Updated: August 2017
If you own your own table, use your own ball set at a pool hall, or you own or run a pool hall, you owe it to yourself to try Brillianize. It’s the nuts. It cleans and polishes pool balls spectacularly without leaving any film or wax buildup.
When I bought my table about 9 months ago, I bought a set of Aramith Super Pro balls to go with it. I was already familiar with the Aramith Ball Cleaner fluid and I wasn’t particularly happy with it. It left a waxy film on the balls and they seem to stick together on collision for just a hair longer than they should. Wax attracts and holds chalk dust, so the balls will get dirty more quickly. Because the Aramith product does contain wax and abrasives, I didn’t want to use it.
Brillianize is a high-grade plastic polish, sold to manufacturers to put a fine finish on their new products, and as a cleaner/polisher for glass and plastic display cases, motorcycle and airplane windshields, and the glass surface of copy machines. It is not specifically sold for cleaning billiard balls, but they are highly polished plastic, and it came highly recommended, so I tried it. It has anti-static properties, also, so it doesn’t attract or hold chalk dust much.
Brillianize is a liquid that comes in 8 and 32 oz. spray bottles, as well as in 1-gallon jugs. I use it by hand, spritzing a little on a terry cloth and rubbing it in for a few seconds. I do all the balls this way, setting them aside for a moment until I finish. Then with a dry cloth, I polish them off for another few seconds each. With only occasional cleaning my Aramith Super pros are indistinguishable from brand new. The balls feel very smooth but without any hint of a waxy or oily finish. They seem squeaky clean. I continue to sing the praises of Brillianize, and after 7 years my Aramiths still look like new.
Cost and Availability
After 6 months my 8-ounce bottle is only a little over half gone, so my $8 investment will easily last a year. Obviously, in a commercial environment the balls are cleaned much more frequently, and in a machine, more product may be used. It’s also possible that once the pads in the machine get wet, they’ll do many sets of balls, so it might even use less product per set. Brillianize is an amazing bargain, and if you buy a gallon, it’s only $30. You can buy directly from the company, or you can use their website to find a local dealer. Brillianize is now available on Amazon.
The old sets of balls that I got with my used table cleaned up nicely, but don’t have near the gloss of the Aramith Super Pros. I don’t know if they ever did. Maybe they would shine up even better in a ball cleaning machine, I don’t know. Since there doesn’t seem to be any abrasive in Brillianize, they might be as shiny as they’re going to get.
On the AZ Billiards forum, there are many who sing the praises of Brillianize, and not a soul has anything bad to say about it. I’ve seen recommendations for other products, like Nu Finish or Meguiars PlastX, but I have no personal experience with them. Nu Finish is a paint sealer for cars, so I’d stay away from it. PlastX is a plastic cleaner and polish but it does have some fine abrasives in it. I’d only consider it for older ball sets.
I have also tried Novus 1 Plastic Clean and Shine. It seems to be very similar to Brillianize and I would recommend it also without reservation. Novus has two additional products, Novus 2 and Novus 3. They’re used for plastic products with fine scratches and heavy scratches respectively. I have not used either, but for older ball sets I recommend giving them a try. Given the quality of Novus 1, it’s a low risk. You can get a kit with an 8 oz bottle of each, 1, 2 & 3, along with 2 large polishing cloths for $12.50. This is a little cheaper than Brillianize, a point clearly in its favor. Since you’ll use so little though, it won’t make much difference.