How To Clean A Basketball – Natural, Composite or Synthetic Leather

Players have been asking how to clean a basketball since they have a problem cleaning it. But, cleaning is an essential part of better performance. When a basketball is not clean, it may be hard to grip or hold on it. And it all happens because of the dirt and grime.

Thus, it is pretty important to clean the outer surface of the basketball. It can help the ball last a long time with durability and its true specifications. But, first, you have to find out the type of ball and what material is used to design it.

How To Clean A Basketball – Natural, Composite or Synthetic Leather

But, firstly, let’s have a little look at the types of basketball. You can identify the type of the ball by its label and even by feeling its material. Then you can join the particular cleaning method that we will discuss as follow.

Cleaning Method of Different Types of basketball:

There are three types of basketball: synthetic, rubber, and leather.

  1. Synthetic basketball:

A synthetic basketball is made of composite leather material. That is the reason it feels a little like complete leather. It is compatible to use in both indoor and outdoor conditions. It doesn’t need a longer playing use to break in, unlike a leather material basketball.

  • Rubber basketball:

In basketball, rubber material adds shape retention to the maximum level. Also, it is used to provide long-term playability. In simple words, we can say that a rubber basketball is one of the most durable balls. This one is playable in every condition of the indoor and outdoor court set.

  • Leather basketball:

This type of basketball is very high-quality and has a longer lifespan. Since they are made with genuine leather, they have no mixing of other materials like synthetic or composite material. They can also perform in any condition, but it is better to use them indoors if you want a longer play.

Cleaning process of these balls:

The basketballs designed with different materials come with a different cleaning procedure. You can clean a synthetic and rubber material ball with the same process. And the genuine leather ball is different from the cleaning process from both.

Cleaning method for Synthetic and rubber basketball:

Both Synthetic and rubber ball has the same cleaning method. And you have to perform this method with great care so that your ball can remain unharmed. Plus, this cleaning can help you get the true specifications on the court.

Establish a cleaning area outside:

First, you have to take the ball to an area near the water so that you can wash it easily. Further on, take a scrub brush, a rag, dish soap in liquid, and a bucket. Getting a bucket that can fit your basketball is suggested, but a smaller bucket can also do the work.

Most commonly, professional players use a 5-gallon bucket to wash the basketball. Since it easily fits and gives a proper deep cleaning to the ball.

Marks removing process:

Get an eraser from the shop to start this step. It is as simple as you remove marks from a piece of paper with the help of an eraser. In this case, you have to rub the eraser where ever you see the discoloration on the surface of the basketball. If the eraser leaves pinches on the basketball, remove them with a brush.

Wash and scrub the ball:

First, recon the areas with a lot of dirt and grime on the basketball. Then give a soft wash and scrub it with the brush. After scrubbing those dirty areas, wash them in the bucket so that you can get a clean surface view of your basketball.

Add soap for further scrubbing:

Adding some drops of soap in the bucket water will make suds. It will help you to release hard and extreme dirt marks easily. If the ball is extremely dirty, it is better to sit it in the basketball by putting soap liquid. Since putting the ball with soap in the bucket helps break the dirt within some minutes.

Rinse and dry the ball:

Now you have a clean basketball and has no dirt or mark. You have to do multiple rinses in the clean water to clean all soap and mark residue completely. Then take the rag and wipe it all over the wet surface of the ball. If it leaves any moisture, leave it outside in fresh air for an hour.

Consequently, you will have a fresh and almost new basketball for the next game.

Cleaning a leather ball:

The leather ball is a sign of professionalism and high quality. That is why it needs cleaning proper so that the durability doesn’t get affected.

Check the inflation:

Cleaning a leather ball needs the proper tension in a stretched way. It helps to keep the ball in the same position after drying.

A leather cleaning product:

This product is specially designed to clean leather products made of leather. It is a soap which is easily available in big box stores. And there is a wide variety of those soaps so you can choose one of your choices.

Rubbing this cleaning soap on basketball:

Put some of the cleaners from the bottle on the rag and rub it on the basketball surface. Specially rub the extra dirty areas. And rub it till the dirt mark is gone. You can add more cleanser to clean it for a more shiny look. 

Dry it quickly:

It is suggested to make a thorough move on the whole surface of the basketball so that it will get dry earlier. Now take a dry rag to rub the cleaned basketball quickly. After that, put the ball in a cold or dry area so that further drying process can work fastly.


If you clean your basketball first, you’ll have an easier time cleaning the glass. Your ball can become dusty and dirty as time goes by.

In the absence of dust, your ball becomes slippery – making passing, shooting, and dribbling more difficult. Wet leather can destroy the surface of a ball.

You will start by dipping the ball into the water since too much water or too much detergent will damage the leather. To get rid of the ball, we recommend soaking a rag in mildly hot water and spreading a little dish soap on it instead.

Final thoughts:

We have discussed each step for the cleaning of every basketball thoroughly. Now, people who are asking how to clean a basketball can read this article for better elaboration. Follow all of these steps to keep your basketball shinier, new, and clean after every play.

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