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You may be one of those people who think a little dirt here and there on your softball bat is okay. However, this dirt may end up affecting the life span of your bat or even how you play, as it may affect your grip. In this article, we look at how to clean a softball bat.
How to Clean a Softball Bat
Cleaning a softball bat is not a process that takes a long time. The more regularly you do it, you will use less time next time you clean it. If it stays for a long time without being cleaned, it may take you a while to get it clean again.
You may argue that a bit of dirt gives it some personality, but that may not always be the case. The following are ways you can clean your softball bat.
Using Soap and Warm Water
This method is one of the simplest to use, and the good thing is you do not have to go looking for the things you need. You can use this method when cleaning whetstones and tennis balls. You will need:
- Paper towel
- Mild soap; you can use dishwashing soap. Do not use hand soap
- Warm water
- A clean piece of cloth, or you can use paper towels
After you have gathered everything you need, follow the following steps.
- Use the paper towel to wipe off dust or loose dirt on the bat.
- Pour some dish soap into the warm water. You can also use shampoo.
- Dip the piece of cloth into warm water and wring all the excess water. Make sure it is not dripping.
- In an organized manner, wipe the bat. If the piece of cloth gets dirty, rinse and repeat until the bat is clean.
- Ensure that the gripping tape does not get wet. You can also take it off before starting the cleaning process and put it back once the bat is dry.
For Tough Stains
Sometimes, you may use the method above, but it may not work well if you have stubborn stains on the bat. In this case, you will need a brush. A brush with stiff bristles may end up causing more harm than good, so carefully select the brush to use.
To avoid splashing water and dirt all over, you may want to use the bathtub for this part. You will use the same process as shown in the above method. The difference is, after wiping, you’ll use the brush to remove the stains. Depending on the stains, this may take a while, but the result is worth it.
If the stains are small, you can use a toothbrush. You can also use a plastic scouring pad to remove stubborn stains. After you have finished, use the cloth and warm water to clean rinse the bat.
Using Specialized Products
Many stores that deal with sports goods stock specialized products that you can use to clean your softball bat. The products include liquids and pastes that are designed for cleaning softball bats. They remove stains faster and do not cause harm.
These products, however, are difficult to find. If you find one that works for your bat, follow the steps below to clean your bat.
- Dip a clean wet cloth or a paper towel into the paste. If you are using a liquid product, pour it on the piece of cloth.
- Scrub gently on the stains. Do not be too vigorous as you may damage the paint job. Do it until the bat is clean.
- After you finish scrubbing, wet a piece of cloth or a paper towel and run it over the surface of the softball bat.
Some specialized products come with a set of instructions while others do not. If the one you have does, follow those instructions.
Using Natural Ingredients
If you prefer using natural ingredients, do not worry, there is a method that you can use to clean your softball bat. These natural products will work just as well as the methods shown above.
Vinegar and Water
A water and vinegar solution effectively removes dust and grime from your bat. For the solution to work well, water has to be a quarter of the solution, and the rest is vinegar. This is also a great method for cleaning a heavily soiled microfiber couch. For this method, you will:
- Make the solution; you do not have to use warm water.
- You can put the solution in a spritz bottle and spray it on the bat. If you don’t have a spritz bottle, use a piece of cloth to apply it evenly on the bat.
- Let it rest for about one minute.
- After one minute, use a sponge to scrub the bat.
- Dry with paper towels.
Lemon Juice, Warm Water, and Olive Oil
You will need to mix warm water and lemon juice for this process. Follow the steps shown in the method above involving vinegar and water.
Some people prefer using olive oil to remove adhesives, while others create a combination of all the natural ingredients and rub it on the softball bat. Remember to dry the bat using paper towels.
Taking Proper Care of Your Softball Bat
Apart from cleaning, there are many ways to maintain your softball bat. They all contribute to making it serve its purpose for a long time.
Store It in Ideal Conditions
Extremely hot or extremely cold environments are not conducive places to store your softball bat. Sometimes even playing in certain conditions is bound to make your bat pop. Some manufacturers mention this in the manual that comes with the bat; take note of that.
Avoid storing many bats together if they are not covered with bat sleeves. If you have no option except to store them together, cover all of them with bat sleeves. Avoid storing your softball bats in the trunk of your car.
Use It for the Intended Purpose
If you tap your softball bat on your metal cleats to remove dirt, that is a bad move. It is not good for the cleats or the bat. At the same time, avoid wet hitting balls with your bat. They are heavier than the dry ones, and they end up causing dents on your bat.
Using your softball bat to hit a baseball will also damage it. If you also play baseball, get a baseball bat. Your softball bat will also be damaged if you use it with cage balls in batting cages. When this happens, your chances of redeeming your warranty are low. Do not practice with dimpled balls.
It would be nice to limit the number of people using the softball bat. This is because softball bats can make a finite number of hits. If you limit the number of people using it, you drastically reduce the hits and extend its lifespan.
Break in Your Softball Bat
Breaking in your softball bat sounds easy. However, the chances are that you may do it in an incorrect way. If this happens, the bat will most likely break. Many manufacturers require you to break in your bat while you do not have to do it for bats from other manufacturers.
The process varies from manufacturer, and you have to go through the manual to know the steps required for your specific softball bat. Aluminum bats, alloy barrels, and bats with composite handles do not need breaking in.
Juicing Your Softball Bat
Many casual games played in the sandlot allow players to use “juiced’ bats. Juicing is making the softball bat more effective by tampering with it. It makes the ball come off faster and, in turn, goes farther. Some leagues, however, do not allow the use of juices softball bats.
You can juice your bat through:
- Shaving: involves making the walls of the bat thin. Consider using crazy glue on the cap to seal it for extra security.
- Rolling: involves using pressurized rollers to break the bat fibers. At this stage, you hit the barrel with a rubber mallet. It will make the walls of the bat thinner.
- End loading: involves gluing small weights (made of metal) inside the barrel. Because of the weight at the end of the bat, it will have extra force.
Is Juicing Worth It?
While you will only be able to use your juiced bat in a situation where it is allowed, many people who juice their bats say they would do it again. It comes with the extra expense of purchasing another softball bat to use in games that do not allow juiced bats.
The thinner walls mean that your bat will have a shorter lifespan. If you do not plan on buying another bat, you may want to hold off on juicing your bat. Ensure that you use the right people to juice your bat.
If you do not take it to experts, it may end up being damaged to the extent that you cannot use it. It may also end up causing accidents when you are playing.
Cleaning a softball bat regularly and maintaining it properly will go a long way in ensuring that you use it for a long time. Some things may seem little, but that is important. Start with the processes above and find one that leaves your bat cleaner than it was.