Should You Really Clean Your Golf Clubs with WD-40?
Written by Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8

Updated on December 13, 2023

Maintaining your golf clubs is vital for two reasons. Firstly, it optimizes the spin and speed that your clubs produce. Secondly, it prolongs their life.

Since equipment is expensive, I urge you to look after your investment, and there are several ways to do this. This guide determines whether you should really clean your golf clubs with WD-40.

I will go through the pros and cons of applying this lubricant to your clubface and identify alternative methods. Ultimately, WD-40 is best employed to protect your club from dust and moisture. I have always found the classic soapy water and a soft-bristled brush to work a charm is the way to go for a thorough cleaning.


Why Some Golfers Use WD-40 to Clean Their Clubs

I have found that golfers use WD-40 to clean their clubs for four reasons. The first is because they are too lazy to put in the elbow grease needed to clean clubs. The second reason arises when all other methods have failed.

Furthermore, golfers employ WD-40 to remove rust from their golf club and to prevent it in the future. Most importantly, WD-40 also shines your clubs, making them look as good as new.


Pros and Cons of Using WD-40 to Clean Golf Clubs


Invisible Protective Barrier

WD-40 claims that the best use for their product on golf clubs is protection. When you apply the special mixture of lubricants, it creates an invisible protective barrier on the face of the golf club.

The protective barrier staves off dust particles and moisture, which gets into grooves and your golf ball. This impacts the spin that your irons and wedges generate.

No Need For Elbow Grease

Although individuals like Michael Harris and I find the cleaning process relaxing, others consider it tedious. These golfers will do anything for a shortcut, and WD-40 loosens the top layer of grime, after which you wipe it off with a towel. This eradicates the need for scrubbing your clubs and initiating elbow grease.

While the lubricant fails to remove deep-rooted dirt lodged between the grooves, it produces an exceptional shine. As a result, it does not deliver a thorough cleaning of your clubs.

Removes And Prevents Rust Spots

I have never used WD-40 for this purpose. However, some players have told me that they find the liquid helps remove rust from your golf irons, wedges, and milled putters. The product moderately improves the appearance, but not to the level of a perfectionist.

Unfortunately, these bright sparks used an abrasive brush that would scratch the golf club’s shafts and faces. Obviously, they finished causing more damage than repair.


One cannot argue about the shine that the liquid provides your club. Ian Moore Golf demonstrates that in his video, where he cleans a few wedges. There is a clear improvement after applying the special mixture of lubricants.



Not An Effective Way To Clean Clubs

The company is the first to admit that you should use WD-40 to protect and shine your clubfaces. If you spray the oily substance directly onto dirty golf clubs, it will loosen the top layer of dirt, but it does not remove the gunk living deep in your grooves.

Therefore, you still need to give them a proper scrub to remove any debris build-up over the long term.

Abrasive Brush

When you use WD-40 and a towel, the rust on your shaft or clubface will not disappear in its entirety. But, you will notice an improvement.

The only way to thoroughly remove rust is to use an abrasive material to strip the rust off. That also produces scratches on your club, which is not how you should treat expensive equipment.


Alternative Ways to Clean Your Clubs

Dish Soap

The best way to clean your clubs is with dish soap, a bucket of water, and a soft-bristled brush. A toothbrush is sufficient. For a detailed rundown on how to clean your clubs this way, you can watch the demonstration by Hastings College alumnus Daniel Mastrobuono. However, I have saved you the time by listing the steps below.

Step 1 – Add 6-inches of lukewarm water into a bucket (it cannot be hot water).

Step 2 – Mix No More Than 1½ teaspoons of dishwashing liquid with the clean water.

Step 3 – Soak your club heads in the water for 10 to 15-minutes.

Step 4 – Scrub your clubheads to remove the top layer of mud, dust, and grime from the grooves, hosel, and sole. Then rinse again.

Step 5 – Keep scrubbing until the soap liquid coming off the club is no longer green or brown.

Step 6 – Rinse the remaining soap from the golf club.

Step 7 – Use a dry towel to thoroughly remove any moisture from the clubhead.

Step 8 – Blow around the cavity to send all remaining moisture into one corner and wipe it with a dry cloth.

Step 9 – Use the damp cloth to run up and down your golf club grip, removing sweat, oil, and dirt build-up.

Washing your golf clubs with dish soap is a simple endeavor that can be done with everyday household items. Frequently cleaning your golf clubs prolongs the life of your clubhead, shaft, and grip. Plus, it maximizes your performance.

When your club is infested with dirt or grime, it reduces spin optimization. Similarly, dirty grips minimize your traction, lowering your power and control over the club, leading to inadequate results.


Vinegar is a non-invasive cleaning aid that effectively breaks down dirt and grime. However, you cannot rely on it alone. Vinegar performs best when you add a few tablespoons to a bucket of water. This concoction destroys lice, toenail fungus, and golf club dirt. It is a multi-use product.

Follow the same steps I listed for washing with dish soap. Let your clubs soak in the water for about 10-minutes, give them a good scrub, and then dry them. If the stench of vinegar remains, mix a bucket of warm water and soap and give them a good rinsing. That will neutralize the odor.


Using a 67.6-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola offers a simple hack for those golfers looking for a shortcut to cleaning clubs. The good news is that it works, at least on the surface. The clubs look cleaner, but I have found that you still need a bit of scrubbing to get the deeper debris out.

The other issue with this approach is that the clubs get sticky, which is unpleasant to deal with. Therefore, I still mix a bucket of water and soap after the coke treatment to remove the stickiness from the golf club.

Coke is also somewhat effective in removing rust from golf clubs, as demonstrated by SAS Golf in the video below. However, it is a drawn-out process that requires ample patience and attention to detail. Your club heads need to sink to the bottom of a bowl of cola and sit there overnight.

It is advisable to check the heads and wipe them at various points, removing any rust or dirt that has softened. By the end of the process, your club will look new. However, it will not be completely rust-free.


Related: Those well-versed in the art of cleaning golf clubs should also learn how to clean your golf balls.


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Matt Stevens

Matt Callcott-Stevens started playing golf at the age of 4 when Rory Sabattini's father put a 7-iron and putter in his hand. He has experienced all the highs and lows the game can throw at you and has now settled down as a professional golf writer. He holds a Postgraduate in Sports Marketing and has played golf for 28 years. Current Handicap: 8