How to Clean Golf Clubs Step-by-Step

clean golf clubs

When the pandemic kicked off early in 2020, I returned home for the first time in 3-years. My golf clubs had been in storage for 5-years and were riddled with cobwebs, and needed TLC. Since then, I have maintained a strict schedule and have kept my equipment spotless. In this post, I educate you on how to clean golf clubs.

It is not rocket science, and there is no excuse not to clean your golf clubs regularly. This prolongs the life of your golf clubs, optimizes spin generation, and increases the traction of your grip.

The beauty of cleaning golf clubs is that you can use everyday household items to execute the task.

What Do You Need to Clean Your Clubs?

  • A bucket or bathtub
  • Lukewarm water
  • Dish Soap
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Clean towel

How to Clean Golf Clubs – Step By Step Instructions

Step 1 – Add 6-inches Of Lukewarm Water To A Bucket

The first step for cleaning your golf clubs is to source a bucket and add 6-inches of lukewarm water. Do not operate with hot water, as it weakens the epoxy in your club head. 

If you have a bathtub in your house, you can add warm water in preparation for the cleaning process. A tub offers more space and allows you to soak all your golf clubs simultaneously.

Former Hastings College golfer Daniel Mastrobuono uses a bucket that allows him to fit all his irons in, to speed up the procedure. Plus, a bucket gives you the freedom of cleaning your golf clubs in any location around the house or outside.

Step 2 – Add A Teaspoon Of Dishwashing Liquid

Measure a single teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and add that into the warm water. Stir a few times until you see soapy water, then let the concoction rest. Double-check the temperature to ensure that you are dealing with warm water.

Step 3 – Keep Your Clubheads Submerged For 15 Minutes

Once you are satisfied with the mix of dish soap, you are ready to clean your golf clubs. Grab your metal woods and irons and take them over to the bucket. Let them rest in the water for 15-minutes to soften all the mud and neutralize golf course chemicals in the grooves and cavities. 

Use the time to clean out your golf bag. Throw away papers, old scorecards, and beverage bottles. I also use the time to dust off the bag and wipe it with a wet towel to make it look semi-presentable.

Furthermore, I suggest tipping your bag over to get any dirt that may have found its way into the club compartments. In addition, I pull out the vacuum cleaner and suck out any sand or dust sitting in the golf bag’s pockets.

clean golf clubs in bucket

Step 4 – Gently Scrub Your Golf Clubs Face

The next step requires elbow grease and a soft-bristled brush. If you do not have a soft-bristled brush, you can employ the services of an old toothbrush or scour sponge. The only challenge is that it doesn’t get into the grooves as well as a brush, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Mastrobuono shows how to scrub your clubface gently in circular motions until the soap turns green or brown. At this point, dip the club and the brush into the bucket and rinse them. Keep scrubbing until the soap remains white and you see clean golf irons and metal woods.

When you use your clubs from unfavorable lies, the face may endure cuts between the grooves. Your sand wedge is likely full of them. If you do not treat these cuts, they harbor dirt and start to rust. 

Think of it as a body wound. The longer it goes uncleaned, the worse the infection will be. Should you encounter these cuts on the face, use a soft bristle brush and scrub in the direction of the lines to remove mud and reduce the risk of rust.

Once the club face is clean, scrub the sole and cavity to brush off the remaining dirt. If you have blades, there is not much to remove. However, cavity backs pick up dirt and debris with ease. Therefore, you need to cautiously clean game improvement irons and ensure the perimeter of the golf club is cleared.

Step 5 – Dry Your Golf Clubs

Use a dry towel to remove any moisture from the club heads. It is easier to dry blades because there are fewer areas for water to hide. Cavity back golf irons require added caution, forcing you to wipe every nook and cranny. Water can hide in the cavity and onset rust build-up.

Once you have wiped your clean golf club with a dry cloth, blow onto the face and cavity to corner all remaining moisture. You will notice it build up in one area, after which you can remove it with the towel. Failure to remove water from clean golf clubs will cause them to rust. 

Run your finger across the grooves on the face and around the cavity, ensuring that all moisture is neutralized. 

clean golf club grips

Step 6 – Clean Your Golf Club Grips

Many golfers cease cleaning after step 5, which is half of the job. Yes, the cleanliness of your clubheads is essential to optimal spin. However, your grips cannot be forgotten. They are the most-touched surfaces on a golf club and retain sweat, dust, mud, and water. 

Neglecting our grips reduces traction and their longevity. That is why you should clean them frequently. Plus, for all the germaphobes, think about the state of a grip that hasn’t been cleaned in a year. 

A simple approach to cleaning your grips is to follow the lead of Mastrobuono and wipe the grip with a damp cloth. He spends 7 to 10-seconds wiping it, to remove sweat, oil, and dirt off the rubber.  

I follow the practice of Golf Monthly editor Mike Harris, who scrubs the grips with soapy, warm water and a sponge. I suggest using a scour to rub the grub rather than brush it. Once your grips are done spewing brown water, grab a dry cloth and remove the remaining h20.

Furthermore, Harris provides a trick for restoring old grips to their former glory. He recommends grabbing a piece of sandpaper and gently sanding the high contact points of the grip. This procedure removes dirt and oil build-up that may have blocked the traction pads.

Once your grips are dry, you should enjoy a tacky feel, which boosts your traction and control over the golf club. In addition, it extends the longevity of your grips and reduces the presence of germs. 

Don’t take shortcuts and skip this step. There is no point operating with clean club heads if you cannot hold onto your clubs.

RELATED: How To Hold a Golf Club – Finding the Perfect Grip

Step 7 – Polish Your Clean Golf Equipment

The final step in the golf club cleaning process is to polish your clubs. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it blinds your opponents and causes them to drop their guard, giving you the upper hand. But, more importantly, the polish shields your club heads and shafts from rust build-up.

When possible, apply metal polish to your shaft and clubhead. However, if metal polish is not in the vicinity, you can employ car tire polish. Grab a dry towel and apply a light dose of polish. Then gently rub the clubface and the cavity before moving onto the shaft.

After polishing your clean clubs, leave them to dry for a minute or two before using a fresh towel to remove the remaining polish. The result is sparkling clubs ready to perform optimally for you on the golf course.

Do I Clean My Woods Differently To Golf Irons?

Cleaning irons requires more due diligence than metal woods, as you need to extract dirt build-up from the grooves and cavity. Woods typically feature a thin titanium face and are easy to remove dirt from.

The only area that differs is the adjustable hosel and CG weight found on many modern metal woods. These components require proper cleaning, as they are susceptible to harboring mud and dirt. If excess dirt gets into the weight or hosel, it could get stuck in the current setting.

You can use a tee to remove dirt from hard-to-reach places, should a brush not prove effective. Just like Mike Harris in the video.

How To Clean Golf Clubs Rust?

I have seen two methods used to remove rust build-up on golf clubs. The first involves throwing a bottle of Coca-Cola into a bucket, and the second revolves around vinegar.

Let’s look at the coke option. S.A.S Golf attempted to remove the rust from two Cleveland wedges. He empties a can of Coke into a bucket and adds the wedges. He submerges the wedges for several hours and takes them out to inspect the process.

Then, he scrubbed away some of the loose rust and placed the wedge heads back into the cola. The next morning he removed the wedges and gave the face and cavity a light scrub. After that, he dipped the clubs into the soapy water and cleaned off the sticky cola substance.

Once the stickiness is no more, you dry the club and prepare to add it to your golf bag. Although there is clear evidence that rust was removed, the cola did not remove every trace. Alternatively, you could use vinegar instead of cola and follow the same procedure.

How To Increase My Grip Traction?

The best way to maximize your grip traction is to clean your grips frequently. This helps remove oil, dirt, and sweat from the rubber and unblocks the traction pads. 

If you neglect your grips for years, you may find the advice from Harris helpful. He recommends gently sanding your grip to break down the dirt build-up, which blocks the traction pads.

How To Clean Golf Clubs On The Course?

When you are out on the golf course, you do not have the time to precisely clean your golf clubs. Your best bet is to wipe your club faces after every shot. Using a wet towel. If it is a warm day, you will need to frequently wipe your grips to avoid the unwanted accumulation of sweat.

After each shot, rub your grip with a damp cloth for a few seconds, and then run over it with a dry towel before placing it back into your bag.

Cleaning Clubs FAQs

How do I make my golf clubs shiny?

You can make your clubs shine by adding metal polish to the shaft and head once they are clean. If you do not have metal wax, you can use car tire polish. 

Rub the polish over the clubface, cavity, and shaft, and leave it drying for a minute. Once it is dry, take a different cloth and wipe the polish off the club.

How do I make my golf clubs look new?

The best way to make your equipment look new is to frequently clean and polish them. That helps you add a sparkle to your clubs, making them appear new. For the most part, all your clubs need is a clean to look like they are just out of the box.

However, if your equipment is rusted, you will need to employ Coca-Cola or vinegar to eat through the pile-up and restore the club to its original cosmetics.

Can You Use Vinegar To Clean Golf Clubs? 

You can use vinegar to clean clubs, but I prefer to employ it as a last resort for rust removal. Pour the vinegar into a bucket and let your clubheads soak for 15-minutes. 

Next, grab a brush and gently scrub the clubface. When you see green and brown water dropping off the face, it shows that the vinegar is working. At this point, you need to rinse the clubhead and brush and continue cleaning until clear vinegar runs off the club.

Once the club is clean, extract it from the water and dry it thoroughly.

Can You Use WD40 To Clean Golf Clubs?

Yes, you can use WD40 to clean your equipment. The adhesive eats through dirt build and lifts it, making it easy to remove.

Will Coke Remove Rust From Golf Clubs?

The video by S.A.S Golf shows that Coke does remove some rust from a club. However, it is not 100% foolproof.

Can You Use Windex On Golf Clubs?

I know of players who use Windex to clean their clubs and swear by the quick, hassle-free process. Instead of soaking the clubs in Windex, spray it onto each clubface, leave it for a few seconds and begin scrubbing to remove the dirt.


As you can see, there is no science to cleaning your equipment, only logic, a bucket, soapy water, and a brush. Plus, polish and a couple of extra towels if you clean your grips and polish the clubs.

Make sure you consistently wipe your grips to reduce the build-up of sweat, dirt, and germs. In addition, keep your grooves free of dirt, to ensure the optimal spin rate and consistency.

Now that you know how to clean golf clubs, you should repeat the procedure frequently. This extends the lifespan of your equipment and makes you look presentable. In addition, it enhances your club’s performance.

What procedures do you undertake to clean your clubs? I would love to hear about it.

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Matt Callcott-Stevens
Matt is a seasoned golf writer and sports fanatic. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf since he was four years old. Having experienced every high and low golf has to offer, his writing helps the average golfer avoid the mistakes he has made in 28-years on the course.