How to Clean a Basketball – Genuine Leather or Rubber Basketball?

How do you see a dirty basketball? In terms of its look? – believe me, it truly does not matter how it looks; however, you will certainly lose the grip over your basketball resulting in an unsatisfied performance. As the basketball remain exposed to the ground, it gathers dust that remains stuck in between its pebbles and reduces the grip of the player’s hand over it. So, if you do not want to compromise your performance, it is inevitable to clean your basketball – in return, it will also improve the durability of your basketball. Now, let me give a detailed answer to your question about how to clean a basketball.

Here is another important thing that I noticed – the cleaning method of basketball is associated with its material; composite material, genuine leather material, and rubber material are commonly used to manufacture basketballs, and all of these basketballs have different cleaning methods. Here I am going to tell you about the cleaning procedure for all three types of basketballs, but before moving to clean methods, let’s see why it is important to clean basketball.

How to Clean a Basketball

Material of Basketball

Basketballs are made up of different materials, considering the circumstances in which they are to be used. Basketballs made up of genuine leather are perfect for indoor basketball courts, while rubber basketballs are best to be used on outdoor basketball courts. Composite leather basketballs are equally suitable for indoor and outdoor courts.

Technically, it is very important to know the material of your basketball – it helps you to understand its dynamics better. For instance, a leather basketball will be too weak to be used on asphalt or concrete surfaces, while a rubber ball will offer too much bounce on floors of indoor courts.

Similar to the classification of basketballs with respect to basketball courts, their cleaning processes are also classified separately. So, let us move to see how these different material basketballs are cleaned.



How to Clean a Genuine Leather Basketball?

Genuine leather is quite a durable material that is used to produce indoor basketballs. Indoor courts are usually free from dust – so indoor basketballs do not require as frequent cleaning as required by outdoor balls. To clean leather, there is a number of sprays and liquids available in the market that are safe to use. Follow the given steps to clean your genuine leather basketball:

  • Before you apply leather cleaner, clean the outer surface of the basketball to wipe out soft dust
  • Pour a small amount of cleaner into the bowl or spray the cleaner on the surface of the ball
  • Take a clean cloth, preferably a towel, to gently clean the surface
  • Make sure that you have cleaned the whole out surface
  • Clean the ball again with a dry cloth
  • Let it dry properly before you play with it

Here I want to add something very important, or you can say a very common mistake committed by people – never use detergent, bleach powder, or soap to clean leather, as it harms genuine leather.



How to Clean a Rubber Basketball?

Rubber basketballs are best for outdoor courts and collect dust readily. Meanwhile, rubber is itself a material that catches dust. Here are steps to clean your rubber basketball and keep it safe for a long time:

  • Take a bucket that can have 3 to 4 liters of water – fill it with mildly warm water
  • Add a small amount of a regular detergent and mix it well unless it forms foam
  • Take a clean cloth, dab it in the prepared foam and gently rub on the surface of the ball
  • Make sure you have cleaned all the soft dust from the ball
  • Now, dab the cloth again in foam and rub it on the ball with an increased force than before
  • Apply a brush to properly clean and wipe out the dust from the grooves of the ball
  • Dry the basketball well before you take it to the court

On the other hand, if the basketball is not too dirty, you may also clean it with a mildly wet cloth.



How to Clean a Composite Material Basketball?

Composite leather is used to make basketballs equally suitable for indoor and outdoor courts. Due to their use in both indoor and outdoor courts, these basketballs also catch dust and get dirty. Follow the given tips to clean a composite material basketball:

  • Gently clean the ball with a cloth to remove soft dust from its outer surface
  • Take a bucket, fill it with water and add a small amount of detergent and make it foam
  • Clean the surface gently with a cloth to remove the stain from the surface – repeat the process unless stains vanish
  • If stains are still there on the ball, use a leather cleaner liquid
  • Once all the dust is out, let the ball dry in the open air



What to Avoid While Cleaning Basketball?

There are some common mistakes people commit while cleaning their basketballs. Follow the given tips to ensure the durability of your basketball while cleaning it:

  • Never wash in the washing machine
  • Do not soak the basketball in a bucket of water
  • Considering the number of detergents – the greater amount of detergent may harm the material
  • Make sure not to use bleaching powder while cleaning basketball
  • Do not try to dry the ball with a vacuum cleaner – let it remain in the open air, and it will dry itself
  • Avoid cleaning basketball when deflated



How to Take Care Basketball Better?

Here are some useful tips to take care of your basketball:

  • Always check the pressure of the air inside the basketball – it should be 7.5 to 8.5 Psi; otherwise, the ball will not offer an ideal bounce.
  • Never play with leather basketball on outdoor courts – hard surfaces can ruin leather basketball.
  • Do not store your basketball in a place where the temperature is elevated. The greater temperature might deform the ball and make it useless.
  • Make sure that you clean your basketball before you store it after every game.
  • Never use bleaching powder to clean your basketballs.




Cleaning basketball considerably adds value and life to it. So, it becomes imperative for players to clean their basketball every time when they pack up their sports gear. Meanwhile, do not forget the importance of material while cleaning the basketball; otherwise, you may ruin your basketball.

Michael Heywood

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