Cleaning your golf clubs regularly will ensure that your investment in the set of clubs will last a long time and it doesn’t affect their resale value too much.
Using clean golf clubs will also help you lower your score as bits of dirt could send your ball far from your intended target.
Knowing how to clean golf clubs can be done with a cleaning kit or just soapy water and a soft-bristled brush. Finish by wiping off each club with a damp microfiber cloth. Beware soaking your clubs for too long (especially your woods and putters), as this could damage them.
Of course, there are many different methods to clean the various clubs. This article will show you how to clean all golf club types: irons, fairway woods, metal woods, wedges, and putters.
Do You Need to Know How to Clean Golf Clubs?
Golfers often neglect cleaning golf clubs, especially irons that require regular cleaning to produce the best contact and allow the irons to last.
The cleaning process is essential for protecting your clubs and optimizing their performance. We spend a lot of money on our irons, so it makes sense to take proper care of them.
Plus, there are slightly different approaches to cleaning your woods and putters.
After all, your equipment plays a major role in your contact with the ball. You want to use every opportunity to strike the ball better and generate that explosive shot to make you the envy of your group.
Why Should You Clean Your Clubs?
Apart from the obvious reason that they will look better, there are a few other important reasons. Regularly cleaning your clubs will extend their life.
Importantly, it will also improve your game. This is particularly true of the grooves and more relevant to the higher lofted clubs. While dirt or debris can hurt your shot, dirty grooves will not help your game.
Grooves are designed to generate spin. This is essential for control, accuracy, and distance. Dirty grooves will dramatically affect their effectiveness and will impact your game.
Without question, playing with mucky irons hurts performance. Dirt or debris on the club head will affect both its balance and its fluidity of flight, making your life unnecessarily difficult when it comes to striking the ball.
How To Clean Your Irons
So, what do you clean golf clubs with? This list of materials helps you know what to clean golf clubs and the best way to clean clubs.
- Warm water
- Dishwashing liquid or soap
- A soft bristle brush or an old toothbrush
- A water source to rinse your clubs
- A towel
- A cloth
- Chrome or steel polish
Investing in a golf club cleaning kit is a good option if you want to know how to clean irons properly. But you can also try this DIY approach.
Step 1 – Get Sudsy
To create the foam, also known as suds, required for the cleaning process, you have to squirt some of the dishwashing liquid or liquid soap into the bottom of the bucket. Squirt generously as you want to create ample foam.
The next step is to add warm water to the soap in the bucket but ensure that the water is not too hot. The reason for not using hot water is to protect the ferrule used to connect the club heads to the shaft. Hot water will loosen the glue that keeps the ferrules in place, leading to disastrous and very embarrassing situations.
It will be beneficial to create some force from the water spraying into the bucket to create a lot of foam.
Note that this method is targeted only at cleaning your club heads. The shafts and grips are cleaned separately.
Fill a bucket with warm water, adding a couple of teaspoons of liquid soap. Ensure the water’s not too hot, as it could damage the metal (and burn your hands!).
WARNING: You’ll want to fill the bucket enough so that it will only cover your heads – don’t submerge the hosels, as the warm water might loosen the ferrules, eventually leading to irreparable damage to your iron clubs.
Step 2 – Clean The Club Head
Now that the water is ready and at the right temperature, place your club heads into the water, ensuring that the club heads are covered under the water. Keep the ferrules above the water and suds for long-term protection.
Soak the club heads in the warm water for a couple of minutes to loosen the dirt and grime that may have built up in the grooves of the clubface during play. The suds will start working on oils and golf course chemicals that have possibly built upon the surface of the club heads.
Soak your iron heads in soapy water for 5-10 minutes. You might want to soak them for a bit longer if they are particularly dirty.
WARNING: Do not place your putter and woods into the water to soak.
Step 3 – Clean The Grooves
After allowing your irons to soak, clean the club head with a soft bristle brush (or toothbrush), especially getting the muck out of the grooves on the clubface.
Remember that the sole of your club head also makes contact with the soil or turf and requires cleaning. This may not have a major impact on the connection between the ball and the clubface but is important for long-term maintenance and to prevent rust buildup.
For the same reason, it would be beneficial to clean out the back of the club head, especially when there are areas where the muck can build up.
Some dirt could harden over time, especially if you missed a cleaning session. Should you still find some muck after cleaning the club head with the soft bristle brush, soak them for a while longer to loosen all the dirt and debris, then clean again with the brush.
Avoid using a wire bristled brush as this will scratch the surface of the club leading to additional areas that can influence the impact between the ball and club face.
Another handy trick that can be done during a game is using a golf tee to clean the grooves. Simply run it up and down each groove and wipe away any residual dirt. This is fast and extremely effective.
Make sure you get into each of the grooves. An old toothbrush might be better for this, as it should be able to reach right down into the nooks. You must get all the mud out of the grooves to reclaim maximum control of your iron clubs.
Step 4 – Rinse And Inspect
Rinse the club head after cleaning the grooves with the soft bristle brush and inspect to see if more muck remained behind. Ensure that water has not splashed onto the shaft.
Step 5 – Dry The Club
Dry the club head with the towel and include the shaft in the drying process just in case some water splashes onto the shaft during the rinse process. After cleaning and rinsing, the drying process will remove any muck that may still be loose on the clubface.
Make sure that the club head and the shaft are dried properly and that no dampness is on the club before replacing it with your bag.
As an optional fifth step, you could apply a touch of steel or chrome plating to your clubs. Instructions may vary from product to product, but it’s usually a simple case of gently applying it, leaving it for a minute, and then removing the polish.
While the polish isn’t necessary for maintaining your irons’ performance, it will help to give them that sparkling, good-as-new shine. Now you know how to clean old golf clubs.
How To Clean Woods and Putters
Cleaning fairway woods and putters is slightly different from how you clean irons, as the heads should never be soaked underwater to protect the finish and shine of the club head, and the putter is also made of a slightly different material.
Start the cleaning process by dipping the club head in the water for a fraction of a second before removing it and wiping it down with a damp cloth, and then dry it properly with a dry cloth.
Give the grooves on the clubface a quick scrub with the brush to remove any muck. Once you have done so, inspect the clubface for any remaining debris in the grooves.
Dry the club head and shaft immediately after cleaning and replace them in your bag.
How to Clean Your Metal Golf Driver
Cleaning metal woods requires the same care as you would apply to your driver and other woods.
To protect the club from taking in water if there is a slight crack or damage and the glue in the ferrule, you should not leave the metal woods soaking in the water.
It involves the same process when looking at what to use to clean golf clubs. Dip the metal wood into the water briefly, then use a damp cloth to wipe the crown, face, and sole clean. Any dirt in the grooves can be removed with a soft bristle brush.
How To Clean the Shafts
Before cleaning, inspect the shafts for dents, nicks, or splits in the shafts.
Do not neglect your shaft during cleaning to avoid issues that may arise later. Use a damp cloth to wipe down the shafts and then dry it properly with a dry cloth to prevent rust from forming.
If you notice rust on the shaft, it can be removed quite easily by applying some vinegar onto the shaft and removing any rust residue by rubbing the cloth slowly across the affected area. Ensure that you dry the shaft properly after cleaning away the rust.
Keeping Your Golf Clubs Clean on the Course
Besides giving them a proper scrub when you’re back at home, it’s recommended that you keep your golf clubs clean as and when you use them out on the course. This is especially necessary when you’re playing in the rain, playing out of a muddy lie, or taking a divot.
One of the best ways to clean them is by keeping a golf club cleaning kit in your bag and wiping a club immediately if it gets dirty.
Or, for a cheaper option, you could pick up a golf brush club groove cleaner, giving you a quick and efficient method of cleaning your irons right after you play a shot.
They attach to your bag on a retractable zip line and contain specialized brushes to easily scrub the dirt off your golf club heads. They also have a little cleaning pin for getting the dirt out of your grooves.
Alternatively, the cheaper option is to have a small towel attached to your bag and use this to get the majority of mud or dirt off your clubs.
Of course, you could always use golf tees instead. They’re a perfect size for getting into your grooves and scratching away the dirt.
Read more: How To Clean Your Golf Grips
Additional Tips to Take Care of Your Golf Equipment
Follow a maintenance program to ensure that your clubs are kept in tip-top shape.
How to Store Your Golf Clubs
Store your golf clubs indoors and refrain from leaving them in the trunk of your car – especially in extremely hot locations to prevent weakening the glues on the grip. Prevent rust from forming by drying your clubs before storing them.
Wipe Your Clubs With A Golf Towel
Use a towel to wipe down the club faces and grips purpose-made for golf with a reinforced eyehole and fancy-wicking fibers.
Remember, your towel needs a regular wash to eliminate the dirt you wipe off your club head.
To get the longest use of your driver, woods, and hybrids, use headcovers to protect them from damage.
Irons may benefit slightly less from having headcovers as they are less prone to damage.
Putters will benefit more as the putter’s face should be protected to prevent any damage.
Clean The Club Heads Between Plays
Striking the ball on and off the fairway leads to some dirt gathering in the grooves. Wiping the clubface with a wet towel after every shot is advisable. This prevents the build-up of dirt in the grooves and is the best way to clean your head.
If there are obvious signs of dirt in the grooves, you can use a cleaning brush to remove the dirt while waiting to hit your next shot.
Inspect Your Clubs
To play your best golf, you need your equipment in top nick. Inspect your grips, shaft, and club head regularly for any cracks, dents on the clubface, and damage to the shaft.
This will allow you to address any damage early and repair it before it becomes a nightmare needing replacement.
Develop A Cleaning Routine
Follow a regular cleaning program to keep your clubs in perfect shape. When thinking about how often to clean golf clubs, consider a good cleaning at least every few rounds to maximize each club’s performance. It can also be good practice to scrub your clubs before storing them away at the end of the season.
A recent survey of 500 golfers found that golfers clean their clubs at different stages.
- 50% clean their clubs during or after every round.
- 22% clean their clubs after every few rounds.
- 15% clean their clubs approximately every 3-6 months.
- 13% clean their clubs once a year or never.
Final Thoughts on How to Clean Golf Clubs
It is essential that you know how to clean golf clubs for durability and optimal performance.
This obviously varies for different clubs so do not apply a one-size-fits-all approach as it will not serve you well in the long run.
As you use your irons most on the course, remember keeping them clean comes in two parts: giving them a quick once over as and when you use them on the course and giving them a proper scrub with warm water and soap back at home. You don’t need to do it every time you play – only when they’ve become noticeably caked in mud.
For all of your clubs, the cleaner you keep them, the longer they will last, and the better you will be able to play with them. If you want to sell them in the future, they will have a better resale value.
The benefits of cleaning your clubs are self-evident and it is important to protect your investment and ensure that you perform at your best potential.
Can You Clean Golf Clubs with Windex?
You can use Windex to clean your grips and club head. However, it is not advisable to soak your club heads in Windex. After using Windex to remove most of the dirt from your grips, you should wipe the grips down with soap and water.
What Should I Wash My Golf Clubs With?
Wash your golf clubs with water and dishwashing liquid. This should provide ample soap to clean your club head, shafts, and grips. For most of your clubs, dip them in lukewarm water and scrub away until they are clean.
Can You Use Vinegar to Clean Golf Clubs?
Vinegar can be especially useful for removing the first signs of rust on your clubface and shaft. There is no need to soak your clubs in vinegar, though. Just add 2 tablespoons to the cleaning solution and wipe your shafts. It is one of the best golf club cleaning solutions.
Do Clean Golf Clubs Make a Difference?
Clean clubs may not change your swing faults, but they will ensure better contact between the club head and the ball. A clean club head will promote consistency in the strike and distance. It will also generate spin enabling the ball to stop quickly on the green.
What Household Items Can I Use to Clean Golf Clubs?
You will likely have soap or dishwasher liquid to hand in your house when looking at how to clean golf clubs at home. You can combine either item with lukewarm water to clean your golf clubs in. Once they have been dipped in the water, give them a good scrub to remove the dirt.
Can Vinegar Damage Golf Clubs?
Luckily for you, vinegar does not damage golf clubs. You don’t need to soak the clubs in vinegar, though as it is useful even just after briefly dipping your clubs in the water. The clubs can then be scrubbed clean and look not far off brand new. This is one of the best ways to get clean golf clubs.
Can I Use Baking Soda to Clean Golf Clubs?
Baking soda is also a solid alternative when cleaning your golf clubs. It can be used to good effect. Use it in the same way you would soap or dishwashing liquid and get scrubbing. Baking soda is also really useful for getting rid of rust on golf clubs too.