How To Clean A Basketball

how to clean basketball

A few years back, David Stern, the visionary NBA commission, took part in a panel discussion in Davos. The discussion was revolving around the topic – “can a ball change the world?” Indeed, that’s asking too much of a ball!

Well, if that ‘ball’ is the basket one, undoubtedly, it can, and it has changed the world! Every basketball aficionado is well-acquainted about the adrenaline rush experienced while playing or watching a basketball match. 

However, much has been said about ‘how to play basketball’ or ‘how a basketball court looks?’ but have you considered ‘how to clean a basketball?’

 If not, it’s time to gain some quality knowledge about the same now. Remember, a good and maintained ball can help you in getting the ball in your court! Check out this post and explore all that’s involved!

Materials Used In Making Basketballs

Before delving deeper into the details of ‘how to clean a basketball,’ it’s imperative to know about the materials used in making basketballs. Basketball has a rubber bladder inside, wrapped with fiber, and then covered with an outer covering made of either synthetic, rubber, or leather.

Things You Need Before Starting Cleaning Your Basketball

For Synthetic Basketball

  • A bucket of 5-gallon water
  • Water for cleaning using a hosepipe
  • A small brush having soft bristles
  • A soft eraser
  • A rag

For Rubber Basketball

  • A bucket of 5 gallons Lukewarm water
  • Cool, clean water using a hosepipe
  • A small brush with soft bristles
  • An eraser
  • A rag  

For Leather Basketball

  • A leather cleaning product 
  • A rag

The Cleaning Process 

Now, let’s check out the correct details related to how to clean a basketball. 

Cleaning A Synthetic Basketball

1. Rinse The Basketball

Take a 5-gallon bucket filled with water and rinse the ball. And then pat it dry and keep aside.

2. Use A Soft Eraser To Remove The Small Marks 

Take a soft eraser and rub it on the basketball surface where there is discoloration or accumulation of dirt. It is as simple as erasing pencil marks on paper. You can use a small brush to take off the rubber bits left on the ball’s surface after erasing.

3. Scrub The Basketball

Now you need to concentrate on those areas with a lot of dirt and grime embedded deep on the ball’s surface. Add a few drops ofliquidsoap in the bucket filled with water and let the ball sit for ten minutes. You may wait for five minutes more depending upon how stubborn the dirt is. Then, with the brush, gently scrub the ball for another ten minutes.

4. Rinse The Basketball With Clean Water 

Now, rinse the basketball multiple times with clean water using a hosepipe tillit is utterly clean with no sign of any dirt or any soap residue on the surface of the ball because it is very much essential to get all the soap off from the surface of the ball or else it might get sticky and catch up more dirt if used without cleaning it properly. It can even hamper the performance of the player.

5. Dry The Basketball 

The last step in cleaning a basketball is to dry up the basketball with a clean rag and wipe down the ball’s whole surface and leave it outside for two hours in a dry location. If there is any moisture remaining, it will dry away. Lastly, store the basketball in a cool, dry place.

Cleaning A Rubber Basketball

1. Wash The Basketball

Just dip the basketball in a bucket filled with 5 gallons Luke warm water and keeps it aside to get dry.

2. Remove Small Marks Using A Rubber

The next step is to remove the light dirt marks using rubber, the same as we do to remove pencil marks on a paper. You can take off the rubber bits if required by using a brush.

3. Scrubbing The Rubber Basketball

Let the basketball sit in the bucket filled water lathered with few drops of soap liquid for ten to fifteen minutes to soften the dirt and grime. Now, peel off the dirt by scrubbing gently with a brush for about 10 minutes.

4. Rinse The Ball Thoroughly

Splash water using a hosepipe for another ten minutes so that all the soap water gets adequately removed or else it might soil up the basketball if you play with it without doing so.

5. Dry The Ball

Lastly, take a rag and pat the basketball. Next, keep it aside outside for an hour and then store it a clean, cool, and dry place.

Cleaning A Natural Leather Basketball

1. Proper Inflation Of The Basketball

The most initial factor about cleaning a leather basketball is to check whether the pressure is correct because you cannot clean a leather basketball if it is not correctly inflated and stretched to the proper tension. You can know that the inflation is accurate if the ball dropped from a distance of 3 feet (0.91m) high will bounce back up to 2 feet (0.61 m) up from the ground. 

2. Rub Leather Cleaner On The Ball With A Rag

Take a small amount of leather cleaner and apply it evenly all over the inflated leather basketball surface. Add more cleanser to those areas where the dirt accumulation is the most. Now, rub the surface softly with the rag till it is thoroughly cleaned. 

3. Dry The Basketball

The last step while talking about how to clean a basketball is to dry up the basketball without keeping any sign of cleanser left on the ball’s surface, and it is mandatory to keep the leather of the ball in good condition for an extended period.

4. Keep The Basketball In A Cool, Dry Place

You need to be very much cautious about storing leather basketball. The leather might get cracked if exposed to extreme heat or get damaged if it comes in contact with moisture. Hence, the ball must be stored in a cool and dry place and strictly away from direct sun rays, the leather might quickly dry up and crumble, and the smoothness will be lost forever.

How To Take Good Care Of My Basketball

  • Always read the cleaning instructions that come along with the ball and follow it.
  • Always keep the right amount of air within the basketball.
  • Make sure not to get the basketball exposed to extreme cold or heat and direct sunlight or other harsh elements. Don’t use a hairdryer to dry up a basketball.
  • Never soak the ball for too long in the water. And, also remember not to immerse a leather ball in water or else it will get ruined.
  • Always wipe the ball with a wet damp cloth after every use.
  • Store the ball at room temperature.


Hope this helps!! So, from the points discussed above, it’s fair to conclude that it’s always better to play basket in a smooth flooring surface to ensure the durability of the ball and keep the ball in the best condition for years.

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