How to Clean a Basketball: The Ultimate Guide

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Are you feeling grossed out by your basketball? Are you having difficulties holding onto your basketball? Would you like to know how to clean a basketball? Like many players that own a basketball, you may find yourself in a situation with a dirty ball that is in terrible need of a bath. It sounds like a simple problem, doesn’t it?

Don’t worry, if you would like to know how to get rid of all the gunk, mess and bacteria that have accumulated on your basketball, we’ve got your back. We know that it is important for people to keep their basketball clean to prevent the spread of germs, make the basketball easier to handle, improve the appearance of the basketball, and also to improve the overall lifespan of the rock.

We will be providing you with in-depth details as to how you can go about getting your basketball to be spick-and-span just as when you got it out of the box.

Why Should You Clean Your Basketball Why Should You Clean Your Basketball?

Many players will ask the question, why do you need to clean a basketball? Well, if it wasn’t an obvious answer when you take a look at the ball, let’s break down some of the reasons why this is a critical practice. A basketball comes into contact with the floor. This is natural. That’s how the game is played, by bouncing the basketball on the floor. So, the basketball is exposed to all the things that are on the floor. Need I go any further?

The surface on which you play basketball at your park with friends or family can be filthy. You play in your shoes, and your shoes drag in all sorts of dirt, dust, and germs from everywhere you were before you went on the basketball court. You take the basketball to dribble on this area, and then the basketball comes back up to your hand.

We all know that accidents happen, and a basketball can come into contact with any part of your body. How many times have you been struck in the face by an errant pass or a deflected ball? More times than you can count, I’m sure of it. I know this may be uncomfortable, but can you use your imagination to think of all the things that were on that basketball before it got to your face.

Why Should You Clean Your Basketball

Your palms are arguably one of the dirtiest places on your body. You play basketball with your hands, so all the things you touched before you touched the basketball could get stuck to it before it gets to your face. Keeping your basketball clean is simply good hygiene, and this practice can help to protect you and your friends from getting exposed to any bacteria accumulated on the basketball overtime.

In addition to the health benefits of keeping your basketball clean, a clean basketball is much easier to handle and is also easier to hold onto when catching a pass. Because the grip on the basketball improves as the cleaner it gets, it is even easier to shoot a clean the basketball accurately compared to shooting one that is dirty. With that said, we can safely say maintaining a clean game ball can help you to maintain the level of your game.

How Do You Clean Your Basketball How Do You Clean Your Basketball?

Many of you are here to find out how to clean a basketball. You are halfway there. You know that you need to do something about the mess on your basketball, the next step is for you to learn what you need to do and then complete the task. One of the biggest challenges that players face when it comes on to cleaning their basketball is identifying what are the best tools and cleaning agents that they should use.

We would like to help you with this by categorizing and the tools and cleaning agents based on the types of basketballs. Another huge challenge is that we face when we want to clean our basketballs is how we should carry out the process?

You may have all the right tools and the cleaners, but you are unsure of what to do with them. Again we are here to your rescue, we know exactly what you need to do so we are going explain the process to you today. 

Let’s start with the leather basketball.

The leather basketball is one of the most challenging balls in all of sports to get clean. This is because the basketball is made of leather. This is compounded by the fact that because this type of basketball is quite expensive, so players have that’s in the back of their minds not to want to damage a costly basketball that is working in an attempt to get it clean.

Do not worry. If done properly, cleaning a leather made basketball can be done quite easily. The first thing to point out is that leather basketballs are made to be used indoors. If you have a leather basketball, you should use it on indoor surfaces as this will improve the longevity of the basketball.

You should also try to clean your leather basketball as often as you can, so that’s if there isn’t a buildup of dirt and germs on the ball. To clean a leather ball, you will need a bucket of clean water, soft cloth, and some natural leather cleaning agent. Some persons who do not have cleaning agents replace them with mild soap. Try your best not to do this as the soap could damage the leather.

Here are the steps to clean a leather basketball:

1. Use water to wash off any excess dirt.

2. Apply the leather cleaner to the ball.

3. Use the clean cloth to spread the cleaner over different areas on the ball. Gently but firmly, use the cloth to wipe the surface to clean it. Do it in portions and not all at once.

4. Use the clean water to wash off all the leather cleaner and gunk when finished.

5. Dry your basketball off with a clean towel or cloth.

Let’s now look at how we can clean synthetic leather balls.

Synthetic leather balls may be less sensitive than genuine leather balls, but they still require some amount of care. Synthetic leather balls are designed to be used on outdoor surfaces and indoor surfaces, so you may find that they age better over time when used to play outdoors.
If you clean the ball regularly, this can also improve the longevity of the ball. Synthetic leather balls can start to develop large pores over time. These pores will harbor germs, so clean the ball frequently. To clean an artificial-leather ball, you will need a bucket of clean water, some mild soap, a smaller bucket of clean water, and a soft brush. If your ball has excess dirt, you should wash it off with some water first.

How Do You Clean Your Basketball
Here are the steps to clean a leather basketball:

1. Use mild soap to make a soapy solution with the smaller bucket of water.

2. Depending on the amount of dirt on your ball, use either the cloth or the soft brush to apply the Soapy solution to the surface of the ball.

3. Gently but firmly rub the surface to ensure that you remove all the dirt and gunk from the surface of the ball. You may need to do this more than once.

4. After you have adequately cleaned the surface, you can wash out the cloth and then use it to rinse the ball with the clean water in the next bucket.

5. After all of these steps are done, use a dry towel or cloth to dry out your ball.

Rubber balls may be the easiest type of basketball to clean.

Because the entire surface of the ball is rubber, it offers a more resilient surface to wash, than those of the leather and synthetic leather basketballs. One essential tip to remember when cleaning a rubber made basketball is that you should use lukewarm water.

Using this warm water will prevent the ball from shrinking while it is being washed. We want the ball to be clean, but we also want it to be usable afterward. There are many different ways that rubber balls can be cleaned, but let’s look at the most effective way to do this.

To clean a rubber made basketball, you will need a bucket of clean water, a bucket of soap water, a clean cloth, and a soft brush. Rubber balls can be partially submerged into the soapy solution, but if you decide to do this, be sure that the valve is not submerged in the water.

Here are the steps that you need to follow in cleaning a rubber ball:

1. Wash off all access dirt with water, if any is on the ball.

2. Partially submerge the ball into the soap solution while rubbing it with the cloth. If the level of dirt is very bad, go ahead and use the soft brush to brush the ball with the soapy solution instead.

3. After you can see that all of the dirt has been removed from the ball, rinse out your cloth, and use the clean water to wash off all the soap solution.

4. Wipe off your ball with a clean cloth or towel so that it can dry properly.

What are the Necessary Materials You Need to Clean Your Basketball What are the Necessary Materials You Need to Clean Your Basketball?

When you are ready to clean your dirty basketball, one of the most critical steps that you need to take is to source all of the necessary equipment and the materials that you will be using to clean the ball. You should also find a suitable spot in your home where you will be able to clean the ball comfortably.

An ideal place to do this is outside or in a large sink. You should do it outside or in a large pan because the water may splash about, and you do not want to damage any of the things in your immediate surroundings. Additionally to water damage, the dirt and the gunk coming off your basketball may be filled with bacteria, and you do not want to spread them in unwanted places. Because of those reasons choosing a suitable spot to wash your basketball is vital.

After you selected the area, you now need to get the equipment and the cleaning agents. To clean your basketball chances are you are going to need two buckets with which to store water. If you are doing the cleaning under a faucet, you can work with only one bucket. You will also need to get one or two pieces of clean cloth for this procedure.

You will be using the first cloth to apply the soap or leather cleaner, and the second piece of fabric will be used for drying the basketball once the washing is complete. If you only have one piece of cloth, you can wash it out. Try to wring out all the water and then use it to dry off your ball. You should know this may not be as effective as getting a second piece of dry cloth.

What are the Necessary Materials You Need to Clean Your Basketball

A soft brush may be required if there is a lot of dirt on the ball or if the surface of the ball is covered with sticky substances that the cloth cannot remove. It is always good to have a soft brush on hand so that you can remove these without damaging the surface of the ball. As for cleaning agents, we always suggest that you use mild soap for rubber and synthetic leather balls.

Synthetic leather balls can be very sensitive to the chemicals you use, so a mild soap. The mild soap will not damage the material that the ball is made of. Rubber balls are more versatile as it relates to the cleaning agents that can be used on them. You can use stronger soaps, but if you clean your ball regularly, that may not be necessary.

Rubber is not as easily affected as synthetic leather and real leather. To clean leather balls, you will need a natural leather cleaner. Some people will use mild soap, but this damages the ball. Try to source natural leather cleaners from shoe stores or boutiques in your area if you cannot find them at a sporting goods store. Leather cleaners are best formulated for the leather surface of the leather ball. 

How Do You Disinfect Your Basketball How Do You Disinfect Your Basketball?

A lot of players may not necessarily want to wash their basketballs for whatever reason. In this case, they would want to know how they can get their ball germ-free without washing it. Let us first recommend that washing the ball is always the best option after a period of time has passed with it being used.

If you are unable or unwilling to wash the basketball, there are some ways that you can remove germs from the ball. These methods do not remove dirt, so it is not very effective as it relates to the overall cleaning of the ball. There are two ways that we recommend disinfecting a basketball.

Using disinfectant sprays such as Lysol.

Spraying the surface of the basketball with a light coating could kill up to 99% of the germs on the ball, depending on the brand of spray you use. Using these sprays are good methods of removing germs from the ball so that it becomes more hygienic. Try to find sprays that are very strong but do not use it to shower the ball. Instead, spray light coatings each time over the ball until it is completely covered. 

Using disinfecting wipes to wipe the surface of the ball gently.

If you are cleaning a rubber ball, you can use more elbow grease as a rubber ball has a sturdier surface. To clean the germs from the ball with a disinfectant wipe, get a pack of disinfecting wipes that has multiple purposes and then wipe the surface of the ball before use. This will kill up to 90% of the germs on the ball depending on the wipes brand used. Remember to immediately dispose of your used wipes in the garbage to prevent the spread of germs.

Wrapping Things Up: Key Takeaways

It is vital that you practice proper hygiene and to keep your basketball as clean as possible. Keeping a clean basketball will not only allow you to dribble better, shoot better and catch the ball better, but it will also allow you to protect yourself and your friends from dangerous germs that can build up on the surface of your basketball. Until next time ballers, keep that basketball clean, always be fresh on the scene.

Did you find this helpful? Then also check out other basketball FAQ articles here.

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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