the water kicks on!
  2. Add dish detergent like you would for a regular load of dishes.
  3. Set the dishwasher to run a medium cycle. For lightly soiled balls, this should be sufficient without wasting too much water.
  4. When the cycle is complete, pluck the golf balls out and dry them off with a towel.

Soak and Pressure Wash Method for Moderate Dirt

Sometimes, a particularly powerful swing sends your ball soaring off the green and into uncharted territory. When you go to retrieve it, your ball may have rolled through some dirt, clay, or mud. You may need a slightly stronger solution than a dishwasher alone for this situation. 

  1. Fill a bucket with enough warm water to cover the dirty golf balls.
  2. Mix at least 1 cup of white vinegar into the bucket. You can also opt to use bleach here, but we suggest using vinegar. Bleach poses several risks; its harshness can irritate the skin and eyes. Vinegar is a milder solution.
  3. Add the golf balls into the bucket. Let them soak for at least 20-30 minutes. Letting the balls soak in the cleaning solution should loosen any dirt and make for easier removal.
  4. Drain the water from the bucket. Use a powerful hose to pressure wash all the filth away.
  5. Once clean, remove the balls from the bucket and dry them with a towel. If you opted for bleach in your cleaning solution, use gloves for this step.

Soak and Scrub Method for Heavy Dirt

A little rain won't slow down the avid golfer. But sometimes, what the forecast predicted would be a drizzle turns into a torrential downpour. If you find yourself sloshing through the mud and muck during a round of golf, there's a good chance your golf balls will need a deep cleaning afterward to remove the heavy dirt.

  1. Like in the above method, you'll want to start by mixing a solution of warm water and vinegar in a bucket.
  2. Load the golf balls into the bucket. Allow them to soak for at least 1 hour before draining the liquid.
  3. Next, create a thick paste with baking soda and water. A tough scrub brush or a toothbrush will even work here to scrub the golf balls thoroughly. The baking soda has enough grit so it can get into the golf ball's dimples and remove stubborn debris without damaging it.
  4. When you're satisfied, rinse off the balls with a strong hose. It removes the baking soda as well as any residual dirt.
  5. Towel dry fully before stashing away for your next round.

Remove Scuffs and Pen Marks

Often, you can remove pen marks from golf balls with acetone, the compound found in standard nail polish remover. Simply dab a bit of acetone onto a cotton pad and clean the golf ball.

For scuffs, you have a few options. You can try using a Magic Eraser to scrub the ball gently. Alternatively, try using soap and water and lightly scrubbing with a toothbrush. 

Whatever you choose, be careful not to scrub too hard to maintain the integrity of the ball. Golf balls may seem like simple pieces of equipment, but a lot of science and intentional engineering goes into their compact design. You don’t want to damage the ball and risk impacting your performance. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Get My Golf Ball White Again?

If your balls look discolored from continual use, a good cleaning session with one of the above methods will do the trick.

One tip is to scrub the golf ball with hydrogen peroxide gently. This whitening solution often found in toothpaste works wonders on golf balls! You can also add a half cup of bleach to a bucket of water and allow your balls to soak in it. Be sure to rinse them thoroughly and only handle them with gloves.

How Do Professional Golfers Clean Their Balls?

Many pros use a dedicated Golf Ball Washer, a machine exclusively designed to clean and sanitize a golfer's balls. While a handy tool, these machines are expensive and consume a lot of space. The manual methods mentioned here are just as effective.

Is It Ok to Wash Golf Balls in Dishwasher?

Yes! Washing your balls in the dishwasher is safe and will not damage your equipment. Just make sure they are secure in the machine, so they don't go flying around when the water pressure kicks in.


Don't let a little bit of dirt hinder the performance potential of your golf balls. Grab a bucket and get cleaning!

Once you’re through, you’ll want to make sure you look as clean as the balls—shop STITCH Golf today for apparel that will let you look sharp on the course.