A baseball that has seen some use will be a little dirty—being subject to scuffs, mud, dirt and grass stains. The baseball might have autographs or names of players etched into the white leather—or was perhaps caught at a professional game way out in the stands. How to clean baseballs includes deciding just how clean you wish to have these sentimental baseballs, or the regular everyday ones. You also want to preserve the stitching and the weight and density of the ball, so we added a few easy tips that you won’t want to miss on how to clean a baseball!
Here are some great DIY tips and options for cleaning your team or family’s baseballs that will have your dirty baseballs looking fresh and clean in no time.
Have on hand a regular #2 pencil with a clean eraser, and also a standard size common eraser—as you will need both. Stay away from colored erasers as much as possible; it’s best to use colorless or white ones. We believe this is the safest cleaning method to preserve an autographed baseball. Just be careful not to smudge any signature.
- Be sure to wait for the ball to thoroughly dry after the game. It is best to clean a dry baseball to avoid spreading the dirt or stain around. Blot the ball dry and wait 24 hours to clean it.
- Wash your hands and pick up the ball by the seams as to avoid adding your own fingerprints to the dirty baseball.
- Use the larger eraser to press into the white surface of the ball, rubbing it back and forth just like you would erase a smudge on a piece of paper.
- Take the small pencil eraser and gently rub back and forth near the seams and by any nicks in the white leather ball.
- Take care on and around the seams so you do not damage them.
This method only involves water and a drill brush.
- Procure an inexpensive cleaning drill brush or brush set.
- Add about an inch of water to a rectangular plastic bin, just slightly larger than a shoebox.
- Wash your hands or use dish gloves and pick up the ball by the seams so you don’t add your own fingerprints to the dirty baseball.
- Position the drill so the brush is in the water, holding the drill steady in one hand.
- Place the ball in your other hand in pitch position and turn the drill on, allowing your grip to slacken so the ball will gently rotate, pulling off any girt and grime.
- Change the ball pitch direction and allow the cleaning to continue.
This method has been recommended by several sources and only involves water and dish soap without any bleach.
- Add one tablespoon of mild dish soap to a one-gallon container.
- Fill the bucket with warm water and stir in the soap to make it foamy.
- With a clean towel, wipe off the grime and stains all over the ball for about 30–60 seconds.
- Wet another clean towel and use it to wipe off the baseball, removing any excess soap and dirt.
- Grab a third dry towel to wipe and dry off the surface.
- Set the baseball in the sun if possible and then let it dry inside for 24 hours.
- Note: Do not use bleach—it may warp the ball.