How to Clean Tennis Balls

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Tennis balls aren’t just for playing tennis. But, they are preferable for many other games and fun times. Tennis balls act as toys for pets and are used to play cricket.

Also, a tennis ball is used for playing usual ball-throw games and much more. With the impeccable uses of tennis balls, it is time for you to consider cleaning and reusing them again.

How to Clean Tennis Balls

A tennis ball gets dirty frequently. But to derive the best out of it, you need to consider cleaning it once in few days. If your puppy prefers to play with a tennis ball, then it is evident for you to keep it clean.

Tennis ball with reflection and bokeh effect

Even though dogs have good immunity to harmful bacteria and germs, keeping dirty tennis balls for them at home is still not good.

If you wish to learn how to clean tennis balls, then you have landed on the right page. This guide will help you with the methods and steps to clean your tennis balls.

The 3 methods on how to clean tennis balls are the following:

  • Cleaning the Tennis Balls by Hand
  • Cleaning the Tennis Balls in a Washing Machine
  • Cleaning the Tennis Balls Using Kleenball

Method 1: Cleaning the Tennis Balls by Hand

The first approach towards cleaning the tennis balls should always be by hand-washing. It will keep the tennis ball safe by all means. Hence, here are the steps that you should follow to approach this cleaning method:

Step 1: Fill a Bucket or the Sink With Warm Water

  1. You need to make arrangements for a bucket and fill it with warm water. 
  2. If you do not want to use a low-height bucket, you can always block the opening of your sink and fill it with warm water.
  3. Remember not to fill extremely hot water, as you will end up burning your hand.
  4. Use more water and a big bucket to wash more than one tennis ball at the same time.

Step 2: Mix the Detergent/Soap Solution Into the Bucket or Sink

  1. Put all the tennis balls that you want to wash into the bucket or sink.
  2. Now, you can add the soap solution, such as dishwasher soap or laundry detergent, into the water container or sink.
  3. Remember to use the same amount of dishwasher soap or laundry detergent that you would use while washing dishes or clothes.
  4. If the tennis ball is a toy for your pet, then you need to consider using pet-friendly home cleaner solutions for this step. You do not want your pet to fall sick by licking off the detergent-cleaned ball.
  5. You can also prepare a homemade pet-friendly cleaning solution by mixing equal amounts of water and vinegar.
  6. Let the tennis balls soak within the water bucket or sink for about 30 minutes. The dirt and debris over the tennis balls will absorb the soap solution and disintegrate. In case your tennis balls are super dirty, then let them soak for around an hour.

Step 3: Scrub the Tennis Balls

  1. You will need a sponge or rage for the purpose.
  2. When the soaking time is over for the tennis balls, you can then scrub them for the cleaning process. 
  3. Use a rag or sponge to scrub the surface of tennis balls.
  4. It will eradicate the dirt and dust that was deeply soaked by the balls.
  5. Continue the process for all the other tennis balls, and do not forget to scrub on all sides.
Yellow washing machines and white laundry baskets

Step 4: Rinsing the Tennis Balls With Clean & Warm Water

  1. After the cleaning process is over, it is now time for you to rinse those balls in clean and warm water.
  2. Drain the water in the sink, and refill it again. Put the balls into the clean water now, and rinse them well. Also, clean the sink after using it.
  3. While rinsing, you need to make sure that you rub the balls with your fingers to ensure that all soap residues are out.
  4. Repeat the process for all the other tennis balls, and then drain the water.

Step 5: Drying the Tennis Balls

Before you can use the tennis balls again, it is essential for you to dry them out. In fact, you need to air dry them. In case you are in some kind of hurry, then you can make use of dryers at the lowest setting of heat. Clean your dryers after using it.

If you are using the machines, then a ten times drying session is enough. But if you are air drying the tennis balls, then it might take an hour!

Method 2: Cleaning the Tennis Balls in a Washing Machine

If you are too busy and do not have enough time to wash your tennis balls by hand, then you can always prefer using a washing machine for the purpose.

But remember to follow all the regulations within these steps to avoid causing damage to the machine as well as the balls. The steps include:

  1. First, you need to set the temperature of the machine’s water as cold. Setting the water temperature as hot will cause damage to the balls. Apart from that, you can keep all the settings similar to that of washing a regular load of laundry.
  2. You do not have to use the spin-cycle of your machine. It is because by doing so, the balls might warp with spin cycles. Moreover, it can also damage the functionality of your machine.

Add the laundry detergent to the machine. Also, you can use a regular amount of detergent for washing the tennis balls.

  1. There are no variations in terms of quantity.
  2. Set the machine to run, and wait for the timer to run out. You can then take out all the clean & wet tennis balls and put them into the dryers when the time is up.
  3. Now, set the heat setting at the lowest, and leave it on for 10 minutes. Turn it off, and you will find dry, clean, and ready-to-use tennis balls. Also, you can dry them in the open air, under the sunlight.

Method 3: Cleaning the Tennis Balls Using Kleenball

Kleenball is a small device or equipment that is used for cleaning tennis balls. It has the potential to clean the dirt particles from the surface of tennis balls. In fact, this equipment consists of soft-bristled brushes for gently massaging out the grime and dirt.

You just have to insert the tennis ball within the kleenball device or tool. Now, lock it and then move the brushes with a constant circular motion. This motion should continue until the ball is clean. Kleenballs are available at many online or offline sporting stores.

They are not necessary for purchase but are pretty handy and speeds up the cleaning process.

Adorable dog with tennis ball in his mouth

Frequently Asked Questions

When Should You Consider Replacing the Tennis Balls if You Are Actually Playing the Sport?

A single tennis ball is ideal for three-match sets. But with every set, the ball will lose some of its bounce. And for official tournaments, the professional players consider changing the balls after every nine games.

However, recreational or hobby players can sustain the use of a single tennis ball for more than 12-15 games. Professionals hit the ball hard, for which they do not seek cleaning; instead, they replace the ball altogether.

Will the Bounce of a Dead Tennis Ball Revive by Cleaning It Properly?

Cleaning the tennis ball is just to give it a clean look, as the games demand pristine gestures. And playing with a clean tennis ball replicates the same.

But if you intend to revive the bounce of your dead tennis ball, then you need to try increasing the pressure inside it to above 14PSI.

Do the Tennis Balls Get Damaged Due to Rainwater?

Tennis balls do not experience any materialistic damage due to rainwater. But, you will lose the bounce when the ball once gets into a rainwater puddle. The bounce retrieves when the ball gets dry, but the rainwater and mud stains remain.

Therefore, when you play in the rain, and your tennis ball gets dirty and wet, consider washing it straight away before the mud and grime dry over it.


Tennis balls are in high demand not only by the sportspersons but also by kids who want to learn tennis or play tennis-ball cricket. Apart from that, dogs consider tennis balls their chew toys and probably love to play ‘Fetch’ them. Clean your dog’s paws after playing tennis ball.

So, to ensure the longevity of those tennis balls, you need to keep them clean and tidy. And in this way, you can reuse them for a longer time.

Allen Michael is the Founder and Editor of Home Viable, a website that he started to provide readers with tips on home efficiency and automation. He draws on his engineering background combined with his family-of-four experiences for his articles.