11 Clever Ways to Reuse Old Tennis Balls

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Green Living

Tennis balls can be used to absorb substances like sunscreen, hair oil, and makeup in the pool. Allexxandar/Shutterstock

Playing tennis is enjoyable, but frequently buying new balls can be a hassle. It’s not only inconvenient, but it’s also harmful to the environment. The average can of tennis balls may last just one to four weeks for recreational play and only one to three hours for competitive or professional play! In the United States alone, 125 million tennis balls end up in landfills each year.

These ubiquitous fuzzy yellow balls are primarily made from rubber derived from specific rubber trees in Thailand. While they will eventually decompose, it takes a whopping 400 years for them to return to the earth. During this time, they produce a lot of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

Instead of opening a can for a match and then discarding them, help tennis balls reach their full potential in one of these 11 innovative ways.

1. Stabilize Walkers

Tennis balls are excellent for stabilizing walkers and padding chair legs. Phichat Phruksarojanakun/Shutterstock

Walkers can be slippery, which is frustrating for people who rely on them to move around. A popular hack is to cut tennis balls and place one on each of the walker’s legs. Check out this YouTube video to see how it’s done. Even if you don’t know someone who uses a walker personally, collect used tennis balls and donate them to a senior center or assisted living home that can reuse them. You can also use tennis balls on the legs of wobbly outdoor chairs or to prevent indoor chairs from scratching up hardwood floors.

2. Open Jars

Jars can be difficult to open with bare hands. Tennis balls, which are made of rubber, have excellent grip potential. To take advantage of this, cut a ball in half and place it on top of a jar, then twist. The jar should open easily.

3. Speed Up Clothes Drying

You could buy dryer balls, but why bother if you have tennis balls? A couple of clean tennis balls in the dryer help clothes dry faster by bouncing around and keeping garments separated. This saves your dryer energy and time. You can also use these balls when drying anything you want to be extra-fluffy, like towels, blankets, or pillows. Tennis balls will even reduce wrinkles and static in the dryer.

4. Increase Toilet Efficiency

Each toilet flush costs an average of 1.3 cents, which may not seem like much but quickly adds up over time. Reduce the bill by putting one or two tennis balls in the toilet tank. This reduces the water required for each flush, which is better for both the environment and your bank account! That’s a convenient win/win for everyone involved.

5. Use Tennis Balls for Self-Massage

If you’re in need of a quick and easy massage, all you need is a sock and two tennis balls. Place the balls inside the sock and tie a knot at the end. Lie down and use the balls to massage your back muscles. It’s a cheap alternative to a professional massage and can be done at home anytime.

6. Relieve Lower Back Pain with a Tennis Ball

Rolling a tennis ball under your foot can help ease lower back pain. Apply pressure on the inside arch of your foot while rolling the ball from heel to toe and back again. This will help stretch out your calf and hamstring muscles, as well as loosen up your lower back.

7. Hide Valuables in a Tennis Ball

A tennis ball can be a great hiding spot for valuables like jewelry or money. Cut a slit in the ball and store your items inside. It’s unlikely that a thief will suspect an old tennis ball, but make sure it’s not in a location where it could be thrown away accidentally.

8. Use Tennis Balls as Gift Card Holders

Add some creativity to your gift-giving by turning a tennis ball into a gift card holder. Decorate the ball with googly eyes, glue, and other embellishments to make it unique.

9. Improve Your Garage Parking with a Tennis Ball

Hang a tennis ball from your garage ceiling to help you park your car without causing any damage. The ball should tap your windshield when you’ve pulled in far enough to avoid hitting the garage door, but not so far that you hit the wall.

10. Organize Your Cables with Tennis Balls

To keep your cables and cords organized, cut slits on both sides of a few tennis balls and thread the cables through them. This will keep everything in place and prevent tangles.

11. Use Tennis Balls to Clean Your Pool

Add a few tennis balls to your pool or skimmer bucket to help absorb oily substances like sunscreen and hair products. This won’t replace your pool’s filtration system, but it will add an extra layer of cleanliness to your water.

For tennis balls that are no longer usable, consider donating them to Recycle Balls, a nonprofit that recycles and reuses tennis balls.


1. What are some creative ways to reuse old tennis balls?

There are many smart uses for old tennis balls that don’t involve playing tennis. One option is to use them to massage sore muscles by rolling them under your feet or against your back. You can also cut a small slit in the ball and use it to hold pens or pencils on your desk. Another idea is to cut a small hole in the ball and use it as a bottle stopper to keep wine or other beverages fresh.

2. Can old tennis balls be used to clean household items?

Yes, old tennis balls can be used to clean various household items. For example, you can cut a tennis ball in half and use it to scrub dirty floors or walls. The felt material on the surface of the ball acts as a gentle abrasive, making it ideal for cleaning without damaging surfaces. You can also use a tennis ball to fluff up and remove lint from clothing or to remove scuff marks from floors.

3. How can old tennis balls be used in the garden?

Old tennis balls can be used in the garden in a variety of ways. For example, you can cut a small hole in the ball and use it to cover the tip of a wooden stake to protect plants from damage. Tennis balls can also be used to create a DIY birdhouse by cutting a small hole in the ball and hanging it from a tree. Additionally, you can use a tennis ball to remove dirt and debris from gardening tools or to protect delicate plants from frost.

4. Can old tennis balls be used to protect floors?

Yes, old tennis balls can be used to protect floors from scratches and scuffs. One option is to cut the ball in half and place it over the ends of chair legs or other furniture that may scratch or damage floors. Tennis balls can also be used to protect floors during a move by placing them under furniture legs or by placing them between items that may rub together.

5. How can old tennis balls be used to entertain pets?

Old tennis balls can be a great source of entertainment for pets. You can cut a small slit in the ball and fill it with treats for a fun and interactive toy. Additionally, you can use a tennis ball to play fetch with your pet or to create a DIY puzzle toy by cutting a larger hole in the ball and filling it with treats or toys.

6. What are some other creative ways to use old tennis balls?

There are countless other creative ways to reuse old tennis balls. Some ideas include using them to create a DIY stress ball by cutting a small slit in the ball and filling it with flour or rice. You can also use a tennis ball to create a DIY doorstop by cutting a small hole in the ball and placing it over the end of a door. Another option is to use old tennis balls to create a DIY photo holder by cutting a small slit in the ball and inserting a photo.

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