How To Remove Lane Conditioner From A Bowling Ball

Lane Conditioner (oil) can reduce the effectiveness of a ball when it soaks in. There are a number of ways to address the problem.

One of the easiest ways to get oil out, is to not let lane conditioner (oil) get in. I’m a big fan of wiping the ball off before every shot. Terry cloth or microfiber towels help remove oil from the surface actively as you bowl. By keeping the surface clean, you don’t get oil, all ready on the ball from the last shot, impeding ball reaction. Manufacturer recommended cleaners or cleaner/polishes will help minimize oil absorption after play is completed.

The key, to addressing the oil in the ball problem, is, how and to what “degree” you subject your bowling ball to heat. Ebonite International will tell you, hot tap water (usually 120 degrees or so, HOTTER is NOT better) will warm the surface and float the oil off the ball. You’ll need a bucket or container big enough to hold a bowling ball. You must soak the ball (submerge it in the bucket or container) for half an hour, or thereabouts. You will need to deal with slimy finger grips (if installed) and soggy tape (don’t leave it in while submerging).

Still oily, do it again. Let dry at room temperature.

A final wipe down with rubbing alcohol or manufacturer recommended cleaner/cleaner polish and you are ready, once again, to roll. Anything added to an alcohol solvent (fragrance, color like in household cleaners) will leave a residue, which can lead to other problems.

Another option, the Ebonite company does have a system (called Hook Again) using dry chemicals to draw oil out of a bowling ball.

Also, recent Brunswick research shows that a controlled system to sweat balls of oil has merit. Be careful, opinions vary. The Ebonite company doesn’t sanction any heating of the covers of their bowling balls (as in sun, oven, etc.) as a solution to oil absorption and reaction loss.

Storm/Roto Grip and Ebonite/Hammer/Columbia/Track point out that warming a ball too quickly creates problems, the least of which is a voided warrantee. Oil comes out but so does some of the chemical structure of the cover (plasticizers), causing (they feel) brittleness and loss of structural integrity.

Warm coverstock surface and cool core occasionally split apart, called core separation.