Dirty pool table and cue ball.

How To Clean Pool Balls: The Ultimate Guide

Got dirty pool balls?

The best way to guarantee that everything looks the part is to keep your pool equipment in excellent shape. Long-term cost savings are another benefit.

Dirty pool table and cue ball.
This cue ball has a fair few chalk marks and needs a good clean.

Cleaning chalk marks, stains, and yellowing off of billiard balls is actually a fairly easy process.

You’ve got two options to get the job done:

  1. Detergent and water: useful for semi-regular cleans (removing chalk marks).
  2. Professional clean/polish solutions: a better option if your balls need a deep clean (for removing long-term stains and getting that luster back).

Using Detergent And Water

If your billiard balls are just a little dirty, all you really need to do is use soapy water.

Note: this tutorial is for plastic/phenolic resin balls, not balls made of natural substances like wood or ivory.

You’ll need:

  • Two buckets.
  • Dish soap.
  • Microfiber cloth.
  • A towel.
  • Hot water.

Microfiber cloth

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  1. Fill one bucket with hot water at about 110° and add your detergent.
  2. Let the balls soak underwater for around 5 minutes. If your bucket is big enough, you can add all of your balls.
  3. Fill the other bucket with cold or room-temperature water.
  4. After the 5 minutes is up, grab your microfiber cloth and scrub each individual ball for 30 seconds to a minute. You might need to add more detergent to the cloth when polishing.
  5. Rinse the soap off each ball using the clean water bucket.
  6. Dry each ball thoroughly with your towel. Try not to leave them wet as this can harm the glossy finish.

If detergent doesn’t quite do the job, you can use other substances designed for cleaning plastic, like Brillianize.

Brillianize Plastic Glass Cleaner Polish
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Alternatively, you can try and use a specialist ball cleaning solution, as outlined below.

Using Aramith Pool Ball Cleaner

If you’ve got really yellow balls, regular cleaning agents might not do the job. You’ll need to use Aramith’s specialized billiard ball cleaner.

This stuff is designed for phenolic resin balls and it’s quite strong, so be careful using it on cheaper billiard ball sets.

You’ll need:

  1. Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner.
  2. Aramith Billiard Ball Restorer.
  3. Two microfiber cloths.

Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner & Aramith Billiard Ball Restorer

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  1. Take your first ball and apply a spot of Aramith Billiard Ball Restorer, shaking the bottle before use.
  2. Polish the ball with this substance using a microfiber cloth for around 30 seconds to a minute.
  3. Using another dry microfiber cloth, wipe the ball clean, leaving no restorer behind.
  4. Next, follow the same process but with Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner. Shake the bottle, apply some cleaner, polish the ball, and wipe it down with a clean cloth.
  5. Repeat these steps for each ball that needs cleaning.

Always use the restorer first, because it’s the strongest substance. It helps to break down tough stains (including yellowing, which happens as a result of oxidation) which the cleaner can then remove, returning your ball to its original luster.


Hopefully you were able to remove those pesky stains from your pool balls.

If you’ve got any tips or tricks to help clean billiard balls, let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear them!

5 thoughts on “How To Clean Pool Balls: The Ultimate Guide”

    1. Peter A. Pettit

      Hi Janet.
      I think I did the same thing — they came out kind of faded and mottled. Have you found a fix for it?
      (Although the 1-ball did come back to a pretty bright solid yellow with just some soft-towel polishing…the others haven’t responded the same.)

      1. Hey Peter,

        Interesting that that happened to you. Out of interest, what type of balls do you have, and how long did you leave them in for?

  1. I had similar results with discoloration as Peter and Janet. I panicked initially but discovered I could remove the discoloration “film” with my fingernail. I grabbed some car wax, applied it as if I was waxing my car, and was able to restore the shine. Good luck!

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