Billiard Balls

Can You Put Billiard Balls in the Dishwasher?


Billiards, also known as pool, is a popular game enjoyed by many. If you own a billiard table and the accompanying set of billiard balls, you may wonder if it’s safe to clean them in the dishwasher. In this article, we will explore the topic and provide you with insights on whether it’s a good idea to put billiard balls in the dishwasher.

The Composition of Billiard Balls

The Era of Ivory Billiard Balls

Before we delve into the topic, let’s understand the composition of billiard balls. Traditionally, billiard balls were made from ivory, but nowadays, they are predominantly made of synthetic materials such as phenolic resin or polyester. These materials are durable, provide consistent play, and have a smooth surface.

Reasons to Avoid Dishwashing Billiard Balls

Putting billiard balls in the dishwasher may seem like a convenient way to clean them, but it’s not recommended for several reasons:

Heat and Water Damage: Dishwashers use hot water and high heat to clean dishes, which can potentially damage the billiard balls. Extreme temperatures may cause the balls to expand, contract, or even crack, compromising their quality and performance.

Chemical Reactions: Dishwashing detergents often contain harsh chemicals that could react with the materials used to make billiard balls. These reactions may result in discoloration, erosion of the surface, or even changes in the ball’s weight distribution, affecting its roll and playability.

Abrasive Effects: The dishwasher’s cleaning cycle involves vigorous water jets and the movement of dishes. This mechanical action can cause the billiard balls to collide with each other, potentially resulting in scratches or other forms of surface damage.

Proper Cleaning and Maintenance of Billiard Balls

To maintain the quality and longevity of your billiard balls, it’s essential to follow proper cleaning and maintenance practices. Here are some tips to keep them in excellent condition:

Regular Wiping: After each game, wipe the billiard balls with a clean, soft cloth to remove any dirt, chalk, or residue. This simple step can help prevent buildup and maintain their shine.

Avoid Exposure to Direct Sunlight: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause the billiard balls to fade or develop cracks. It’s advisable to store them in a case or cover them when not in use.

Store in a Cool, Dry Place: Moisture and humidity can affect the quality of billiard balls. Store them in a cool, dry place to prevent warping or damage.

Tips for Cleaning Billiard Balls by Hand

If you feel the need for a deeper clean, it’s best to clean billiard balls by hand using mild soap and warm water. Here’s a simple step-by-step guide:

Fill a basin or sink with warm water.
Add a small amount of mild dish soap to create a soapy solution.
Place the billiard balls in the water and use a soft cloth or sponge to gently scrub them.
Rinse the balls thoroughly with clean water to remove any soap residue.
Dry the billiard balls with a soft, lint-free cloth before returning them to the table.
Remember to avoid using abrasive materials or excessive force when cleaning the balls, as this can cause damage to the surface.


While it may be tempting to put billiard balls in the dishwasher for convenience, it’s not recommended due to the potential damage they may suffer. Billiard balls are best cleaned and maintained by following proper hand-cleaning techniques and avoiding exposure to extreme temperatures and harsh chemicals. By taking good care of your billiard balls, you can ensure their longevity and optimal performance.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I use vinegar to clean billiard balls

It’s best to avoid using vinegar or any acidic substances when cleaning billiard balls as they can damage the surface and affect their playability.

How often should I clean my billiard balls?

It’s best to avoid using vinegar or any acidic substances when cleaning billiard balls as they can damage the surface and affect their playability.

Q: How often should I clean my billiard balls?

A: It’s a good practice to wipe the billiard balls after each game and give them a more thorough cleaning every few weeks or as needed.

Q: Can I use a dishwasher-safe ball cleaner?

A: While there are some ball cleaners available on the market, it’s still advisable to clean billiard balls by hand using mild soap and warm water.

Q: Are billiard balls waterproof?

A: Billiard balls are not completely waterproof, and exposure to water for extended periods can have adverse effects on their quality and performance.

Q: How can I prevent my billiard balls from getting scratched?

A: To prevent scratches, avoid dropping the balls onto hard surfaces and store them in a proper case or container when not in use.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *