How To Clean Tennis Balls

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Although tennis balls can withstand some amount of scrubs and scuff, not maintaining it regularly could make them either too squishy or too hard. Moreover, dirty tennis balls need a slight extra force to bounce. In this article, we’ll talk about the different methods of how to clean a tennis ball. 

How To Clean A Tennis Ball 

The dirt and sand accumulated on tennis balls can be pretty abrasive and get them worn out quickly. A well-maintained tennis ball will have some amount of resistance in them.

Person holding a racket with tennis ball

Method 1: Hand Washing Method

Handwashing is probably the easiest method to clean a tennis ball. However, this process is manual and requires some effort. So, follow these steps to hand wash your tennis ball.

Step 1: Gather The Required Materials 

To wash your tennis ball manually, gather these required items: 

  • A medium-size bucket 
  • A pan of warm water 
  • Laundry Detergent 
  • A microfiber piece of cloth

Step 2: Prepare The Soap Solution

  1. After you have gathered the above-mentioned three items, prepare the soap solution. This soap solution works great for cleaning baseball bats as well.
  2. Take a medium-size bucket and fill it with a pan of warm water. 
  3. Keep the water temperature between 101°F to 107°F to maintain an optimum temperature. 
  4. If the temperature exceeds 107°F, add normal water to bring the temperature within this range. 
  5. Now, put some amount of mild laundry detergent in the water solvent. The quantity of the added detergent should be similar to what you use for a shirt. 
  6. Now, agitate the solution in a circular motion to bring out the foam. Ensure that there is no undissolved detergent in the solution, as it might stick to the ball fabric. 

Step 3: Cleaning The Tennis Ball 

  1. Put the tennis ball in the soap solution and agitate the mixture once again. Keep spinning the ball inside the soap solution for at least five minutes. 
  2. After spinning for 5 minutes, leave the ball in the soap solution for about 1 to 2 hours. If your tennis ball accumulated extra dirt, extend the period to 3 hours. 
  3. Now, take the ball out of the soap solution and rinse it with clean water. You can also dip the ball in a bucket of clean water or wash it under the tap. 
  4. Leave the ball to dry for another hour in a dry place, like a clean zinc countertop. Now, rub your tennis ball with a microfiber cloth gently, so the fabric does not wear out. 
Washing machines

Method 2: Washing Machine Cleaning Method

If you want to speed up the tennis ball cleaning process, prefer using a washing machine. 

Step 1: Gather The Required Materials

Before you get started, get all the materials you need. 

  • A washing machine 
  • A mild detergent
  • A microfiber cloth 

Step 2: Prepare The Washing Machine 

  1. Prepare the washing machine by filling the tub with warm water. 
  2. Keep the optimal temperature the same as the above method. 
  3. Put around three teaspoonfuls of detergent in the machine’s tub and dip the tennis ball inside it. 
  4. Close the vent and keep the settings to the lowest spin cycle of the machine. 

Step 3: Cleaning The Tennis Ball

  1. Now, turn on the machine and leave it operating for 10 to 15 minutes. Here’s a video tutorial to help you clean a tennis ball in a washing machine.
  2. After spinning for 15 minutes, turn off the washing machine and take out the tennis ball. 
  3. Wash the tennis ball under a tap or dip it in clean water for 5 minutes. 
  4. Keep the ball wrapped in a microfiber cloth for 7 minutes, and then wipe it gently. 

Method 3: Cleaning Using Kleenball 

The equipment used in this cleaning method is Kleenball, invented in 1950. It looks like a tennis ball that can be dissected into two hemispheres. 

There are brushes fitted inside each hemisphere to clean the ball. The outer casing is fabricated from wood, and the brushes are of plastic. 

Please put your tennis ball inside the Kleenball and press it such that the two halves get completely closed. 

Now, rotate the two halves of the equipment in circular directions. Repeat rotating the halves in the opposite direction after a while. 

Continue this process until your tennis ball gets cleaned. 

Tennis balls spilling out of a canister

Additional Tips 

  • Use a hairdryer to drive the ball instead of keeping it wrapped in a microfiber cloth. Drying the ball with a hairdryer also prevents fuzz balls on the fabric.
  • Use a pet-friendly detergent to keep your pets safe from harmful allergies. At the same, such detergents work the same as the general ones. 
  • You can use a clean tissue or toilet paper to wrap the tennis ball. These papers are porous and absorb more water and microfiber. 
  • Use a hair conditioner along with the detergent to wash your tennis ball. Doing such keeps the fabric in good condition and free from fuzz balls. 
  • Bounce the tennis ball over a clean surface like your floor, to check the amount of moisture it holds. You can also evaluate the time left for the ball to dry completely.
  • When playing with a tennis ball, follow player tips and recommendations for safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Water Damage My Tennis Ball? 

Yes, water can damage the fabric surface of your tennis ball. However, it is possible only when it is exposed to water for a more extended period.

The playability of the tennis ball degrades if it is dipped in water for more than 5 hours. 

Is A New Tennis Ball Better Than A Cleaned One? 

A new tennis ball may not be better than a cleaned one. In many instances, the playability of a cleaned tennis ball is similar to a new one. 

When it comes to fabric, a new tennis ball is always better than a cleaned one. 


A tennis ball can endure a lot of pressure, including pet bites that when you’re playing with your energetic dog type of terrier and other breeds, and heavy thrashes. Also, a good quality tennis ball holds its playability for years. 

But, these facts should not be the reason why you don’t maintain the ball. A good sportsperson respects all pieces of sports equipment he/she owns. 

Therefore, you should maintain your tennis balls just like your rackets or the court. A dirty tennis ball may be harmful because it touches many surfaces.