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How to Clean Golf Clubs: Guide to Maintaining the Best Condition

A good set of golf clubs aren’t cheap, so preserving them for a long time is likely high on your to-do list. Keeping them clean is the key to maintaining their condition. Plus, a clean golf club is much more effective than a dirty one.

Cleaning methods to properly clean golf clubs

If the grooves are filled with dirt, you won’t be able to control your golf ball the same way, and even worse, your swing could get thrown off. Dirt can also affect the way that golf balls come off the club face, totally changing your results.

If you want to have a good game and long-lasting equipment, you have to know how to clean golf clubs. We’ll cover all the ways to clean all your clubs in the article below.

What You Will Need to Clean Your Golf Clubs

The first step to learning how to clean golf clubs involves preparing your supplies. Depending on what types of golf clubs you have, your materials might vary. In general, you’ll need:

  • Plastic bucket of lukewarm water 
  • 2-3 tbsp of dish soap or dishwashing liquid, added to the water
  • A soft-bristle brush or old toothbrush
  • Chrome or steel polish
  • Cloth
  • Towels

How to Clean Golf Club Heads (Irons)

Warm water with a damp cloth will give your clubs a proper cleaning

Keeping your irons clean is crucial. The grooves on irons create spin which helps with launch, trajectory and ensuring your ball lands softly. Having dirt caked in the grooves will make your shots bounce over the green rather than making birdies. 

Clean your golf irons by:

  1. Use warm water – not hot water.
  2. Soak the irons heads in the water for 5 to 10 minutes. For really muddy clubs, leave for up to 20 minutes.
  3. Scrub the entire head and face with a soft bristle brush or old toothbrush, getting into the grooves.
  4. Use a towel to wipe off mud and debris.
  5. Rinse the club in the water.
  6. Dry the club with a clean, soft towel.
  7. Repeat if necessary to remove any stubborn dirt. 

How to Clean Metal Woods

You’ll need to follow a different process for metal woods, like fairway woods and drivers, because you can’t soak them underwater.

  1. Wet your brush in your soapy warm water, making sure all the plastic bristles are wet.
  2. Carefully scrub your club head, avoiding getting it too wet. 
  3. Repeat as often as needed until the club head is clean.
  4. Use a wet towel to wipe away any debris.
  5. Use a clean towel to dry the club.

How to Clean Wooden Clubs

Wooden golf clubs are typically older and more fragile than metal clubs. They can’t take the abrasion of a scrub brush and shouldn’t be submerged in water, as this can negatively affect the wood.

  1. Wet a cloth in your soapy lukewarm water.
  2. Wipe down the club head with the moist cloth to remove any dirt.
  3. Clean off your cloth by rewetting and repeat to remove any remaining dirt.
  4. Dry the club head with a towel.

How to Clean Golf Club Shafts

Your golf club shafts and grips are just as important for your performance as the club head. 

  1. Lightly moisten a cloth.
  2. Wipe down the golf shaft.
  3. Use a brush, removing dirt by scrubbing with the soapy water mixture if needed.
  4. Dry the shaft with a dry cloth.

How to Clean Golf Club Grips

Grips get dirty quickly thanks to sweat and normal wear and tear. 

  1. Wet half a towel or soft bristle brush in your warm soapy water.
  2. Rub down the grip with the wet side of the towel or brush fairly aggressively. 
  3. Dry the grip with a fresh clean towel or the half dry side of the towel.
  4. Air dry for 10-20 minutes outside your bag so you don’t get your bag wet.

Note that using an old towel may not clean your grips as effectively. It’s advised that you use a clean towel for this process.

Additional Ways to Keep Your Clubs Performing Well

Using warm water will help you when cleaning clubs

Aside from cleaning, you can use the following tips to keep your golf gear well-maintained to ensure a long, useful life.

Replacing Grips Is Much Cheaper Than New Irons

Grips can get worn down quickly, especially if you play golf often. You can maintain your grips by cleaning them regularly, but eventually, you’ll need to get them redone.

If your grips are feeling slick, spend the $15 to replace your old grips with new ones, rather than buying new irons altogether. This can also up the resale value if you’re looking to sell.

Don’t Let a Rainy Day Destroy Your Clubs

Playing in the rain is sometimes unavoidable – which is fine, because golf clubs are designed for all weather. However, they aren’t meant to sit in a wet bag for hours afterward. Be sure to remove your gear from your bag and let it dry out once you get home. Give your clubs a quick wipe with a towel and leave them out of your bag until everything is dry.

Keep a Head Cover on Your Most Expensive Clubs

It might seem unnecessary, but keep the head cover on your favorite clubs after every shot. This will protect the shaft from rubbing against the top of your bag, which also keeps the resale value higher.

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The 4 Best Ways to Clean Your Golf Clubs

If you need a go-to cleaning routine rather than a specialized routine for each type of club, try the following to clean your golf clubs.

1. The Bare Essential Clean

Simple and straightforward: use a tee, groove sharpener, or divot tool to clean your grooves.

Pros & Cons: You ensure your performance isn’t affected by dirty clubs. You save time. However, the clubs won’t look brand new or shiny.

2. The “You Were in a Rush”

Wet a small towel and wipe down each club head. Then use a dry towel to remove moisture before throwing them back in the bag.

Pros & Cons: This tactic mostly improves aesthetics and makes the head look fairly clean, but the grooves will still have mud in them so your performance doesn’t improve.

3. The Dad Clean

Hold the club in one hand with the club head on the ground. Use a power washer with the other to spray the club clean. Dry with a towel after.

Pros & Cons: Your clubs will get incredibly clean, and it’s even a little fun to do. It will make your golf clubs shine like never before. However, it’s arguably a bit dangerous if you’re not used to pressure washing. Plus, it might not be great for your club heads to get hit by pressurized water often, so you should only use this method a few times a year.

4. The Old Reliable

Submerge your clubs in a bucket with warm water. Use a wet rag to wipe down the club head, dunk it in the water again, and use a brush to get into the grooves. Rinse once more before drying with a clean towel. 

Pros & Cons: This option takes the longest, but provides consistently clean results. It’s also common within the golfing world – everyone agrees it’s the best method.

How to Clean Golf Clubs Rust

There are a couple of methods to remove rust. You can start by adding vinegar onto your golf club with a cloth, gently rubbing it in to remove lighter rust. For more stubborn rust, you can soak club heads in a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar for an hour. Be sure to wipe them down with a wet towel to remove the mixture, then dry them with a clean towel.

You can also use steel wool to gently scrub away spots of rust. Just be sure to be light-handed as you don’t want to scratch your clubs. You may also consider using rust removers. These usually include harsh chemicals that can damage metal if you don’t follow the instructions. Be sure to thoroughly read the manual first.

How to Prevent Rusting of Golf Clubs

Playing golf

There are several things you can do to prevent rust from forming in the first place. First, do a quick check of your clubs each time you finish playing. If there’s any moisture – including mud – clean it off right away. You can even bring a towel to the golf course with you and wipe your club off after using it on a damp or rainy day.

Even if you aren’t frequenting the green, take your golf clubs out every so often and check them out. Make sure they’re not dirty or damp. Make sure the bag itself is dry. If the bag or clubs are dirty, wipe them down, and dry them before putting them away again.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is Using A Wire Brush Bad for Cleaning Golf Clubs?

Wire brushes are perfectly safe to use on your gold clubs, just be sure to use them as directed. They’re typically best for cleaning out the grooves specifically and not cleaning the top of your woods. 

2. Can You Use Steel Wool to Clean Golf Clubs?

Yes, you can use steel wool to clean certain golf clubs. Just be sure to wet it and be gentle when scrubbing. Avoid cleaning woods. Scrubbing too hard or excessively can lead to scratching.

3. Can You Buff Out Scratches on Golf Clubs?

Scratching is inevitable, since dirt and debris get between your ball and the club often, which leads to scratches. However, you can remove them by creating a paste with a non-abrasive cleaner. Use a damp cloth to apply the cleaner and gently rub buff the scratch off, following the grain. 

4. Can You Use Magic Eraser to Clean Golf Clubs?

Yes, you can use a magic eraser to remove scuff marks quickly and easily. Just wet the magic eraser as you normally would and buff out the scuff.

5. Can You Use WD40 to Clean Golf Clubs?

WD40 works great for removing rust, but not for cleaning. You’ll need to clean your clubs first before applying it. You should also avoid using it on clubs with special finishes. If you do apply it to a rust spot, spray it on and then wipe it down quickly. Don’t use a scrubbing motion as WD40 chemically scrubs on its own.

How to Polish Golf Clubs On Your Own?

If you want to go the extra mile, you can polish your clubs after cleaning them. You’ll need a good-quality car, metal, or chrome polish, and a polishing cloth. 

  1. Start with clean, dry clubs. 
  2. Apply polish (polishing solution or spray) to your club using the polishing cloth.
  3. Let it rest for about a minute.
  4. Wipe off the polish with a clean cloth.

How to Store Your Clubs

Storing your clubs properly is vital to keeping them in good condition. It’s best to store them in a humidity-free, climate-controlled place. Remember, moisture causes rust, so don’t put them somewhere that has any potential for dampness, like a basement. Keep your clubs in your golf bag and put a rain cover over the bag during extended storage. 

It’s also worth noting that the trunk of your car and the garage are common storage spots for many golfers, but not ideal places to store your golf equipment. These places welcome humidity and moisture.

They can expose your clubs to extreme heat and cold, which can weaken the glue on your club heads and grips. This might make your grip harden or dry out, affecting your game.

Keep Your Golf Clubs Clean

Golfer with clean golf clubs

Now you know how to clean your golf clubs, so you have no reason not to keep them shiny! Or, at the very least, not totally caked with mud.

Be sure to protect them by keeping your golf bag dry so that you can use them for years to come. Golf equipment is an investment so treat it as such.

Having clean, well-cared-for golf equipment is the first step to having a great time on the golf course. If you really want to up your game, you need to focus on your skills.

Check out Milo Lines Golf if you want to learn to swing like an athlete. With over 200 training videos, monthly webinars, and a supportive online community, you’ll wonder why you didn’t sign up sooner.


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