How To Clean Golf Irons [In 5 Easy Steps]


The cleaning of golf irons is often an overlooked process. In this article, we will look at how to clean golf irons properly to eliminate unwanted ball flights caused from dirt stuck in the grooves.


Golf irons are easily cleaned with soapy water and the right technique. Read on to learn more about our 5 easy steps to get the best performing irons.







Do Clean Irons Even Make A Difference?

Experienced golfers know the importance of keeping their clubs (and balls) clean. Golf is a difficult sport and a dirty club makes it a lot more frustrating. There may be times when you are confident in having made the correct swing but got a different result. You wonder why the ball flew differently from your intended direction.


The culprit might be mud sticking into your club head and/or ball.


Normal golf rules allow balls to be marked, lifted, cleaned and returned to its original location. This is to keep mud from sticking to the ball and affecting its flight. With that in mind, it is best to also keep your clubs clean.


A clean iron helps ensure smooth ball contact and consistent trajectory.




The Cleaning Process In 5 Easy Steps

Here is our take for the best approach on how to clean golf irons in 5 easy steps.


Step 1: Preparation

In cleaning golf irons, I do not recommend using the sink. Clubs can leave a mark or even cause a scratch.


Prepare the following:

  • Plastic bucket with moderately warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Scouring pad
  • Soft brush
  • Tee
  • Old towel


Additional (For rusted clubs):

  • WD-40 (small can)
  • Copper/Wire brush



  • Appropriate metal or wood polish.




Step 2: Soaking The Irons In Soapy Water

To soften the dirt, soak the clubs in a bucket containing warm soapy water.  The soap-water solution should not be too warm and only deep enough to submerge the club heads (but not past the hosel). Warm water might loosen the ferrules, seep into the joint, and create rust spots that will eventually damage the shaft.


I’ve seen two driving range accidents where shafts broke by the joints to the club heads. An examination of the shaft damage revealed rust, which might have been caused by water during regular cleaning.


This is very dangerous. A club the breaks during the swing can fly uncontrollably and cause serious damage. A flying club head can cause more damage than a golf ball. I’m sure you don’t play golf to hurt anybody.




Step 3: Cleaning And Inspecting The Grooves

It is important to pay attention to the grooves. During a swing, ball contact with the grooves creates friction that results in ball spin, consistent flight, and greater distance. Use the scouring pad and brush on the club head to remove the dirt.


Carefully inspect the grooves and keep it clean. If necessary, use a tee to remove stubborn dirt off the grooves.




Step 4: Cleaning And Inspecting The Grips

Golf grips are supposed to be tacky to make it easy for us to hold on to the clubs and prevent over gripping. A tight grip prevents the club from reaching full speed during the swing and can cause hand injury.


Cleaning the grip used to be as simple as using a scouring pad/brush and soapy water to scrub away dirt and sunscreen residue. That is not 100% applicable anymore.


Golf technology has evolved and some manufacturers apply special coating on their grips to keep it tacky. Using soap, scouring pads and any abrasive material may damage or remove the coating. There are also brands that simply recommend brush and soapy water.


The best way is to check the brand and search for the manufacturer’s recommendation on how to clean their grips.




Step 5: Drying The Irons

Thoroughly dry the club head, shaft, and grip using any old towel. Do not store the clubs while it is wet to keep moisture away. If you find rust spots in your club, spray the rusted area with just the right amount WD-40 for about 10 minutes. Don’t let the WD-40 get inside the joints. After 10 minutes, scrub the rust with a soft brush. 


If the rust is more stubborn, use the copper brush. The last option is the metal brush because of the possibility that it can scratch the chrome plating of the club head.


Wipe the club dry after removing the rust. To keep rust from attacking your precious golf clubs, clean it regularly and keep it dry.


If needed, use the appropriate metal polish to maintain that brand new look of your clubs.




Be Extra Careful When Cleaning Woods And Hybrids

Cleaning woods, hybrids, and drivers require the same process but with extra care. It is not recommended that you soak those clubs because soap can be abrasive and take off luster from the paint job. Its surfaces are normally painted and using wires and stiff brushes can cause a scratch. Use a soft foam to gently scrub the dirt off.




Summing It All Up

Now you know the importance of keeping your clubs clean and the process on how to clean your golf irons. You have just eliminated one possible hindrance to a good game and you’re on your way to becoming a better golfer.




FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions 

How Often Should You Clean Your Golf Clubs?

Knowing that a dirty club head can affect ball contact, inspect and clean it after every swing. If you watch professional golf, you probably noticed the players and caddies wiping their clubs clean after every swing.


Clean your grips after every game and/or whenever you feel it becoming less tacky.




Should You Polish Your Golf Clubs?

When a golf club is polished, it is deep cleaned. Polishing also removes any rust build-up. Carrying well-polished clubs into the 1st tee can you feel good and inspire you to play well. Otherwise, it is not necessary.


A regularly cleaned club may not look as nice as the ones polished but it will perform in the same way. If polishing your clubs will make you feel good, do it.


You can get nice golf club polishing kits, to make your irons shiny and clean. So if you like tinkering with that sort of stuff it is definitely recommended.



Should You Sharpen Your Golf Club Grooves?

Golf club grooves may get worn out from constant play and having them restored naturally improves the club’s performance. However, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and other golf governing bodies around the world have a set of rules governing the design, depth and other details regarding club grooves. 


Doing a DIY restoration/sharpening of your grooves might result in clubs that do not conform to golf’s rules. It can drastically improve your game but it’s considered cheating.