How to clean a leather basketball

Written by chris blake
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How to clean a leather basketball
Leather basketballs can get dirty over time. (basketball #5 image by Adam Borkowski from

Anybody who has ever played basketball with a leather ball knows that after time, the grime from the floor can be transported to the ball. When this happens, not only can the ball become slippery, but it can also harbour germs that can be transferred from player to player. While there's no way to restore a leather basketball to its original glory, there are ways to improve its appearance.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Damp rag
  • Leather cleaner
  • Eraser sponge such as Magic Eraser

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  1. 1

    Wipe your ball gently with a damp cloth to remove surface dirt and grime. Make sure the cloth is not too damp as too much moisture can warp or damage the leather, causing your ball to become lopsided.

  2. 2

    Apply a simple leather cleaner if the damp cloth does not work. Apply a very small amount and try only to rub it on areas on the ball that absolutely need cleaning. The texture of a leather ball is very important to grip and performance and applying such cleaner to areas that don't need it may have an adverse effect.

  3. 3

    Try a cleaning eraser such as Magic Eraser if leather cleaner does not take all the dirt off of your ball. Dampen the eraser and rub it once again only on the areas that you feel really need to be cleaned.

  4. 4

    Dry the ball off thoroughly with a dry soft cloth after cleaning, especially if you aren't planning on using it right away, as dampness will ruin the leather over time.

Tips and warnings

  • Typically, leather basketballs are meant for indoor play. The best way to avoid scuffs and dirt on an indoor ball is to use it only indoors. If you are interested in playing basketball outdoors, look into purchasing an outdoor ball. Outdoor basketballs handle the rough surfaces and dirt found on outdoor courts much better than do leather basketballs.
  • Along with drying your basketball off following cleaning, make sure you are don't store it in extreme heat or cold as these conditions will also affect the appearance and performance.

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