How To Clean A Basketball – Rubber, Natural or Synthetic Leather?

You may be toiling very hard and giving your best every time you step on the basketball court for training sessions or a match. Sometimes you swish the ball through the net, toss against the backboard and get bounced off million times, which literally means it has been thrashed all over the place. Why not take some time and acknowledge the poor basketball? But do you know how to clean a basketball?

Who does not relish playing basketball with a new basketball goal and ball? Suppose you are not someone from any royal family, like Tiffany Trump. So, you hardly have an opportunity to play with a new basketball every day. Then why not keep the basketball clean and make it look like a new ball?

1. To be a better basketball player, you must get a good grip on the ball. If your basketball is not clean enough, it won’t be easy to hold on to and can get your hands dirty.

Also, a strong reluctance to touch the filthy ball is created automatically. Ultimately your pleasure of playing basketball will vanish. So you need to clean the ball properly to get the most out of your basketball.

2. Cleaning a basketball shall increase its longevity and offer improved performance.

3. Dirty balls can cause various kinds of diseases.

This is essential to know how to clean your ball as a player. Because it will help you to respect the game you adore most. The type of ball you play with shall determine how you will clean it. It can be of natural leathers, synthetic leathers, and rubber compounds. The way of cleaning basketball shall vary from material to material.

In online, you may find several ways to clean your basketball. But here we are giving the easiest and fastest way of cleaning the ball. Do you have any idea about how easy it will be to clean a basketball? I hope you’re not too lazy to bathe your ball.

6 Steps To Clean A Rubber Basketball

You may have seen this before. Amateur basketball players most often start with rubber basketballs. Infact rubber balls like Cosco Tournament Basketball, R500 basketball, Spalding Varsity Rubber basketballs are meant to play for beginners. Though these rubber basketballs are most likely to get dirty and stain easily, these balls can be easily cleaned.

1. Lay Out The Cleaning Area

Choose a location where you will have easy access to topwater and can get wet. Collect a soft scrub brush, liquid dish soap, a rag and a bucket. Make sure your basketball fits in there quite easily.

Pro tips: Approximately a 6-gallon bucket shall work pretty much OK. As you require to clean the ball so this can be used as a rinse bucket.

2. Get rid of small marks with an eraser

just like you have used an eraser while drawing art in school, college to remove pencil marks, simply apply that here too. Rub on the surface of the ball and if the eraser leaves something of its part, use a small brush to get them off.

3. Wipe The Whole Surface Of The Ball With Water

Scrub the whole surface with a brush and some water. Maybe in some areas, there are more specks of dirt and grime compared to the other areas of the ball. You should therefore scrub the surface properly to make sure any dirt hiding between textured surfaces is totally removed.

With some water, you can even rinse off from the areas where you have gone over. You shall realize whether your ball is getting cleaned or not.

4. Use Soap To Scrub the Ball Further

If you see some stubborn specks of dirt are still sitting on your ball, then you shall require just a few drops of liquid soap or detergent.

If your ball is too dirty, then before scrubbing, you may want to let your ball sit with soap and water for a brief moment. So this will surely make it easy for water and soap to break down the dirt and filth.

5. Time To Cleanse The Ball

Now you look at the ball and see this is as clean as you have wanted it probably. All you need to do right at the moment is rinse the ball with clean water multiple times.

Make sure there are no soap residues remaining on the surface. If you don’t, then the surface of the ball may become a bit sticky. As a result, next time when you will be using it, then the ball shall pick up more dirt and all your hard work will be meaningless.

6. Dry The ball

Take a dry cloth or towel and wipe down the total surface of it. Even if some moisture still exists, leave the ball in a warm well ventilated room or outside but never in direct sunlight.

An Alternative Way:

You can use your bathroom to get the job done. Also, by pouring some warm water and 100 gm of washing powder, you can prepare a mixture or create foam as much as you can. Put on hand gloves and sink your ball into the foam for 5 minutes. Now, like it was mentioned earlier, use a toothbrush to remove the specks of dirt and wash your ball with some clear cold water. Dry it naturally.

Cleaning A Synthetic Leather basketball

These synthetic leather basketballs are mostly made to use for outdoor play. If you are a happy owner of a synthetic leather ball such as Spalding NBA Zi/o Excel basketball, Wilson NCAA Wave Microfiber Composite Basketball, or BGMX basketball, then you should also know that the proper caring of the ball shall improve its resilience against rough beating in outdoor surfaces.

1. Prepare a mixture with liquid soap and warm water.

2. To remove any kinds of resolute dirt, rinse the basketball with water first.

3. So, in case your ball is made of synthetic leather, you should sink the ball into the mixture. Infact, in lieu of a toothbrush, use a soft and clean cloth. Add the soap mixture to it.

4. The aim of cleaning the ball is to make it clean and nonsticky. So, gently rub the cloth all over the basketball surface; if some specks of dirt are yet impossible to get clear of, use elbow grease.

Pro Tips: As most often these basketballs are used for outdoor play, so these basketballs have got greater tendency to get attached with undesirable stains. In that case, you should go to your nearby household caring store and buy a synthetic leather cleaner because a normal soap solution won’t come in any good at all.

Cleaning A Natural Leather Basketball

If you do have a natural leather basketball then the process of cleaning your ball will be a little bit different. A basketball which is made of natural leather shall be very expensive and therefore should be cleaned gently and with caution. You should use natural leather cleaner like saddle soap to clean your leather basketball. You can’t use foam or soapy water which can decrease the lifespan of your basketball.

1. Inflate Your Ball properly

You can’t flatten or deflate your leather basketball at the time of cleaning. Because these can lead to creasing the leather, if you see your ball is under-inflated, then take some time to inflate it properly. Because the leather needs to be stretched to proper tension to make sure whenever it dries, it stays in that way too.

This is also significant to get a decent bounce when you drop the ball. It should bounce up two-thirds of the distance that you drop the ball from. For e.g the ball should go 2 feet (0.61 m) up if you drop from a distance of 3 feet (0.91 m).

2. Purchase Leather Cleaning product

Buy natural leather cleaner from your nearby store. Be sure this is not something like leather creams or softeners which tend to soften the leather.

3. Use Clean Cloth To Rub The Leather Cleaner

Remember, you can’t use the cleaning agent directly to the ball. The best thing you can do is take a proportion of your cleaner on a soft cloth and rub it over the surface of the ball. Depending on the dirt, you can add more cleansers. Or you can use your old toothbrush to give your ball a nice polish.

4. Rinse And Dry

Now rinse the basketball with some fresh water and thoroughly remove the remaining cleanser with a dry rag. Do not use any hairdryer and heating appliance to dry the ball.

5. Store The Ball Properly

If you keep your leather basketball in hot and humid weather, it can dry out and eventually may lead to crack. So try to store it in dry surroundings, well ventilated place away from the sun.

Pro Tips:

1. If your ball has access to mud and stains on the roof of it, a cleanser may not be enough to remove all specks of dirt. You should use a high quality leather shampoo then.


2. Whether this is a cleaner or shampoo, make sure oils are retained within the leather.


3. Don’t submerge your ball, instead pour the water over it. If anyhow water can get into the ball through those tiny cracks or holes, it will damage the bladder of your leather basketball.

Caring For Your Ball

1. Leather and synthetic basketballs require much more care than rubber basketballs.

2. Leather basketballs are meant to play for indoor court only. Gravel and concrete like surfaces can cause severe damage to your ball by tearing the rim apart. Even it can flatten the raised surfaces which will ultimately destroy your grip on the ball.

Whereas for rough outdoor surfaces, rubber or synthetic basketballs are best suited. Depending on what kind of surface you play on, it is, therefore, essential to choose the right type of ball to extend the durability of your basketball.

3. For the longevity of your basketball, place it in a dry and cool place away from direct sunlight. Whether it’s raining or the sun shining brightly, hot or freeze, neither indoor nor outdoor basketball should be kept outside in the most extreme conditions.

Because all of these can definitely ruin the quality of your ball and sunlight can change colors.

4. You should avoid storing your ball near any kind of fire because high temperature can damage the showing and decrease the efficiency of the ball. For e.g storing in a car boot for lengthy periods may result in quality being failed to maintain.

5. You may have sprays or creams in your house to clean shoes and leather coats. If you use these same things to clean your ball then the sweet absorbing capability of the ball will be greatly reduced. Your ball will be slippery and ultimately the pleasure and excitation of playing the game will be gone forever.

6You do not have to buy an over expensive cleaner to remove specks of dirt. You should only use those cleaners and detergents which are recommended for the material of your ball. It can be a cheaper cleansing product but look for the quality and effectiveness first. Avoid strong detergents.

7. As a basketball player, we know you love to practice every day. But this does not do any good to your ball if you practice with a single ball day and day out.

You can’t practice with just a single ball 7 days a week. If you do have a couple of basketballs at your disposal, try to rotate them. Give the balls a chance for recovery and retain their performances. Use at least 2 balls, if not many.

8. This is so crucial to inflate the ball to the correct pressure. You will see this information usually printed on the basketball. To enjoy the amazing bounce of the ball, you should try to inflate the ball properly. Infact, an under-inflated ball will prove to be nearly unplayable and over inflated one can form lumps.

9. Every time you use the ball, try to wipe it down with a rag. Even cleaning once a week will do the job for you.

10. If you store your ball which is still a bit wet after cleaning, it can develop stain and markings. So ensure your ball is dry.

11. Be mindful of the fact that an excessive amount of cleaner may lead to color fading.

12. When you’re not playing, store your dry ball in a vented ball bag. Be sure there is absolutely nothing on top of it or pushing in any direction. It may change the shape of the ball. If you keep it on a rack for too long, the ball may just turn into a round to ovular. Here is a Bag Backpack for basketball that you might like.

13. While playing outdoor, try to keep a barrier outside of the court to prevent your ball from any kind of damage.

So nothing else; this is all about how to clean a basketball. If you’re looking for some recreational fun in your driveway or training for a bigger opportunity to grab, you must know how to take care of your ball.

We hope these tips can assist you in maintaining your basketball’s longevity for months of quality play. Therefore this shall enable you to reach the top of your game. I don’t think you need to look anywhere else to inquire how to clean your basketball. Just follow these instructions properly and get the best out of your ball; keep it clean and healthy.

Things you will need to clean your ball

Cleaning a rubber/synthetic basketball

1. Scrub brush/toothbrush
2. Rag
3. Liquid dish soap/washing powder
4. Both warm and cool water
5. Hand gloves
6. Bucket
7. Elbow grease
8. Damp cloth
9. Synthetic leather cleaner

Cleaning a leather basketball

1. Natural leather cleaner
2. Toothbrush
3. Clean, soft cloth
4. Rag
5. Fresh water

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Last Updated on June 12, 2021 by Sportszpro

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