How to Clean Basketball? Step-by-Step Process

curious about the best way to keep your basketball clean and ready for the next game? Well, wonder no more because we’ve got you covered! Cleaning your basketball might seem like a hassle, but with the right know-how, it’s a breeze. 

Whether it’s covered in mud from outdoor games or just needs a little sprucing up after a sweaty indoor session, we’ve got the tips and tricks you need to get that ball shining like new. So, if you’re ready to learn the ins and outs of “How to clean Basketball?”, stick around and let’s dive right in!

How to Clean Basketball: Understanding the Importance of Cleaning Your Basketball

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of cleaning your basketball, let’s take a moment to understand why it’s crucial. Over time, dirt, sweat, and grime accumulate on the surface of the ball, affecting its grip and bounce. A clean basketball not only enhances your gameplay but also prolongs the ball’s lifespan, saving you money in the long run.

Materials You’ll Need

Before you embark on your cleaning journey, gather the necessary materials. You’ll need a bucket or basin, mild detergent or soap, a soft cloth or sponge, and access to clean water. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the surface of the ball.

Step-by-Step Cleaning Process

  • Preparation: Begin by filling the bucket or basin with lukewarm water and adding a small amount of mild detergent or soap. Stir the solution gently to create suds.
  • Wipe Down: Take a soft cloth or sponge and dampen it with soapy water. Use gentle circular motions to wipe down the surface of it, focusing on areas with visible dirt or stains. Be careful not to soak the ball excessively, as this could damage the internal components.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Once you’ve removed the dirt and grime, rinse the basketball thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining soap residue. Ensure that all soap suds are washed away to prevent them from affecting the grip of the ball.
  • Drying Process: After rinsing, pat the basketball dry with a clean towel to remove excess moisture. Avoid using a hairdryer or exposing the ball to direct sunlight, as excessive heat can cause the material to degrade.
  • Final Inspection: Once it is dry, take a moment to inspect it for any lingering dirt or stains. If necessary, repeat the cleaning process until the ball is spotless and ready for action.

 For more information on cleaning it-related stuff, you can read our article HOW TO CLEAN BASKETBALL SHOES

Additional Tips for Maintenance

  • Store Properly: When not in use, store your basketball in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. This will help prevent mold and mildew from forming and ensure that the ball maintains its shape.
  • Avoid Outdoor Elements: While outdoor basketball courts offer a thrilling playing experience, they can also expose your ball to dirt, debris, and harsh weather conditions. Whenever possible, play on indoor courts or invest in a basketball cover for outdoor use.
  • Regular Inspections: Make it a habit to inspect your basketball regularly for signs of wear and tear, such as punctures or deflation. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage and maintain optimal performance.
  • Rotation: If you have multiple basketballs, consider rotating them during gameplay to distribute wear evenly. This will prolong the lifespan of each ball and ensure that you always have a backup ready to go.

Removing Stubborn Stains

Sometimes, regular cleaning may not be enough to tackle stubborn stains on your basketball. Here are a couple of methods to help you deal with those pesky marks:

Spot Treatment 

For localized stains or marks, try spot-treating with a gentle stain remover or a paste made from baking soda and water. Apply the solution to the affected area, gently scrubbing with a soft brush or cloth, and then rinse thoroughly with clean water. Repeat as necessary until the stain disappears.

Sunlight Method 

If you’re dealing with tough stains or odors, harness the power of sunlight. Place the basketball in direct sunlight for a few hours, allowing the UV rays to naturally break down stains and eliminate bacteria. 

After sun exposure, proceed with the regular cleaning process to remove any remaining residue. Remember to avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight, as it can cause the material to degrade over time.

Maintaining Grip and Performance

Maintaining the grip and performance of your basketball is crucial for optimal gameplay. Here are a couple of tips to help you keep your ball in top condition:

Inflate to the Right Pressure 

Check the pressure of your basketball regularly and inflate it to the recommended PSI (pounds per square inch) as indicated on the ball. Over or under-inflated balls can affect bounce and grip, impacting your ability to control the ball during play.

Use Grip Enhancers Sparingly

While grip enhancers like tacky sprays or grip lotions can improve your grip on the ball, use them sparingly and according to manufacturer instructions. Overuse of grip enhancers can lead to a buildup of residue on the ball’s surface, affecting its performance and attracting dirt and debris. 

How to Clean a Leather Basketball

Cleaning a basketball made of leather is simple because there are lots of cleaners made of leather that can help. If your basketball has mud on it, start by rinsing it with warm water before using the leather cleaner.

  • Rinse with Warm Water: First, rinse off any mud or dirt from the basketball with warm water. This helps to loosen up the dirt and make it easier to clean.
  • Apply Leather Cleaner: Once the basketball is rinsed, apply a leather cleaner. You can find these cleaners in stores or online. Follow the instructions on the cleaner’s label for the best results.
  • Gently Scrub: Use a soft cloth or sponge to gently scrub the leather surface of it. Be careful not to scrub too hard, as this could damage the leather.
  • Rinse and Dry: After scrubbing, rinse it again with warm water to remove any leftover cleaner. Then, pat it dry with a clean towel.
  • Condition (Optional): If you want to keep the leather in good condition, you can apply a leather conditioner after cleaning. This helps to moisturize and protect the leather.
  • Store Properly: Once it is clean and dry, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent damage.

If you wanna know more about cleaning it-related stuff, you may read our article HOW TO CLEAN BASKETBALL SHOES


In conclusion, keeping your basketball clean is essential for better grip and performance. Remember to regularly wipe it down with a damp cloth and mild soap, focusing on removing dirt and grime. 

Avoid harsh chemicals and excessive water exposure to preserve the ball’s quality. By maintaining cleanliness, you ensure a longer lifespan for your basketball, allowing you to enjoy countless games with friends and teammates.


How do you clean a basketball without ruining it?

To clean it without harming it, start by wiping off any dirt or grime with a damp cloth. Then, mix mild detergent with warm water and use a soft brush to gently scrub the surface. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and let it air dry completely before using again.

Does water damage basketball?

Water alone typically doesn’t damage a basketball unless it’s left submerged for an extended period. However, excessive exposure to moisture can degrade the materials over time, so it’s best to keep the ball dry when not in use and avoid playing in wet conditions.

Can you wash a basketball with soap?

Yes, you can wash it with soap, but it’s important to use a mild, non-abrasive soap and to avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the surface. After washing, rinse thoroughly with clean water and allow the ball to air dry completely before using it again.