How Do You Make Pool Balls Shiny?

Pools balls straight out of the box always have that perfect shine. They look great while you’re playing and move across the felt like a dream, but eventually, they lose that luster.

So, how do you make pool balls shiny?

  1. Clean the pool balls regularly with a pool ball cleaner.
  2. Don’t use products that could damage the pool balls.
  3. Use a cleaning machine.

Continue reading to learn more about how to clean your pool balls, what to use, and why using a wax or a polish isn’t the best idea.

Clean Your Pool Balls to Keep Them Shiny

Chalk, dirt, grime, and grease will ruin the shine on a pool ball, and it will do it fast. Luckily, cleaning your pool balls will get them looking back to new. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Carefully wipe down each ball using a damp cloth.
  2. Dry each ball after it has been thoroughly wiped down.
  3. If this doesn’t do the job, then you’ll need to use a cleaner. You should also use a cleaner meant for billiard balls like Aramith Billiard Ball Cleaner. You usually apply the cleaner to the ball, but you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. After you’ve applied the cleaner and wiped it in, you should dry the ball with a dry cloth.

This should be enough to clean your pool balls and bring back their natural shine.

Don’t Use Products that Could Damage the Pool Balls

The finish on pool balls is susceptible to damage if the wrong cleaner is used on it. Any cleaner that is even considered mildly abrasive should not be used on pool balls. This includes:

  • Bartenders Friend
  • Simple Green
  • Bleach
  • Ammonia
  • Detergents
  • Windex

Because it can be difficult to know just how abrasive a cleaner is, we recommend avoiding any cleaner not meant for pool balls.

These may improve the look of the ball temporarily, but in the long run, you’re doing more harm than good. Your pool balls will become dull faster, and it will get harder to bring back their shine.

Use a Pool Ball Cleaning Machine

If you’re lucky enough to have a local pool hall that owns a ball cleaning machine, then they might clean your pool balls for you for a fee. Not all pool halls will do this, so you should call before you pack up your pool balls. In between trips to the ball cleaning machine, you should still wipe down your pool balls regularly.

If you don’t have access to a machine or you play pool often enough that you need to clean your pool balls frequently, we recommend getting:

The Case Against Polishing

There are some pool ball polishes out there and people who advocate for using wax to shine up pool balls, but we don’t recommend either of these things.

The WPA does not allow polished or waxed pool balls in tournaments, and we try to mimic tournament conditions whenever possible.

There are several good reasons to avoid using polish on your pool balls, which we discuss in our post about waxing your pool balls.

Should Pool Balls Be Shiny?

If your pool balls are clean and well cared but they are not that shiny, you shouldn’t worry. The most important thing is that they’re clean, undamaged, and moving across the felt the way they should.

Being excessively dull could be an indication that a pool ball has been mistreated or is ready for retirement. At this point, you should replace your set of pool balls. We have some suggestions over on this post.


Benny is the owner of Supreme Billiards and has been shooting pool and teaching people how to shoot pool for a few years now. He enjoys showing new players techniques and drills to improve their pool game.

Recent Posts