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How to Clean Tennis Balls?

Tennis balls, those bright yellow spheres of joy, not only serve as the heart of the game but also bear the brunt of outdoor elements and court surfaces. Over time, they can become dirty, affecting their performance and lifespan. Fear not, tennis enthusiasts! Cleaning your tennis balls is simpler than you might think. Let's dive into the nitty-gritty of keeping your tennis balls in ace condition.

Preparing for Cleaning

Before you start, gather your materials. You'll need mild detergent, a soft brush or cloth, and two buckets of water (one soapy and one for rinsing). Ensure your tennis balls are at room temperature to avoid any damage from sudden temperature changes.

Hand Washing Tennis Balls

Hand washing is gentle and effective. First, mix a small amount of mild detergent into one of your buckets of lukewarm water. Submerge the tennis balls, gently scrubbing each one with your soft brush or cloth. Be thorough but gentle to avoid damaging the felt.

Machine Washing Tennis Balls

Yes, you can machine wash tennis balls! Place them in a pillowcase or mesh bag to prevent them from banging around. Set your washing machine to a gentle, cool cycle, and add a small amount of detergent. Avoid using hot water or strong detergents as they can harm the balls' felt and internal pressure.

Drying Tennis Balls

Proper drying is crucial. Never use a dryer as the heat can warp the balls and affect their bounce.

Air Drying

Lay the balls out on a clean, dry towel in a well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. This method prevents the felt from matting and keeps the balls in good shape.

Towel Drying

If you're in a hurry, gently roll the balls in a dry towel to remove excess water before air drying.

Advanced Cleaning Techniques

For stubborn stains, spot cleaning with a mild detergent and a toothbrush can be effective. Ensure the toothbrush is soft to avoid damaging the felt.

Disinfecting your tennis balls, especially in times of health concerns, can be done by lightly spraying them with a mixture of water and a gentle disinfectant. Allow them to air dry completely before use.

Maintaining Tennis Balls

Regular maintenance extends the life of your tennis balls. Store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Periodically check for wear and tear, replacing balls as needed to ensure consistent play quality.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Beware of using harsh chemicals or overwashing, as both can degrade the felt and internal structure of the balls. Always opt for mild solutions and only clean as needed.


Keeping your tennis balls clean not only extends their life but also ensures a better game. By following these simple steps, you can maintain the quality and performance of your tennis balls, saving money and time in the long run.


  1. Can I use bleach to clean tennis balls? No, bleach is too harsh for the felt and can degrade the ball's quality. Stick to mild detergents.

  2. How often should I clean my tennis balls? Clean them when they become visibly dirty or lose their bounce. Overcleaning can wear them out faster.

  3. Can I dry tennis balls in a dryer? No, the heat from a dryer can warp the balls. Always air dry them.

  4. Is it safe to use tennis balls after disinfecting them? Yes, as long as they are completely dry before use.

  5. Can dirty tennis balls affect my game? Absolutely. Dirt and grime can affect the ball’s flight and bounce, impacting your game's quality.