Do a Blacklight Test: To perform this test, just set your pool balls under a blacklight and observe the color. If they are genuine vintage ivory balls, they will glow a blue or bluish-white tint, whereas plastic balls will fluoresce a blue or bluish-white color. Also, check to make sure there are no cracks or stains on the ball. These things are not unusual for modern balls, but you want to be sure if you're buying them online.
If you don't have access to a blacklight, that's ok. Most people don't. But remember, even if a ball looks old, it doesn't mean it's actually been in use for decades. Some manufacturers will dye or paint their balls different colors to extend their life. And even if a manufacturer says its balls are ivory, that doesn't mean they were really used back in the day. They might have been painted that way for marketing purposes.
So if you're buying pool balls on eBay or other online marketplaces, make sure to do some research about each ball you're considering. Check out old photos of pool tables to get an idea about how much dust these balls may have collected over time. Then take them to a pool hall or club and have one of the owners/operators test them for you with our help if necessary. If they pass, then you've found some great vintage balls that will serve you for many years to come.
Pool balls become yellow when they come into contact with UV radiation, heat, or air. These components interact to degrade the materials used to make pool balls, resulting in an off-white look. The ball's coating will say on its label what percentage of color is remaining.
As for why they turn white in the first place, that's because color fades when it is exposed to light and other elements. As balls are used and returned to storage, more of their color will fade away until only white remains.
That being said, there are two ways to keep pool balls from turning yellow: store them in the dark or replace them before they fade too much.
If you ask me, though, the real reason people buy new pool balls instead of using old ones is because they like the way they feel when they hit the cue ball. It's all about preference here; some people like the way new balls feel while others prefer used balls that have been worked over time and time again.
The choice is yours but if you want to keep the colors long into the future, I'd recommend buying new balls from time to time rather than using older ones.
Using a polishing or restoring solvent designed exclusively for pool balls is the best approach to polish dull pool balls. You may clean billiard balls by yourself or with a billiard ball cleaning machine. Don't worry if you're not sure how to utilize these substances. These products are available at any home improvement store. They are easy to use and won't cause any harm even if applied incorrectly.
If you choose to clean your own ball, first try to remove the label. Some labels can contain lead based paint. If there is no label then you can begin cleaning your ball with mild soap and water. Use a soft brush on large areas of soiled ball skin. Do not use steel wool as it will leave holes in the surface.
After washing your ball, dry it thoroughly using a clean towel. Avoid using paper towels as they may have chemicals on them that will damage the skin of your ball.
Now it's time to protect your new ball from getting too much sun and other elements that could cause skin cancer later in life. You should always wear protective clothing when playing pool. Wear loose fitting clothes made of cotton or another material that is easy to wash. Don't wear tight clothes that can cause pain when you strike the ball.
Also, wear shoes that have non-skid pads on the soles. This will help you keep playing even if you get dirtied up.
You can restore the shine on your pool balls by hand using one of these polishes. It is quite simple, but it takes time. To the ball, apply the restorer or polish. Wipe the product into the ball using a cotton or microfiber towel. Let the ball sit for at least 5 minutes before using it in play.
The best time to restore a ball is right after washing it. If you wait too long and the ball gets dry, the texture of the leather will change and the color may fade.
There are two types of restorers: alcohol-based and water-based. Alcohol-based products contain alcohol as their main ingredient. These products clean well and remove stains easily; however, they also tend to dull the surface of the ball quickly. Water-based products contain chemicals that are similar to those found in car care products. They clean better than alcohol-based products but don't remove all stains completely.
It is important to test any product you plan to use on your pool balls on a small section of skin before applying to the whole ball. This way you can see how it affects your leather game gear.
Restoring your own balls is an easy job that doesn't cost much. Just wash the ball with soap and water, rinse it off under warm water, and let it air-dry.
A cue ball made of ivory will not resemble a cue ball made of acrylic. It might be discolored and have black lines or fractures running through it. An ivory cue ball will not melt or smell like burned hair if pierced with a hot pin.
An acrylic pool ball will not stain or darken when stepped on. It may look scuffed up though.
Both types of balls should feel soft to the touch and not be hard like a golf ball. Acrylic balls are more durable than ivory ones, but both are used in amateur play so they need to be comfortable enough. Acrylic balls tend to be cheaper than their ivory counterparts.
If you plan to use your pool balls regularly, it's best to get some that are brand new. New balls are easier to roll and don't break as easily under pressure!
However, old balls become more difficult to hit and are more likely to break so they must be replaced periodically. Replacement balls are easy to find year round because pool halls don't go out of business overnight!
You should be able to find used balls for $1-$5 each. Balls that haven't been used in a while can be bought for as low as $0.50 each. No matter what type of ball you get, make sure it's not expired.