OK, here is my report on cleaning bowling balls with ordinary household products. First a disclaimer, none of the products I tested are made for bowling balls, and I have no idea if they are "legal" for use on a bowling ball or not. The things I tried, I tried because they are good around the house for cleaning greasy stuff, and because when I examined the label I did not see acetone or anything that might be harmful listed as an ingredient. Also, I limited my testing to products that don't irrate the skin, because I think if its not harmfull to your skin, then most likely it won't hurt your bowling ball either.
I should also mention that I tested this stuff on last seasons equipment, not my new equipment I got for this year. While I don't think it got harmed in anyway, I'm not trying this with my new balls. I don't think it hurt my old equipment in any way, but try it out at your own risk - if it screws your balls up - its not my fault. I warned you.
First product I tried is a cleaner called "Greased Lightening", this works really well with a hard plastic ball like a White Dot. Spray it on, wipes
it off. Requires a little elbow grease to remove pin and belt marks, but cuts the grease like nobodys business.
Greased Lightening also cleaned pearlized particle balls exceptionally well. It left the finish nice and tacky. The only drawback I could notice was that for polished balls, it also removed the polish.
The next product I tried was "Easy Off BAM!". This is different from Easy Off oven cleaner. Spray on, wipe off
- this product removes the grime, belt marks, and ball marks with ease. It also cleans down into the grooves and makes the engraving on a ball look new again. Unfortunately it also removes the polish on polished balls, but works great for dulled particle equipment. Allthough this stuff cleans grime better, it did not leave as desirable a surface as greased lightening except for on particle balls.
The last product I tried was "Simple Green". Probably the "safest" product of the stuff I tried, allthough it did not clean as well and didn't leave the excellent tacky surface that greased lightening did.
Summary - Greased Lightening seems to be a great cleaner for bowling balls. 32 oz bottle is available at the grocery store for $4-5 dollars, Easy Off Bam I would not use except for the dirtiest and oiliest of particle equipment, Greased Lightening works better. And Simple Green is probably good for touch up cleaning, but not worth the trouble for cleaning really dirty balls.