Can You Use Steel Wool On a Bowling Ball?



  • Using steel wool on your bowling ball has several benefits, including improving grip and hook potential, removing oil buildup that can hinder performance, and extending the life of your ball.
  • However, it can also cause scratches or dents if used improperly, alter the ball’s weight, balance, and performance, and even void the ball’s warranty.


As an avid bowler, you know how important it is to maintain optimal performance and longevity of your trusted bowling ball.

Surface maintenance plays a crucial role in achieving that perfect strike, but is using steel wool the best option for you?

In this article, we will explore the advantages and potential drawbacks of employing steel wool as part of your bowling ball care routine.

Pros Of Using Steel Wool On Your Bowling Ball

Improves Grip And Hook Potential

One of the significant benefits of using steel wool on your bowling ball is that it significantly improves grip and hook potential. Bowling enthusiasts know just how crucial a strong grip and precise hook are for consistently knocking down pins and delivering high-scoring shots.

By gently scuffing the surface with steel wool, you can create more friction between the ball’s coverstock and the lane.

For instance, imagine rolling a perfectly polished bowling ball down a well-oiled lane – chances are it’ll glide smoothly but won’t really “bite” into the wood or synthetic material to generate much rotation or movement.

Removes Oil Buildup

One major benefit of using steel wool on your bowling ball is that it helps to remove oil buildup.

This is important because oil can accumulate on the surface of your ball over time, leading to decreased performance and reduced hook potential.

Not only does removing oil buildup improve performance in the short term, but it also contributes to the long-term longevity of your bowling ball. When left unchecked, excessive amounts of oil can seep into the coverstock material and cause damage or discoloration over time.

Extends The Life Of Your Ball

Regularly using steel wool to maintain the surface of your bowling ball can have a significant impact on its lifespan.

Removing oil buildup, scratches, and dents with steel wool can prevent long-term damage that might require costly repairs or even replacement.

Additionally, regularly resurfacing your ball’s cover stock with steel wool can help extend its life by removing microscopic nicks and scrapes that accumulate over time. By doing so, you’ll be able to preserve the original factory finish of your ball for longer periods while maintaining consistent results during gameplay.

The Cons

Can Cause Scratches Or Dents If Used Improperly

Using steel wool on your bowling ball can be beneficial if done correctly, but it can also cause scratches or dents if used improperly.

It’s important to use gentle pressure and avoid aggressive scrubbing to prevent any damage to the surface of the ball. Additionally, make sure you’re using the appropriate grade of steel wool for your ball’s surface.

Alters The Ball’s Weight, Balance, And Performance

can you use steel wool on a bowling ball

Using steel wool on your bowling ball can alter its weight, balance, and overall performance.

The weight of your bowling ball is critical to your game as even a slight variation can throw off your aim and timing. Steel wool can remove small amounts of material from the surface, altering the weight distribution and balance of the ball.

This change in weight distribution will affect how much hook you get on each shot, making consistent strikes challenging. Steel wool can cause scratches or dents on the surface of the ball which will impact its performance negatively.

Voids The Ball’s Warranty

It’s important to note that using steel wool on your bowling ball can void its warranty. Most manufacturers have strict guidelines for the care and maintenance of their products, and any alterations made outside of those guidelines could result in a loss of warranty coverage.

This means that if you use steel wool to resurface your ball and then experience any defects or issues, you won’t be able to get it fixed under warranty.

However, there are still ways to maintain your ball’s surface without jeopardizing its warranty. Some manufacturers sell specialized cleaning solutions designed specifically for bowling balls that will help remove excess oil buildup from the surface without damaging it.

Additionally, regular trips to a professional pro shop for resurfacing can also help extend the life of your ball without risking any damage or loss of coverage.


In conclusion, using steel wool on your bowling ball can have both pros and cons.

While it can improve grip, remove oil buildup, and extend the life of your ball, it can also cause scratches or dents if used improperly, alter the ball’s weight, balance, and performance and void its warranty.