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16 Brilliant Uses for Tennis Balls

Old tennis balls (even flat ones!) can make everyday tasks so much easier — here's how

Those spare tennis balls you have lying around in your shed or garage don’t have to collect dust when you’re not hitting the court. In fact, these fuzzy balls can be used for more than just playing tennis — over the years, we’ve discovered so many additional uses for them. You can pop tennis balls in the dryer to fluff up pillows, use them to speed cleaning, ease stress and so much more. Keep scrolling to find out how tennis balls can make your life easier — even if they’re flat!

1) Tennis balls can ease foot pain

Woman using a tennis ball to ease foot pain
nuiza11/Shutterstock

If you experience pain in your heel or the sole of your foot, your plantar fascia, the thick connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot from the heel toward the bones mid-foot, may be inflamed. The easy fix? Stretch out the tissue by rolling your sole over a tennis ball! Click through to learn how one woman cured her plantar fasciitis with a tennis ball.

2) They fluff up flattened pillows

If pillows, blankets or comforters have lost their fluff or gotten squished, it’s easy to revive them by popping tennis balls in the dryer. “Tennis balls can be used as reusable dryer balls, minimizing static and naturally softening washing,” says Davin Eberhardt, a home designer, remodeler and founder of Nature of Home. Add the items into the dryer with two clean tennis balls and run on low for 30 minutes. As the balls bounce back and forth inside the machine, they’ll break up the stuffing, restoring volume to the item so it looks good as new.

3) Tennis balls make it easy to sand curved wood surfaces

Tennis balls help sand curved wood

The dresser you scored at the flea market will look great with some refinishing, but sanding the rounded areas has proven to be tough: The wood is uneven and the effort is making your hand hurt. A better way: Wrap sandpaper around a tennis ball. The round shape makes it easy to sand all the decorative curves, so the job will be done in no time.

4) They keep a bike from falling over

When the weather is gorgeous, nothing beats taking your bike out for a ride to enjoy it. The only problem? When you park it on soft grass or mud, the kickstand sinks into the earth, causing your bike to fall over. To prevent this from happening, use a knife to carefully poke a small hole in a tennis ball; insert the end of the kickstand inside until it fits snugly. The ball won’t sink into the surface, and its wider base keeps your bike steady.

5) Tennis balls open stubborn bottle caps

Tennis ball opening a soda bottle cap

Next time you struggle to open a twist-off soda top, try this: Cut a tennis ball in half, then place the open end of one half over the bottle cap. Grip tightly and give it a twist. The friction from the halved ball’s rubber will give you a better grip to prevent slipping, so you can get to your soda in a flash. (Note: This works great on jar lids too!) Check here to see if your old spice jars are worth serious money!

6) Tennis balls clear cobwebs from anywhere

The only downside to the high ceilings in your porch: It’s so hard to remove cobwebs that form up there! The solution: Slip a tennis ball into a knee sock, wrap a rubber band around it to secure and gently throw the ball toward the corners of the ceiling. The silky strands will cling to the fabric and the cobwebs will come tumbling down with the ball.

7) They make slobber-free dog toys

Tennis balls as a slobber-free dog toy

Your pup loves to play fetch, but you don’t love handling the ball when it’s covered in his drool. The simple solution? Make him a toss toy using a tennis ball so you don’t have to touch the wet ball. To do: Place the ball in the toe of an old athletic sock and use the leg of the sock to tie a knot on top of the ball. This will secure the ball and create an easy-to-grab handle. When you throw the toy, your pup will catch the ball part in his mouth and when he brings it back, you can grab the handle so your hands stay slobber-free. 

8) They anchor party balloons

To keep helium balloons from flying away at your family celebration, try this: Carefully cut a small slit on top of a tennis ball, then tie the ends of the balloon strings together and slip the knot inside. The ball will weigh the balloons down, plus add a fun pop of color.

9) Tennis balls release tension

Tennis ball being used to ward off tension
fizkes/Shutterstock

“A tennis ball is a perfect way to massage away stress and tension,” says Tasha Holland-Kornegay, (PhD, LCMHC), a wellness expert and mental health therapist. “All you need to do is place the ball between your back and the wall. Lean back against the ball for 20 seconds before moving the ball to another spot and repeating.” You can also try it out on a mat as shown. The gentle movement will help relax the muscles, helping you feel calm in no time.

10) They make gardening easier

When creating a thriving garden in a container or raised bed, the cost all of that soil can quickly add up. The save: tennis balls! “I’ve used old tennis balls at the bottom when creating raised garden beds,” shares landscaper and gardening expert Ben Esman, founder of My Backyard Life. Simply line the bottom of your bed or container with several tennis balls, then top with soil. “They promote drainage and prevent water logging,” explains Esman. And since they’ll take up space inside the garden bed, you won’t need to shell out for as much soil. Win-win!

11) Tennis balls make hooks sweater-friendly

Tennis ball making it easy to hang sweaters
No more stretched out sweaters!

You grabbed a cardigan from the hook in your entryway and noticed a bump in the fabric. To prevent this, use a box cutter to cut an X into a tennis ball. Hold the ball with the X facing the hook and push it onto the hook. The rounded shape will keep the hook from stretching the sweater.

12) They help you tone your arms

Tennis ball filled with pennies to create hand weights
Adding coins to a tennis ball transforms it into a mini-dumbbell

No need to invest in dumbbells to get sculpted arms for short-sleeve weather. Instead, one of the many uses for tennis balls is to make your own 1-pound weights. To do: Cut a slit in two balls and fill each with 180 pennies. Then superglue shut and let dry. Lift them daily, and you’ll have trim, toned arms in no time!

13) They safely remove a broken light bulb

Oops! The bulb in your lamp burst. To safely remove it, unplug the lamp, then gently push a tennis ball into the broken bulb and turn the ball counter clockwise. The bulb will embed itself in the ball’s exterior so you can easily twist it out.

14) They can clean Fido’s teeth in an entertaining way

Tennis ball as a dog treat dispenser
Stuffing an old tennis ball with treats makes the perfect dog toy

Your pup enjoys getting brushed by you, but having his teeth brushed? Not so much. Thankfully, tennis balls can do the job for you and keep him entertained in the process — for free! “By making small slits in the ball and stuffing it with treats, you create a fun chewing experience,” shares veterinarian Sabrina Kong, DVM, veterinary writer at WeLoveDoodles. “The rough surface can help clean their teeth as your furry friend chews on it. It’s like a dental appointment and a game all rolled into one without the dreaded dentist’s chair!” (Click through for more ways to save on pet gear.)

15) Tennis balls lift scuff marks with ease

To eliminate unsightly black scuff marks on hardwood floors, enlist the help of a tennis ball. Simply use a box cutter to carefully cut an X into a tennis ball, then slip it over the end of a broom handle and use it to rub the ball back and forth over the marks. The ball’s abrasive surface will gently buff away the spots without scratching your floor.

16) Tennis balls help child-proof table edges

If you worry about the little angel in your life bumping his head on the edges of your table when he comes to visit, try this: Grab four tennis balls and make a small slice in each, then stick one ball over each of the table’s sharp corners. The heavy-duty rubber will provide a buffer that helps protect anyone who accidentally bumps into the furniture.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.

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