How To Clean A Basketball: Updated Expert Sharings In 2024

To any hoops lover, getting a certain knowledge on how to clean a basketball will give you a better opportunity of keeping it in good shape and lasting longer. 

Dig into the article content to find out exactly what you should do in this article.

General Rules 

There are three rules you should follow to make your best friend as good as new, namely:

No Harsh Cleaning Products

Some complex substances, like abrasive sponges or bleach, can lead to B-ball surface damage and even cause harm to our environment.

Harsh chemicals can also affect the color of a basketball. Depending on the type and strength of the chemicals, they can cause fading, discoloration, or even damage to the surface of the basketball.

So, always read the instruction, significance, and cleaning guidelines before action.

Treat Different Types Of B-Ball Differently

Leather basketballs is not like rubber, and synthetic leather does not like leather. That is why you must understand each material and its structure before delving into the cleaning method.

Stay Gentle

Be gentle to your basketballs to keep any scratch or abuse at bay.

How To Clean A Basketball 

Here are the materials needed and guidelines to get your hoop’s lover’s friend free from dirt, or stains.

For Rubber Basketball: a bucket (about 6 gallons), a rack, dish soap (liquid)/detergent, a scrub brush, an eraser, water, and a dry towel/cloth.

For Synthetic Leather Basketball: warm water, liquid soap, synthetic leather cleaner, dry cloth, and drying rack.

For Natural Leather Basketball: natural leather cleaner, towel/cloth, water, dry rag, and rack.

Rubber Basketball

For rubber basketball, you need to follow the simple steps below:

Step 1: Prepare your working area & lay out all the required tools

For cleaning purposes, you need an area that can be fine when water splashes everywhere, or at least it does not affect anything when wet.

Get a bucket (6-gallon), a rack, dish soap (liquid), scrub brush ready.

Step 2: Use an eraser to treat minor marks 

Take the eraser up and rub it on the minor marks on your B-ball. If any residue is left, it is time to use the brush to get rid of them.

Step 3: Clean the entire B-ball surface 

Use some water & brush to scrub your b-ball’s surface. Do it gradually to each area, not rush. Then compare these areas to see which space you need to focus more on.

Step 4: Apply soap to rinse away hard stains on your ball

It is time for the soap to take its place for stubborn specks or residual stains that do not go away when using only water. Drop some of your detergent or soap liquid on it. 

Depending on how dirty your basketballs is, if it is too filthy and you think it needs to soak in water & soap a bit more, let it be there before scrubbing. 

Some more mins will support the soap to handle the dirt to be “softer” to rinse. Then, you can get rid of it quickly later on. Otherwise, you can wash it right away.

Step 5: Clean your B-ball

Use more water to clean the B-ball’s whole surface. Repeat the task as much as you want to ensure your ball is clean. Don’t leave any soap residues behind. 

If even a few are not clean, the ball surface can be sticky later on and directly affect your performance. Even worse, it will get dirt in no time.

Step 6: Dry your basketball

You need a dry towel/cloth to wipe down the whole surface of the ball. You don’t need to dry it 100%; leaving some moisture is okay. Then you can put it on a rack in a ventilated room and let it dry naturally.

Synthetic Leather Basketballs

For the synthetic leather ball, you need to follow the simple steps below:

Step 1: Prepare your tools and working area

You will need liquid soap, warm water, and an ample working area to wash your ball freely. Bathrooms are fine if you can’t find other places.

Step 2: Rinse your ball with water

Use water to rinse the whole surface of your synthetic leather to get rid of the dirt.

Step 3: Sink your basketballs into the prepared mixture

Please take the synthetic leather cleaner out and sink your balls into it.

Step 4: Use the dry cloth to rub and clean

Rub your ball with the cloth that has the cleaner on it. Do it on the entire surface to ensure all the dirt is treated. If there are any remaining specks, exert more force to rub them. 

After that, wash it with water.

Step 5: Get your drying rack ready

Use a new cloth to wipe your ball. Then, put it on the rack and let it air dry.

Steps to clean synthetic leather basketball.

Natural Leather Basketballs

For natural leather basketballs, you need to follow the tips simple steps below:

Step 1: Ensure your B-ball are in proper tension

If you feel it needs to inflate, pump it to proper tension, and you can clean it. 

Step 2: Use natural leather cleaner

Read the manufacturer’s instructions before use. You need a new towel or cloth. Apply the cleaner to a cloth or towel, and use it to rub the B-ball.

It is up to how stubborn the dirt is that you may need more or less cleansers. If it is not clean enough, you can use the toothbrush to rub the ball but remember, don’t rub too hard.

Step 3: Rise & dry your B-ball

To clean your basketball, use some water and rinse your B-ball thoroughly. You may need to do it multiple times to wash the leftover cleanser.

Then take out the dry rag to wipe it down. After it reaches 80% of dryness, put it on a rack and let it dry naturally. 

Step 4: Preserve the right way

The ideal room to store your ball should be ventilated and cool. Please don’t put it in a place that is humid, hot, or near the electric or fire source, especially the sunlight. Exposure to sunlight can cause irreversible damage to your best friend in no time.

Note: Leather is pretty sensitive, so never submerge it in your cleaning mixture or water, and keep it from these five things. You should use clothes/towels that absorb chemicals and then rinse the dirt, stains, etc.

The best method for cleansing leather basketball.


Now you know all the secrets of how to clean a basketball. Take your b-ball out and start to make it as good as new with our professional guidelines on cleaning it. Remember to share with us the result; we expect to see you complete the process.


What are tips for cleaning and maintaining a basketball?

Clean with the right tools and chemicals for the ball material. You should avoid using harsh chemicals. Let it dry naturally after wiping it off with a cloth, and store it in a cool, ventilated, dry place. Then to maintain, you should always check the air pressure & inflate it if needed. 

How often should players clean the basketball?

You should do it after every use; it will repel sweat or dirt build-up and keep your b-ball in good condition. Regularly cleaning also ensures your rock is always as good as new. 

If I clean a basketball, does the grip get looser? 

No. Dirt and oil are “culprits” for the grip getting loose. Cleaning helps to improve the grip naturally. It washes all dirt and oil and leaves your ball free of stickiness and slipperiness.

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  • Dalvir O'Connor

    Meet Dalvir O'Connor, CEO and founder of Sportssio, boasts 15 years of experience in sports knowledge and analysis, backed by his Master's degree in Sport Psychology....

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