A Guide To Making Your Golf Balls White Again!

Golf Waterton is supported by its readers. If you buy something with our links, we may earn a commission.

We often admire ancient Greeks for bequeathing us the prototype of democracy. However, besides the government by the people, we should appreciate them for such extraordinary heritage as sports and Olympics. Although the game of golf most likely does not originate from Hellas, it is gaining more and more popularity. In golf, players’ skills are essential, as well as the equipment’s quality and condition.  

Golf balls, especially, need to be maintained clean, in good condition and preferably gleaming white! This is why today we will find out how to make our grubby golf balls white again 🙂 Avid golfers know how dirty or yellowed golf balls can affect the game and how expensive it can be to buy new golf balls constantly.  

Using just bleach and soap solution, you can make your used but still good golf balls white again. Below, we provide you instructions in this short guide on how to make your golf balls look new.

In general, playing golf with dirty balls has negative consequences for golfers’ play. The dirt affects every element of the stroke, from the contact with the club, through the flight, to the drop in the hole. Specialists recommend cleaning your balls every time it’s your turn during a round, especially in bad weather or rough terrain conditions. Additionally, dirty or yellowed golf balls are difficult to notice on the green and can be lost easily. Making your golf balls white again is cheaper, will recover their initial qualities, and will not affect the mechanics of the stroke.

Golf Ball – Overall Information

A golf ball is a small, usually white ball, specially designed for playing golf. Its weight is not more than 1,620 oz. (.45, 93 gr.) and its diameter is not less than 1.680 “(42, 67 mm). A typical feature of golf balls after 1905 is their dimpled surface, which significantly improves their aerodynamics. To be used in tournaments, golf balls need to conform to the regulations of R&A and USGA (United States Golf Association).  (1)  

There are several golf balls, and the list below displays the most used of them. (1)

  • Recreational balls
  • Advanced balls
  • Practice/range balls
  • Recycled balls
  • Markouts/X-outs
  • One-Piece Balls
  • Two-Piece Balls

The modern golf market provides a great variety of golf balls. However, not every brand and model has the necessary qualities for success, especially for the demanding professional golfer. According to Golf Datatech, about 40% of the golf balls on the market are cheaper variations with low technical characteristics.  (2) Golf balls with higher performance qualities are more expensive and are usually used by seasoned and professional golfers. According to scientists, retailers, and everyday golfers, the list below presents the best golf balls at the time of writing. (2)

  • Bridgestone Tour B X
  • Callaway Chrome Soft/X
  • Mizuno RB Tour/X
  • Srixon Z-Star/XV
  • Taylormade TP5/X
  • Titleist AVX
  • Titleist PRO V1/PRO V1X
  • Volvik XT Soft
  • Wilson Staff Model
  • XXIO X

Ways To Clean and Whiten Your Golf Balls

Even the best golf balls get dirty or yellow on the golf course or covered with fungus after staying in some golf course pond water! The dirty golf balls have less aerodynamics and a more unpredictable flight pattern. A good golfer should take care of his golf balls personally, which is quite an easy and cheap option. There are two main places and several ways that you can do that. You can take care of your golf balls right on the golf course or at home, using different methods.

Cleaning On The Golf Course

Under the regulations of golf, you can clean your balls on the golf course during the game. Cleaning can occur in cases when balls are marked on or between the holes. Professionals usually clean their balls between the holes to make sure that nothing will affect the mechanics of their strokes. We already pointed out how difficult it is to spot a dirty ball on a green or muddy surface. Below, we provide a list of materials and utensils used for cleaning golf balls on the course. (3)

  • Ball washer/ Ultrasonic ball cleaner
  • Container/bucket with soap and warm water
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Diluted vinegar
  • Nylon brush/scrubber
  • Cloth towel

The fastest and easy way to clean your balls is to use the ball washers. They are available on the golf course, close by tee boxes, or installed on golf carts. The washer consists of a cavity with a plunger, nylon brush, and a container with soap suds. Another way is to use soap and water solution, brush, and rub insistently. For stubborn stains, dishwashing liquid or diluted vinegar, and then dry the ball carefully with the towel.  (3)

Cleaning Golf Balls At Home

Of course, cleaning your balls right on the golf course may not make them ideally white again. It will however maintain their playing qualities, as well as making your thorough cleaning later on a little less arduous. However, the best way to whiten your golf balls is at home. There are some slight differences in how you clean dirty and greasy balls, yellowed balls, and balls soaked in a pond or another water source for some time. Below we present you a unified list of materials and utensils many find useful for the three cleaning styles we are about to explain. (3)

  • Conventional dishwasher
  • Hose
  • Tub/bucket of warm water
  • Denture cleaning tabs
  • Soft bristle brush /Toothbrush
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Bleach/Oxalic acid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Ammonia
  • Nail polish remover
  • Dry dish towel / Rag
  • Sponge

Cleaning Dirty And Greasy Golf Balls

The first thing you should do when cleaning golf balls at home is to clean off any hardened mud or other dirt from their surfaces. Use a dry dish towel or rinse them with a hose. Then prepare a soap solution from half a cup to a cup of liquid dish soap and warm water in the bucket. Let the balls soak for about one to two hours. If you have many balls to clean, you may use a tub, tray, or a couple of buckets.

Next, immerse your soft bristle brush or toothbrush in the soap solution and take out the balls. Start scrubbing them thoroughly with the brush to remove any residual dirt. Then, rinse cleaned balls with the hose and dry them with the towel. You can polish your golf balls by leading them to dry thoroughly in the sun or shining them with a towel. For ink stains or other stubborn marks, use nail polish remover.  (3)

Cleaning Yellowed Golf Balls

The cleaning of yellowed golf balls is identical to the cleaning of the other dirty balls. You have to soak them for about an hour or two in your bucket full of soap solution. Rubbing with your brush after that is the key to a good cleaning. However, yellowing, usually caused by grass, is far more stubborn staining and is not easily removable. To make your golf balls white again, you need to use bleach or oxalic acid.

After scrubbing the balls with the brush, you do not need to dry them but put them back into the bucket. Then refill the bucket with fresh water and pour bleach inside. The amount should be about half a cup per average size bucket. Let the balls soak in the bleach solution for about half an hour and stir from time to time with something appropriate. After half an hour, rinse the balls by emptying the bucket and refilling it again with fresh water.

After the end of the entire procedure, your golf balls will regain their previous appearance. However, be aware that some of the older balls may be affected more by this solution and lose some of their paint. Check thoroughly for imperfections in all the balls and set apart the good ones only. You can use the affected golf balls in your backyard for practice. Whether using oxalic acid or ammonia, you should follow an almost identical procedure.

Using bleach requires some precautions, such as protective gloves. Bleach is a strong chemical, so make sure you have good ventilation or do the cleaning process outdoors. Additionally, spilling bleach around the house is not safe for its inhabitants. It would help if you also made sure that there is not remaining bleach on the golf balls. The good thing is that bleach will not only whiten them but will also disinfect them.

If you do not have bleach available, hydrogen peroxide is the perfect alternative. It might be a bit easier to use than bleach and will achieve absolutely the same effect. In some aspects, hydrogen peroxide may be the better choice because it will help with the stain of the golf balls. The cleaning process is identical to the one in which you use bleach. Just remove coarse dirt first and then soak the balls in hydrogen peroxide solution.

Cleaning Golf Balls From A Pond.

Many golfers know that they can find plenty of lost golf balls in the golf course pond or other water sources nearby a golf area. The balls taken out of the water look unusable. They are soaked and covered with silt and fungus. However, many of these balls need a thorough cleaning. With a bit of effort, you can obtain a set of good golf balls that will serve you for a long time.

If you get some golf balls from a pond, you can easily clean them at home and reuse those in good condition. To separate the corroded balls from the good ones, you can first drop all of them in the dishwasher for a cycle without detergent. Then take them out and analyze their surface. Put the balls in poor condition aside and continue cleaning good balls only.

After running the balls through the process of pressure-washing (in this case with your dishwasher), put them into a tub of water. The next step is to add one or two denture cleaning tabs in with the balls’ midway. The gas that these tabs release will remove the dirt from the balls’ surface. Then use a rag or sponge to scrub the balls and remove mud and waste. If necessary, soak the balls in the water again and repeat the procedure. (3)

Homemade Golf Ball Washer

Ball washers are one of the best ways to make your golf balls white again because they provide high cleaning quality. However, commercial ball washers are pretty expensive, especially for home use. Ingenious golfers have constructed a homemade golf ball washer for only $10. According to the inventor, his homemade ball washer is not inferior to the manufactured ones, and you can do it yourself. Below, we provide a list of materials and tools you need to construct a homemade ball washer.


  • One 1 Liter plastic pouring jug ($2.00)
  • Four 2″ Scrub brushes ($2.00)
  • One 6″ Plastic cutting board ($4.00)
  • Eight small wood screws


  • Power drill
  • Drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • One 3/4″ hole saw
  • Jigsaw

Go HERE to get the full lowdown on how to set up and use this homemade ball washer (4)

Examine Whiteness Of Golf Balls

Finally, yet importantly, you have to examine the whiteness of cleaned golf balls. If the results are not satisfactory, you may need to repeat the cleaning process. After the cleaning, the golf balls should have squeaky clean dimples and no extra weight caused by any dirt residues. Furthermore, the balls should glisten brightly white, like new, and be visible on any background. After making sure your cleaned golf balls possess these qualities, you can put them in play again.

Collectible Golf Balls

For those who own antique golf balls, the ways of cleaning those should be radically different. It is instead a matter of maintaining these golf balls lightly and regularly rather than letting them get too grubby. The methods explained above are not recommendable for collectibles. Rubbing them and especially applying chemicals may damage the balls’ finish, which determines their value to a large extend. It is not recommended at all to wash “Featherie” “or other antique golf balls.  (3)


You should be aware of a few details when deciding to clean your golf balls at home. Brushes you use should have a soft bristle because metal or other rough brushes can damage balls’ finish. Additionally, golf balls may have toxic or other virulent residues due to their stay on the golf course. It would help if you considered this possibility when choosing to wash the golf balls in the dishwasher. Finally, yet importantly, using chemicals to whiten your balls always requires increased precaution.

Golf Balls Cleaning FAQ

Will Bleach Damage Golf Balls?

The bleach will only damage corroded balls or balls that have impaired surfaces. Good golf balls will not be damaged but will regain their original appearance and whiteness. Additionally, bleach will play the role of a disinfectant, exterminating any pesticides, bacteria, or other pathogenic microorganisms that may remain on the balls’ cover. It is more likely to damage your golf balls when using a rough brush while scrubbing them rather than with a bleach bath. However, remember to use a bleach solution, not undiluted bleach.

Does Vinegar Clean Golf Balls?

Vinegar is also a good option for cleaning golf balls since you can find it in every household. Vinegar cleans golf balls, and it is recommendable for a deeper clean. You can use it the same way as soap or dishwasher liquid. Pour vinegar into a bucket of warm water and soak the golf balls for 15-20 minutes. Then rub with a sponge or toothbrush to remove any remaining dirt.

How Do You Make A Golf Ball Cleaner?

There are several different options to make a golf ball cleaner, but they work on the same principle. Another good option for cleaning is to use ammonia for your cleaning solution. Prepare a mixture of two tablespoons of ammonia and one whiting and stir it into a cup of warm water. If you use a bucket, you may need several cups of this mixture. Then soak the golf balls for about 15 minutes. Scrubbing with a soft brush afterward is mandatory for good final cleaning.

How Do I Restore A Golf Ball?

If the ball is not destroyed or corroded, you can restore it quite quickly. Drop the golf ball into diluted bleach, ammonia, or white vinegar and let it soak for 2 to 3 hours. Make sure not to mix these chemicals but rather prepare a solution from one of them. Rinse the golf ball with fresh water after soaking. You can prepare a thick mixture of water and baking soda and use a soft brush for more detailed cleaning.

Final Thoughts On Cleaning Golf Balls

For those who love sport, nothing is impossible. Golf is one of these unique sports that provide players with satisfaction from both the game itself and involvement in the choice and maintenance of the golf equipment alongside it! Taking care of your equipment, and using it afterward, can make you proud of your achievements, not only on the golf course. Cleaning the golf balls personally, for example, will benefit you in different ways. It will save you money, will teach you something useful, and above all, will make you love golf more and more.


  1. 1. Wikipedia, “Golf Ball.” Wikimedia Foundation, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golf_ball Assessed May 6, 2021
  2. 2. Stachura, M. & Johnson, E., “2020 Best Golf Balls.” GolfDigest Com, www.golfdigest.com/gallery/hot-list-golf-balls Assessed May 6, 2021
  3. 3. Lane, Penelope. “How to Clean Dirty Golf Balls.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, https://golftips.golfweek.usatoday.com/clean-dirty-golf-balls-1493.html Assessed May 7, 2021
  4. 4. DoDo729, and Instructables. “HOME MADE GOLF BALL WASHER FOR $10.00.” Instructables, Instructables, www.instructables.com/HOME-MADE-GOLF-BALL-WASHER-FOR-1000/ Assessed May 8, 2021