How to Clean your Golf Clubs & Grips

Golf clubs and balls neatly laid on lawn


Let’s face it, golf clubs can be expensive. So, it’s for your own benefit, as well as your pockets, to keep them in tip-top condition. Cleaning your clubs may not be the most joyous of chores, but the satisfaction of seeing your sparkling set in the bag is a beautiful sight.

Treating your clubs with care and proper maintenance, by following these simple techniques, will ensure you get the most from your golf clubs for longer. So, let’s start the scrubbing – here’s our complete guide to achieving immaculate clubs ready to hit the course!

What you’ll need to clean your golf clubs 

Cleaning your clubs is very simple. Many of you are likely to already have the materials and equipment needed laying around at home. This task doesn’t have to be one you put off. Find a nice spot in the garden with a bit of sun, or get comfortable in the kitchen. Play a bit of music or listen to a podcast as you crack the elbow grease. 

Start to gather these cleaning essentials:

  • bucket 
  • warm water 
  • dishwashing liquid 
  • an old toothbrush or soft-bristled brush
  • a towel
  • a cloth
  • chrome or steel polish 

When it comes to cleaning, your brush is your most important item. An old toothbrush or your choice of a soft-bristled brush will work wonders, or some like to use a golf-specific brush, but this isn’t necessary. Remember, nylon bristles are designed only to be used for woods while brushes with wire bristles are designed to be used for irons.

Before you start, be sure to know which type of golf club you own. Do you have metal (iron), metal woods (drivers and fairway woods), or wooden clubs? As each club’s material varies, so do the cleaning methods. 

How to clean your irons 

A good clean not only helps your club look its best, but it also makes them perform at their full potential. All sorts of grass and dirt can build up in the grooves of your clubs, affecting both your spin and control. This can negatively affect how your clubs perform, especially when it comes to your irons and wedges. 

Not to fret, here’s our method for perfectly cleaned iron clubs every time:  

1. Run some warm water into your bucket: just enough so your club heads are covered. Make sure the water is warm and not hot, as this could loosen the club’s head from the shaft through the ferrules.

2. Add a dash of your dishwashing liquid or your choice of mild soap to your bucket of water. 

3. Time to submerge your dirty club’s heads into the bucket of soapy water. Leave them for 5-10 minutes to allow the dirt to loosen. If you’ve waited a while since your last clean, or you had a particularly muddy game, leave them in for 15-20 minutes for a deeper clean. 

4. Once time is up, take each club head out of the bucket individually for a good scrub. One by one, use your brush of choice to wash the remaining dirt from each head. If you play using forged iron clubs, we recommend you favour a soft nylon brush – making sure you don’t scratch them.

5. Don’t miss a bit! Make sure you’re scrubbing all areas of your club heads – back, front and bottom, especially not forgetting the individual grooves. We know dirty grooves can affect the spin potential of the ball causing a loss of control, so make sure you clean these properly. 

6. Next, run the club heads under some clean water: be careful that the shaft and grips of your clubs remain dry. 

7. Towel dry your heads and make sure nothing is left damp, including your shaft, to avoid any potential rusting. 

8. Time to make them gleam! Apply a bit of steel or chrome polish and rub gently in circular motions, then leave it to work its magic for a minute. 

Make sure you remove all the polish – no grease should be left on the club head. 

Tip: To ensure you keep consistent quality performance on the course, it’s a good idea to give your grooves a quick wipe after every shot. Keeping this clean will help you land more birdies.

Removing rust from your clubs 

With any golf club made from metal, they can be prone to the unwelcome visitor of rust. Fortunately, there are several effective ways of removing it, before any further damage to every golfer’s pride and joy. 

To have your clubs looking as good as new, start lightly rubbing away at the affected areas using some soapy warm water or steel wool to restore them to their former shining glory. If that’s not working for you, try soaking them in some vinegar or Coca-Cola – yes the drink. Its handy metal oxide dissolving properties are second to none.  

If you find that rust has burrowed its way into the grooves of your club, your toothbrush will be your best tool. Using the bristles, reach deep down into the hollows of the grooves and brush all the rust away. 

How to clean your drivers & woods 

When talking about woods, we are referring to drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids. Thankfully, since you’re hitting off a tee, your drivers shouldn’t collect much dirt but will benefit from a good clean. As for your woods, you will find the grooves are not as deep in comparison to your irons making them much easier to clean. 

As you probably know, metal woods golf clubs can’t be submerged in water, making the cleaning process for these kinds of clubs slightly different. But, you’ll have them sparkling in no time with our simple 3 step process:  

1. Pop some warm water with a dash of dishwashing liquid in a bowl or bucket. You’ll only need a bucket if you have a fair few to clean. 

2. Gently work the soapy mixture into your club using your soft-bristle brush or old toothbrush – making sure that it doesn’t get too wet. 

3. Time to dry it off with a towel. Make sure no damp is left on the club. 

Tip: Avoid placing your headcover on the club after your clean. The last thing you will want is moisture getting trapped within, causing an odour or sometimes mildew. 

What about wooden clubs?

Ok, we’ve covered the other types of golf clubs, but what about wooden clubs? Well, wooden clubs tend to be more fragile and considerably older than the alternative metal types. So, it is strongly avoided in the industry to dip these in water or use any type of brush. 

Follow these steps when cleaning your wooden golf clubs to ensure they come out good as new:

1. You’ll need a cloth and a bucket of warm water. Dip your cloth into the mixture slightly so it becomes damp. 

2. Ever so carefully, start wiping down the wooden clubhead to gently wash away the dirt. 

3. Once cleaned, dry your clubhead off with a towel.

How to clean your golf grips 

Over time, all sorts can get into your grips which can easily make them worn. Sweat, dead skin cells, and general muck can find their way onto your clubs. The build-up of debris can significantly reduce the amount of traction on offer, so it’s important to make sure your grips aren’t neglected in the cleaning process. It’s recommended you clean your grips often, luckily it takes no more than a few minutes!

One of the simplest ways of cleaning your grips is by using a damp cloth and wiping over the surface of the grip. Then rinse it with water, again making sure this isn’t hot as this could damage the grip. Once this is done, dry the surface with a towel. If you find water has made its way onto the shaft, you’ll need to dry that too. And voilà – you’ve removed the surface dirt and grime!

Should your grips require some serious TLC, follow these steps for a more thorough clean:

  1. Fill a bucket with warm water, adding a splash of dishwashing liquid.
  2. Use a wet cloth to collect some of your suds, and then rub them over your grip.
  3. After your scrub, it’s now time to give your grips a run under some clean, warm water to rinse. To avoid loosening the glue underneath, be careful to use warm water and not hot. 
  4. Lastly, dry each grip using your towel. Check the shafts to make sure they’re not left damp. 

Tip: Try washing your grips a few times before paying for them to be professionally regripped. Cleaning them often can do a good enough job helping you avoid any unnecessary expense! 


Hopefully, you’re now familiar with how to clean your golf clubs like a pro and found the process isn’t as strenuous as you might presume. So, no excuses now, if you’re struggling to recall the last time you cleaned your clubs it’s probably time to give your favourite toys the clean! 

If you’re fond of getting out on the green, you may want to consider taking out golf insurance to help protect your equipment. At The Insurance Emporium, we offer Golf Insurance that can be tailored to your budget and lifestyle, with cover for Golf Equipment up to £5,000 as a Standard Benefit*. You can also get up to 30% discount^ on your policy. So why not swing past The Insurance Emporium to find out more?

* Golf Equipment covers up to £5,000 available on Portrush lunar monthly policies.


^ The 30% discount is made up of 20% Introductory Discount plus 10% Club Member Discount (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.

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