Can You Bake a Urethane Bowling Ball?

In the world of bowling, urethane balls are popular for their control and friction-generating abilities, making them a go-to choice for many avid bowlers.

However, there’s been an ongoing debate about whether or not baking these balls is a good idea. Baking aims to remove oil from the ball’s surface but may also carry potential risks that could affect its performance drastically.

This blog will delve into the truth about baking urethane bowling balls by discussing benefits, drawbacks, and alternatives while offering useful maintenance tips that can help extend your ball’s life and performance on the lanes.

Can You Bake A Urethane Bowling Ball?

Yes, you can bake a urethane bowling ball. Baking it can improve its reaction and hook potential. However, it also poses risks such as possible damage to the ball’s core, changes in weight and balance, and voiding of the manufacturer’s warranty.

Improved Ball Reaction And Hook Potential

One of the primary reasons some bowlers consider baking their urethane bowling balls is to improve ball reaction and enhance hook potential.

Over time, as a bowling ball absorbs oil from the lanes, it can lose its ability to generate friction with the surface, resulting in reduced performance.

For instance, I baked my urethane bowling ball last year after consistently losing traction on heavily oiled lanes. The difference was undeniable – after baking it correctly following manufacturer guidelines, my ball gripped onto the lane much better than before and provided me with an incredible increase in hook potential.

Potential Damage To The Ball’s Core

Baking a urethane bowling ball can potentially damage the ball’s core, which is responsible for its weight and balance. The heat from baking can cause the core to shift or even crack, leading to an imbalance in weight distribution and ultimately affecting the ball’s performance.

To prevent damaging your urethane bowling ball’s core when cleaning it, it is important to consider alternative methods like using a bowling rejuvenator or sending your ball to a professional for resurfacing.

Proper maintenance involves regular cleaning and oil extraction without resorting to extreme measures that could compromise your equipment’s performance in competitive games.

Changes In Ball Weight And Balance

Baking a urethane bowling ball could potentially lead to changes in its weight and balance. This is because the heat from baking can cause the material to expand or contract, altering the ball’s physical characteristics.

Depending on how long and at what temperature the ball is baked, it could end up weighing more or less than before. Similarly, if one side of the ball gets more exposure to heat than another during baking, it could result in an imbalance that affects its trajectory when thrown down the lane.

To avoid any negative impacts on your bowling ball, you may want to consider professional resurfacing instead. Resurfacing involves using specialized equipment and techniques that don’t expose your ball to extreme heat risk, ensuring you retain consistent weight and balance over time.

Possible Voiding Of Manufacturer’s Warranty

It is important to note that baking a urethane bowling ball could potentially void the manufacturer’s warranty. The use of extreme heat for an extended period can lead to damage, causing the ball’s core to break or become misshapen.

If this occurs, the manufacturer may refuse to replace or repair the ball under warranty. It is recommended that bowlers check their warranties before attempting any home remedies and follow approved methods outlined by manufacturers for maintaining their balls’ performance.

Alternatives To Baking A Urethane Bowling Ball

can you bake a urethane bowling ball

Using A Bowling Ball Rejuvenator

Another alternative to baking a urethane bowling ball is using a bowling ball rejuvenator. This device uses heat and motion to extract oil and dirt from the surface of the ball, restoring its original tackiness and performance.

There are many different types of rejuvenators available on the market, ranging from portable units that you can use at home to commercial-grade machines used by professionals.

Some models even have added features such as digital controls and adjustable temperatures for optimal results.

Sanding And Polishing

One effective method for maintaining your urethane bowling ball is through sanding and polishing. Sanding the ball removes any scratches or dings on the surface, which can affect its performance.

You can use fine-grit sandpaper to even out any rough spots or imperfections in the shell of the bowling ball.

Polishing also helps reduce friction between the ball and lane, so your shots glide smoothly down the alley. There are many commercial polishes available specifically designed for bowling balls that will help improve their performance.

Professional Resurfacing

If you want to ensure your urethane bowling ball stays in top condition, professional resurfacing is the way to go. A skilled technician can restore the ball’s outer shell to its original state and remove any blemishes or scratches that may affect performance.

This process requires specialized equipment such as a ball spinner, wet sandpaper, and polishing compounds. The technician will first measure the ball’s initial surface roughness before assessing what level of abrasiveness is required for optimal resurfacing.

An advantage of this method is that it does not involve baking the ball, thereby avoiding potential damage to its core and weight balance.

Tips For Maintaining Your Urethane Bowling Ball

Regular Cleaning And Upkeep

Maintaining the cleanliness of your urethane bowling ball is critical in maximizing its performance. You can remove dirt and oil from the surface by wiping it with a microfiber towel or chamois after every game to prevent buildup.

If you notice that your ball is not performing as well as before, it may be time to do a deep cleaning.

I’ve found that regularly cleaning my bowling balls keeps them in top shape and enhances their longevity. I typically clean my balls after every use, which helps me maintain their optimal performance on the lanes.

However, make sure to avoid using harsh chemicals like acetone or alcohol when cleaning your urethane bowling ball since this can cause damage to both its exterior and interior components.

Proper Storage And Handling

Maintaining proper storage and handling practices for your urethane bowling ball can significantly impact its longevity and performance. Always store your bowling ball in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or extreme temperatures.

Avoid stacking heavy objects on top of the ball, which can lead to warping or damage to the core material.

Regularly inspecting your bowling ball for signs of wear and tear is equally important in maintaining its optimal performance. Look out for cracks, chips, or any changes in weight that might indicate internal issues.

By taking proper care of your urethane bowling ball through regular cleaning, inspection, and storage practice, among other maintenance tips outlined above (including resurfacing options), you can ensure consistent improvements in performance over time while extending its lifespan considerably.

Recognizing Signs Of Wear And Tear

As a bowler who loves your urethane bowling ball, it is essential to recognize signs of wear and tear so you can maintain its performance. Over time, the surface of your ball will change due to use and lane conditions.

Keeping your bowling ball clean between games is crucial to maintaining its optimal condition. You should remove any oil that may have accumulated on the surface by wiping it down with a towel or using cleaning solutions designed specifically for bowling balls.

If you notice any chips or cracks in the coverstock or core of your bowling ball during regular inspection, take it to an expert before continuing with play as these damages can lead to severe issues if left unchecked.


In conclusion, while baking a urethane bowling ball can have its benefits for oil removal and improved ball reaction, it also poses potential risks such as damaging the ball’s core or voiding its warranty.

Fortunately, there are alternative methods like using a ball rejuvenator, resurfacing professionally, or sanding and polishing by hand.

Remember, maintaining proper care and following manufacturer guidelines are key to keeping your bowling ball in top condition for optimal performance on the lanes.

Last updated on June 8, 2023