Soccer balls tend to accumulate dirt over time.
It doesn’t really matter if you’re playing with one at the front garden of your house, or on the synthetic turf pitch that’s just a couple of blocks away.
And because good quality soccer balls don’t come cheap, owners are indirectly swayed towards making sure that they look as good as new through regular cleaning.
This in itself presents a tiny problem however, as not all soccer ball owners are equipped with the necessary knowledge when it comes to the topic of how to clean them correctly.
So, I thought I’d take the time to present a 5-step guide for general soccer ball cleaning within this article.
Here’s a quick summary for those of you that don’t want to read through the entire post:
Clean your soccer ball using a simple combination of water, a soap solution and two cloths (a wet one and a dry one). The first step is to use the dry cloth to wipe away any loose dirt like strands of grass and soil particles. Next, rinse the ball for a few seconds with a water-filled spray bottle and, after lathering it with soap solution, gently wipe the entire outer surface with the damp cloth that’s available.
After that, you can also take the optional step of completely drying out the soccer ball with another cloth or simply let it air-dry.
Let’s now take a closer look at the aforementioned process.
- 1. Use a dry cloth to wipe away the loose dirt
- 2. Rinse the ball with a water-filled spray bottle
- 3. Apply a little soap solution onto the ball
- 4. Take a damp cloth and gently wipe the entire ball surface
- 5. Dry off the ball with a different cloth
Soccer ball cleansing sequence
With every guide that I publish, I like to provide readers with a neat outline of the steps that they should take in order to solve their problem or achieve their initial objective.
Here’s the procedure that you should follow to clean your soccer ball in the right way…
1. Use a dry cloth to wipe away the loose dirt
Before you do anything else with your soccer ball, I highly suggest that you wipe it down with a dry cloth.
Rolling on surfaces like astro turf and natural grass typically leads to soccer balls picking up things like:
- Grass strands
- Soil particles
- Chunks of rubber (from synthetic turf)
So, the first thing that you need to do immediately after you’ve finished playing is to rid the ball of these loose pieces of dirt.
It really is a quick win as its simple enough to do and provides you with the platform to perform a more thorough wash down later on.
Although, be aware that using a dry cloth to do this won’t get rid of every single dirt particle.
There are some pesky ones that will only come off with a bit of a harder scrub using water and soap.
I’ll have more on that in a minute.
2. Rinse the ball with a water-filled spray bottle
Now that you have cleared away all the loose dirt – or at least the vast majority of it – the next step is to rinse the ball with some water.
I have a word of caution though.
Don’t use too much water as if you end up doing so, excess moisture can seep into the ball through the seams.
If this happens, you’ll likely end up with a “waterlogged soccer ball” that’s much heavier to kick; moves less aerodynamically and bounces with greater inconsistency.
So, you’re certainly not going to want to hose the ball down or use any other means that involves a significant amount of water pressure coming into contact with it.
This is where a small, water-filled spray bottle comes in.
It looks something like this:
All you have to do is fill that up with water and press the lever at the top for a light release.
Once the ball is sufficiently rinsed, you’re ready to implement the next step.
3. Apply a little soap solution onto the ball
Soap is such a great tool when used correctly.
I’ll give you a quick example that illustrates its purpose.
Let’s say you’re washing your hands.
After initially rinsing them with water, you apply an antibacterial soap that forms a bubbly lather.
The soap molecules are said to act as a mediator between the water and the dirt that’s present on your hands, as it binds with both of them to dislodge the dirt, grease and oils from your skin.
In a nutshell, that’s what happens when you apply soap onto a wet soccer ball as well.
The soap strips away all the mud and dirt particles from its outer surface, leaving it in its clean and shiny original state.
So, grab yourself some form of soap solution (most consumer brands will do the job) and apply that onto the ball.
4. Take a damp cloth and gently wipe the entire ball surface
Here’s where the transformation takes place.
You remember when your ball looked dirty and greasy?
Well, using the damp cloth at this stage is when you’ll see a visible difference.
The wetness of the cloth helps to absorb all the soapy water that’s gathered the dirt particles, leaving the ball in its final form with a nice sheen.
5. Dry off the ball with a different cloth
This last step isn’t entirely necessary but I thought that it was worth mentioning.
In step 4, you wiped all the soap off of the soccer ball with a damp cloth.
But once this was completed, the ball was still wet to a small degree.
In order to dry it completely, you simply take a dry cloth and gently wipe around the outer surface.
Alternatively, you could leave the ball in a well-ventilated storage facility, where it can simply air dry over time.
Visual demonstration of how to clean a soccer ball
Now it’s difficult to paint an accurate picture through walls of text.
Which is why I’ve embedded a clip below that documents the soccer ball cleaning process – although the method used varies slightly from what I’ve already outlined.
Here it is:
Can you wash a soccer ball?
Sometimes, soccer balls have dirt particles that simply won’t come off with a gentle wipe.
And if you’re after pristine results, then you’ll want to consider giving your soccer ball a proper wash as opposed to a casual rub down.
But be warned!
Washing a soccer ball to make it squeaky clean requires much more water and a greater amount of scrubbing force.
Here is a neat way in which you can give your soccer ball a thorough wash…
Using detergents to clean a soccer ball
Detergents are water-soluble cleansing agents that are used to break up the grease and grime on a substance by making those types of dirt more soluble.
If you’ve got a muddy soccer ball in need of a wash, then look no further!
Detergents are said to come in a number of different forms, such as:
- Unit dose tablets
- Concentrated liquids
- Liquid capsules
Where the magic happens is in how they combine with dirt particles to loosen them up and make them much easier to remove from an object.
In this case, all you need to do is get yourself some basic dish soap or any other liquid detergent that doesn’t contain bleach.
You’ll want to strictly avoid the ones that contain bleach as the chemical properties present in bleach can destroy your ball completely at their worst.
After you’ve got your detergent, get a bucket and mix that together with water.
Then grab a sponge or soft cloth; dip that into the soap mixture and then give your soccer ball a good scrub.
But make sure that you don’t use an abrasive scourer like steel wool, as such tools are capable of removing more than just the dirt on a ball!
The last thing you’d want is to see the lettering and logo designs on your ball peel away after a wash.
How do you remove scuff marks on a soccer ball?
Soccer balls get kicked about on all sorts of surfaces by players who wearing different types of soccer cleats, with pesky scuff marks are bound to surface over time.
I call them pesky because they can be so difficult to get rid of, and you might be fearful of your ball never returning to its original appearance due to these blemishes.
Well, you shouldn’t worry too much!
Scuff marks can be eradicated but it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance.
My method for trying to erase them entails following the steps I outlined about using detergents for washing soccer balls, but with a slight modifier.
Where you used cold running water for the soap mixture, get some warm water instead.
This will do wonders for your soccer ball, as it makes breaking down those tough scuffs that little bit easier.
Does water ruin a soccer ball?
Water certainly is a double-edged sword when it comes to cleaning soccer balls.
When used in moderation, it is fairly effective at removing dirt particles and stains from the outer material surface of a ball.
On the other hand, however, the element is entirely capable of causing damage to a soccer ball if it is used excessively when cleaning.
I previously alluded to this earlier on in the article, where I stated that if water seeps into the inner layer of the ball it can impact the overall weight distribution.
This can have a detrimental impact on shooting as a result of the effect on aerodynamics, not to mention the decline in overall bounce uniformity.
Can you imagine not being able to curve your soccer ball properly?
Well, this is likely to happen if you use too much water when cleaning your ball.
So, avoid using any gadget that releases water at high pressure – like a water hose for example.
And that marks the end of my piece on how to clean a soccer ball.
I hope that you’ve learnt a lot from it and that you’ll be able to implement each of the steps with ease.
But before you get down to the wiping and the washing, make sure you buy a soccer ball that’s of the highest quality standard.
I can’t stress that enough.
You definitely wouldn’t want to purchase a flimsy product and see it lose all its lustre after a gentle first clean!
I’d also recommend that you have a read of our guide on how to take care of a soccer ball, as that will give you some additional pointers on product maintenance.
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