8 clever ways to use tennis balls around the house


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About 125 million tennis balls end up in US landfills each year, taking up to 400 years to decompose, according to RecycleBalls, a Vermont nonprofit dedicated to recycling tennis balls.

If you’re an avid tennis player, you’ve probably accumulated a stockpile of tennis balls that have long since lost their bounce. But that doesn’t mean those neon-colored balls have to end up in a landfill.


You’ll love these ways to use tennis balls around the house, all of which I’ve tested (except the one for swimming pools).

1. Scratch Mark and Cobweb Remover

Tennis ball used to remove scuffs
Deb Hipp / Money Talks News

Stick a tennis ball to a broom handle to remove scuff marks on hardwood, tile or linoleum floors. It’s effective for even “the biggest, toughest scratches,” according to Signature Custom Flooring of Wisconsin.

You can also use a tennis ball on the end of a broomstick to sweep cobwebs from ceiling corners and moldings.

Carefully cut an “X” out of a clean tennis ball. (A dirty one can scratch or stain your floor, notes Signature Custom Flooring.) Then stick the ball on a broomstick, and you’ve got a nifty cleaning tool for at least a few jobs around the house.

2. Cache-valuables

Tennis ball used to hide valuables
Deb Hipp / Money Talks News

Want to hide money and valuables from burglars or workers entering and leaving the house?

Take an old tennis ball and carefully cut it on one side so the ball opens when you squeeze. Next, hide cash, jewelry, or other small items that you want to keep out of sight.

3. Garage Parking Guide

Tennis ball used as a garage parking guide
Deb Hipp / Money Talks News

Worried about your front bumper bumping into lawn chairs, coolers, tools or other objects in the front of your garage? Hang a tennis ball to mark where it’s time to park your vehicle to avoid knocking over objects or hitting your bumper.

Mark the ceiling or beam where you need to hook the ball so that when it approaches your windshield, you know to stop. Next, carefully cut a small “X” or poke a hole in the ball and place the knotted end of a string, attached to the ceiling, inside the tennis ball.

4. Bottle openers and jar openers

Tennis ball used as a bottle opener
Deb Hipp / Money Talks News

How many times have you sweat trying to open the tightly sealed cap of a bottle of iced tea or other beverage? Keeping half a tennis ball handy may be just what you need, as the rubber inside a tennis ball works like a handy clamp.

To make a bottle opener and a jar opener, carefully cut a tennis ball in half. Then keep the ball in a kitchen drawer or car glove box to help open super sealed lids and caps.

5. Laundry fluffer

woman using reliable brand of appliances
Samuel Borges Photography /

Tennis balls that bounce in the dryer are great for fluffing up duvets and down pillows that can flatten out over time, according to Real Simple editors who themselves have been using tennis balls for this purpose for years. .

Adding tennis balls to the dryer can also prevent wrinkles from setting in by circulating t-shirts, jeans, and other garments and speeding up drying time.

6. Pool cleaner

Tennis ball in a swimming pool
Allexxandar /

Is your backyard pool surface greasy from sunscreen and other body oils during the summer? Throw a few new tennis balls into your pool or debris-filtering skimmer basket to clear the water.

Tennis balls have properties that absorb oils from your body, sunscreen and makeup that can build up in water, according to Dolphin Pools & Spas in Salt Lake City.

7. Packing materials for shipment

Woman typing a box
Africa Studio /

When tennis balls lose their bounce, don’t just throw them away. Clean a bunch of tennis balls in the washing machine and use them as packing materials. Tennis balls can fill gaps around breakable items and prevent books, electronics or other items from sliding around during transport.

8. Foot and back massager

Tennis ball used as a foot massager
nuiza11 /

Rolling a tennis ball under your foot from toe to heel relieves ligament and muscle tension and boosts circulation, according to Pioneer Podiatry in Queensland, Australia, which offers step-by-step instructions.

Nor is it necessary to stop at your feet. Place a tennis ball between your body and the wall or floor to massage sore spots and trigger points in your back, hips, glutes, and calves. Then slowly roll the ball up and down or side to side.

To note: Always be sure to get the clearance or advice of your doctor, chiropractor or other practitioner who specializes in back pain before trying any type of self-back massage.

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