How To Clean Golf Irons – Preserve Your Clubs & Optimise Performance

The cleaning of golf irons is often overlooked, but it’s a process that is essential for preserving 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.

Cleaning golf irons doesn’t have to be a hassle – in fact, it can be done very quickly and easily. In this guide, we will show you a simple and effective way of cleaning your irons.

Why It’s Important To Keep Your Irons Clean?

Without question, playing with mucky irons has a negative impact on performance. Dirt or debris on the clubhead will affect both its balance and its fluidity of flight, making your life unnecessarily difficult when it comes to striking the ball.

The biggest problems occur when it’s the grooves that aren’t cleaned. If dirt is left to build up in the grooves of your irons or wedges, it becomes almost impossible to spin the ball. Since there’s nothing for the ball to really grab onto, you almost always end up with a scuffed ball flight.

Performance aside, keeping your irons clean is vitally important for their longevity. If they are always dirty, they are more likely to develop rust and other issues which could lead to club breakage.

How To Clean Golf Irons (In 4 Easy Steps)

To clean your irons using this method, all you will need are the following basic household items:

  • A bucket
  • Warm water
  • Dish soap or regular soap
  • A cloth
  • A soft-bristle brush or an old toothbrush
  • A towel
  • Chrome or steel polish (optional)

Note that this method is targeted only at cleaning your iron heads. The shafts and grips are cleaned separately.

Step One

Fill a bucket with warm water, adding a couple of teaspoons of liquid soap. Make sure the water’s not too hot, as it could damage the metal (and burn your hands!).

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, which would eventually lead to irreparable damage to your irons.

Step Two

Soak your iron heads in the soapy water for 5-10 minutes. If they are particularly dirty, you might want to soak them for a bit longer.

Step Three

Remove your clubheads from the water, one by one, ready for cleaning. Grab a soft bristle brush and scrub all over the head. Forged irons are generally pretty resilient to soft bristles, so you needn’t worry about scratching the metal.

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. It’s important that you get all of the mud out of the grooves in order to reclaim maximum control of your irons.

Step Four

Once all the dirt has been brushed off, rinse off the clubhead with water. Try to avoid getting water onto the hosel and shaft.

With all the soap rinsed off, dry the iron head with a towel. Make sure you leave it bone dry, as any lingering dampness could lead to rust.

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.

How To Clean Iron Shafts?

It’s not just clubheads that need cleaning – shafts can get dirty as well. To clean iron shafts, you can simply use a damp cloth to clean the dirt and grime from top to bottom. Make sure you dry them thoroughly with a towel afterward.

Golf grips, however, usually require soap and water to clean them properly. Here’s a guide on how to clean golf grips.

Keeping Your Irons Clean On The Course

Besides giving them a proper scrub when you’re back at home, it’s recommended that you keep your irons clean as and when you use them out on the course. This is especially necessary either when you’re playing in the rain, playing out of a muddy lie, or when you’ve taken a divot.

For less than $10, 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 clubheads. They also have a little cleaning pin for getting the dirt out of your grooves.

Of course, you could always use golf tees instead. They’re a good size for getting into your grooves and scratching away the dirt.

How Often Should You Clean Your Irons?

Some golfers clean their clubs after every round. Others do it twice, maybe three times a year. Many golfers literally never wash their clubs.

It really depends on how often you play, how mucky your course is, and how serious you take your golf. As we’ve already discussed, having dirty irons can have a big impact on your performance, so ideally, they should always be spotless.

But for most people, cleaning clubs after every round just isn’t realistic. It takes time and effort. So really, you should just use your best judgment. If your clubs become so muddy, to the point where you look at them in horror and dread taking them out, maybe it’s time to get the soap out.

If you get in the habit of giving them a quick scrub while you’re out on the course, then it will be far less necessary to regularly clean them with soap. Otherwise, a soapy wash once every month or so is advised for the average golfer.

Final Thoughts

Keeping your irons 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.

The cleaner you keep your irons, the longer they will last, and the better you will be able to play with them.

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Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.

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