Find New Uses for Old Tennis Balls

Do you have hundreds of old, scruffy and perhaps even dirty tennis balls lying around your house? While it's easy enough to toss them, it's great to find new uses for them and as you'll soon learn, there are plenty of possibilities. This article suggests a number of ways to reuse old tennis balls but these suggestions are just the beginning – it's likely that once you start seeing old tennis balls as a valuable item in your life, you'll find plenty more ways to put them to a new use!


  1. Inspect the old tennis balls. If they're dirty, give them a quick wash. A simple soap and water solution rubbed over the dirty parts will probably suffice, or tennis balls can be placed in the washing machine inside a laundry washing bag. If they're split, they may still have some uses, so don't throw them out just yet.
  2. Put old tennis balls to good use around the house.

    Tennis balls can fix a lot of things around the house if you just know what to do with them! Here are some suggestions:
    • Put the Make Chair Sliders out of Tennis Balls to protect wooden or delicate floors from scraping and to reduce the noise level. You could also give many old tennis balls to a local school or community group if they want to do the same (schools often need them for this purpose). Or, donate them to a senior center or assisted-living facility – tennis balls make great skid stoppers on the legs of walkers. These are great ways to use split tennis balls.
    • Cut one in half and use it to open jars. Simply place the inside rubber portion over the top of the lid and turn while holding in place; the grip will help to release the jar lid.
    • Put them on the end of a sharp object (like a knife or scissors) to protect from injuries. This can also be a good use in workshops where there is sharp machinery that people could accidentally walk into.
    • To keep a door knob from smashing into and damaging an interior wall, cut a large slit in a tennis ball and slide it over the knob. This trick also works great to keep curious toddlers out of off-limits room – at least until they figure out how to squeeze as they turn.
    • Use them to remove Remove Scuff Marks from Floors. Many janitors use this trick by placing a tennis ball on the end of a broom so it’s always handy.
  3. Improve laundry and bathroom outcomes with old tennis balls.

    Tennis balls have a great role in keeping the washing in good shape; just be sure to use clean tennis balls though:
    • Fluff up or separate laundry by throwing a couple into your clothes dryer. (Tennis balls stop sheets or other large fabric items from sticking together, therefore they dry faster and more thoroughly.) The laundry tennis balls can be kept in a small hanging bag for ease of reuse each time.
    • Put a tennis ball into your washing machine along with your shower curtain and 1/2 cup of vinegar, then wash with hot water. The vinegar will kill the mildew and the tennis ball will help to scrub the mildew off.
    • Add old tennis balls to the Install a Glass Toilet Tank to help reduce water usage when flushing.
  4. Use old tennis balls in the garage or for vehicles.

    Tennis balls can make garage and vehicle use easier:
    • Hang from the ceiling of the garage to help you tell where the wall is when you're backing up the car.
    • Cut a slit and use it to cover a trailer hitch.
    • Stick on the end of a bicycle kickstand to prevent it from sinking into the mud or grass.
    • When teaching road rules or cycling maneuvers to children, use tennis balls cut in half as miniature road cones.
    • Put tennis balls under the windshield wipers of vehicles that will be stored for long periods. This will help the blades last longer.
    • Use the time-tested method for finding your car in a crowded parking lot: put a tennis ball on the end of the antenna.
    • Old tennis balls can be used as safety bumpers for boats, especially for novice rowers. Simply cut in half and attach to potential bump points on each boat.
  5. Improve life in the Home and Garden and yard with old tennis balls.

    There are lots of great uses for tennis balls outdoors, including keeping the bugs away from your entertaining areas:
    • Cut in half and fill with beer to make a slug trap in the garden.
    • Keep certain types of gnats or flies away from you when you are outdoors. Just cover a tennis ball in Vaseline and hang it from a tree or bush.
    • If you find that the legs of your lawn chairs get stuck between the slats of your deck, put tennis balls on the bottoms to keep them where you want them.
    • Float two or three in your Green Your Pool to absorb body oils. Replace them every few weeks (the used ones can be used for another method in this article).
    • Cut the tennis ball open and slip over Open a Padlock in the yard that are exposed to the weather. This will help prevent the padlocks from rusting or freezing over.
    • If you live in a wildfire prone area, keep a bucket of water and tennis balls in it. If a fire threatens your property, insert the soaked tennis balls into the downpipes and use a garden hose to fill the Repair Gutters with water. The water will dampen all debris in the gutters and may help to prevent your house from becoming more tinder for the fire.
    • Cut a ball in half and use as seedling containers for new plants.
  6. Find new ways to exercise with old tennis balls.

    They might not be able to provide fun on the court anymore but you can still get some good exercise use out of them:
    • Use the tennis balls as juggling balls.
    • Hang a ball from a string and use it for batting practice for baseball, Bowl Spin in Cricket, or any other sport requiring a ball with a bat , stick or club.
    • Squeeze the tennis balls in your hand to improve Train for Ripping a Phone Book in Half.
    • Use as arm weights by cutting slits into a couple of balls and filling them with sand or pennies. This makes for great light weightlifting.
    • Tuck the tennis ball under your chin when swimming breaststroke and butterfly stroke; it will help you to remember to keep your chin tucked in.
  7. Get crafty with tennis balls or make useful gifts.

    Tennis balls can be great for art, craft and toys:
    • Decorate old tennis balls for an arts and crafts project. Draw on eyes, nose, mouth and glue on hair for a cute Make a Doll Head Paperweight or stick on countries of the world to make a globe. And don't be afraid to glue several balls together to create larger ornaments, creatures or objects.
      • Put a cigarette in the doll head's mouth (a fake cigarette is just fine). Giving it long dreadlocks can look really funny. This particular decoration is not so kid-project-friendly though!
    • Use tennis balls to store change. If it's decorated, this can make a neat gift.
    • Turn it into a Make a Dry Erase Marker from Paint for a whiteboard by cutting in half and attaching a string through the middle. Attach the string to the board and use the furry outside to wipe clean the board!
    • Make a Pirate Sock Puppet from old tennis balls. The ball could be a head or a body depending on the type of puppet you're making.
    • Hide stuff in old tennis balls. Make a slit in the tennis ball, then squeeze either side of the slit to open it up. Place money or other objects inside, and release to close the opening. Tuck away where it looks normal for a ball to be.
    • Make a solar system mobile using tennis balls. You'll probably need to add a few miniature tennis balls (often available from pet stores) to get the scale right.
  8. Entertain and protect Pets and Animals with old tennis balls.

    Tennis balls have a number of useful possibilities when it comes to pets. Just make sure that split balls can't get caught on teeth, skin, fur or other parts of a pet. If this is a possibility, either cut the ball right open and just use the halves or prefer a whole ball instead. Here are some ideas to get you started:
    • Use old tennis balls as a dog or cat toy. There are lots of things you can do, include using it as it is for fetch and rolling games or decorating it with non-toxic markers and safe craft pieces to catch your pet's eye for chasing.
    • Tennis balls with holes drilled in them (about the size of a 10 cent piece) make excellent protective homes for field mice. Some wildlife projects use tennis balls for this purpose and add the balls to the wild for the mice to make homes in.[1] As well, your own pet mice or hamsters may enjoy this type of home too.
    • Hang halves of tennis balls upside down in a rodent or bird cage as a swing or bed.
    • Ask your local animal shelter if they need tennis balls for their animals.
  9. Create Relaxation Techniques with old tennis balls.

    When tiredness or snoring gets too much, tennis balls can come to the rescue:
    • Place the old balls on the ground, sit comfortably and roll on them to massage any part of your body (feet, backs of legs, etc).
    • Balance on one leg and roll the tennis ball underneath the other leg. This is a good technique to improve your balance and get a massage as well.
    • Attach a pocket to the back of a snorer’s Make Pajamas and secure a tennis ball inside. This will ensure that the snorer sleeps on his or her side - most people snore only when sleeping on their backs.
    • Relieve a tension headache as follows – place two tennis balls in a sock and tie each ball together side by side at the end of the sock. Find a hard surface such as a book and put the sock and balls onto the hard surface. Lay your head onto the tennis balls in the sock so that the balls sit on the nape of your neck where the head joins. Lie still for about five to ten minutes. When you get up, the headache will have lessened or even have gone in many cases.
  10. Be musical with old tennis balls.

    There are a few musically inclined things you can do with tennis balls:
    • Put old tennis balls inside drums to reduce reverb.
    • Slit a tennis ball open, insert some beans or Build a Goldfish Dinner Bell, and seal closed with glue or rubber cement. Give it to a toddler as a musical instrument.
  11. Have a party with old tennis balls.

    Even parties can benefit from old tennis balls.
    • Use tennis balls to anchor clusters of Inflate a Helium Balloon at parties. Knot together a group of ribbons attached to balloons. Cut a small "X" mark in the top of a ball and insert the knot. Fill the ball with sand if you want extra security.
    • Cut slits into the balls and fill them candies. Place them on the table or into goodie bags.
    • Play party games with the old tennis balls; any game requiring balls can be played with these and they're safer for guests than hard balls.



  • Tennis balls can be used as flotation markers for fishing nets and pots when you need to find them again.
  • A tennis ball can be used in the same manner as a talking stick during group discussions; whoever holds the tennis ball has the right to speak while everyone else must remain quiet.
  • Find a charity that takes tennis balls for reuse by children in need in other countries. One such example is the Doctors Without Walls program.
  • If you need to travel with your surfboard, tennis balls can be used to protect the parts that jut out. This is especially useful for airplane travel, which can be rough on surfboards.
  • Old tennis balls can be used to mend old tennis shoes. Simply cut small pieces of the ball to cover any holes or tears on the tennis shoes, then glue them in place to extend the life of the shoes.
  • Fill an unused waterbed with tennis balls instead of water and feel the difference!
  • An old tennis ball makes an interesting top for a car gear stick.
  • If you've got a missing billiard ball on your pool table, substitute with an old tennis ball.
  • If you can't see any other use, you can throw it out.


  • Be careful when using knives to cut into tennis balls, they are very hard to cut, and a slip could leave a nasty cut.

Things You'll Need

  • Old tennis balls

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