How to Clean a Soccer Ball

By Luís Miguel
Updated on
How to clean a soccer ball guide

If you have just purchased a brand new soccer ball, want to take care of an existing ball or simply want to learn how to clean a soccer ball, this is the right post for you.

As you may know at this point, soccer balls don’t always come cheap.
Especially match balls, although those really are top of the line.

Whether your ball fits this category or not, it’s important that you understand how to clean your ball to not only keep it looking brand new but to also keep it in the best possible shape that it can be in.

Here are a few steps and answers to questions to help you achieve both goals.

When I first began playing, I wanted to look my best and to also have my equipment looking as good as possible. Nothing turns people away like sloppy equipment or clothing.

So I, my friends and teammates found ways to keep our soccer balls clean using a number of methods.

Ball Care and Maintenance

The very first step is to always maintain your ball immediately after play.

If you are serious about keeping your ball clean, it has to start from the get-go.

Once a stain takes hold for long, it is hard to get out.

So I encourage you to take the ball and clean it directly after play.
Besides building a good habit it saves you from forgetting to do it later.

This tackles the problem of the wet pitch by allowing you to wipe off the ball which eliminates the chances of grass sticking to and / or in it!

First Measure: Using a Dry Cloth to Clean Your Soccer Ball

The first fix I found is that a good dry cloth can do wonders.

If nothing else is done, this is the thing to do right away when you are finished playing.

It isn’t going to get rid of everything, but it will help considerably.

How to Clean a Soccer Ball with Mud

If it starts to rain during a match, things can really get a little messy.
I said “messy” not Messi, mind you. 🙂

Mud, grime, grass and all other kinds of dirt stick to your ball like crazy glue.

In those cases, and especially if you want to learn how to clean a soccer ball with mud, using just a little bit of water will do the trick.

Before you do it, though:

Water is a very key element that should not be overlooked or mishandled.

Using too much water is NOT good.

Refrain from using water hoses or other means that will put heavy amounts of pressure on the ball.

This pressure can seep into the ball and cause it to deteriorate much quicker than it otherwise would.

It also can “water log” the ball making it too heavy — and dangerous — to play with.

Simply take a spray bottle (or maybe even a damp cloth) and rub the ball gently.

How to Prevent Stripping Lettering and Designing Off a Soccer Ball

An important thing to bear in mind when doing the above methods is to be careful and keep an eye on any of the lettering or designs showcased on the ball.

One of the main points of cleaning your ball is to make sure the ball still looks cool!

You’ll be taking that away if you strip the lettering and designing off of it, so make sure to avoid areas like that when you take these measures.

(The water is OK to use on them, just don’t scrub too hard!)

How to Clean a Soccer Ball with Detergents

Maybe you have already applied all of the above steps, but are looking for something a little more effective to take care of your ball.

I’ve got you covered:

There are still other good options.

To get a ball truly clean (or any object for that matter) sometimes you just have to turn to detergents.

Many have been those who have asked me time and time again “how to clean a soccer ball with detergents?” and “is using detergents to clean a soccer ball safe and / or effective?”.

I get it!

“Detergents” can seem like a big word and it might also sound confusing.

However, detergents are simply water-soluble compounds that help break things up when you combine them with dirt.

Detergents basically make dirt become looser and thus much easier to remove.

Considering that the biggest impediment to a clean ball is dirt, it can help considerably.

Understand this:

By doing any of the first aforementioned steps (using a dry cloth and spraying a bit of water) you will undoubtedly get rid of dirt.

Nevertheless, as you can probably attest to if you are reading this, that’s not always the answer.

That’s when you should consider using detergents.

How to Use Detergents to Clean a Soccer Ball

Here are the steps you need to take to clean your football using detergents:

1. Get mild-hand or dish soap that does not contain bleach.
You do not want bleach or any other “harsh” detergents to be used because they will destroy your ball with the chemicals contained in them.

2. Take a sponge or cloth and set it aside.

3. Mix up a solution containing water and some soap.

4. Spray or splash the mixed up solution on the ball.

5. Then wipe it away with your sponge or cloth.
It is crucial that you don’t use anything harsh — like steel wool — on the ball either!

This will eat scrap more than just the lettering off the ball.

How to Clean Scuff Marks Off a Soccer Ball

Imagine all the contact with grass, mud, cleats and all other obstacles a soccer ball can face during a match.

It’s no wonder that, regardless of their built quality or brand, footballs can easily get scuffed and sullied.

All of this beating, grime and dirt can reduce a football’s lifespan and eventually its playability.

Knowing how to clean scuff marks off a soccer ball quickly and easily is the best approach to prevent that from taking place sooner.

What’s best is that you just need to put all of the already described methods together.

Let’s learn how:

1. Use a damp cloth to wipe off your ball.
Surprisingly or maybe not, many scuff marks can simply be removed with a wipe-down.

2. Use a dry cloth to dry the soccer ball.

3. Check to investigate if any scuff marks are still there and where.

4. Mix up warm water with either mild-hand or dish soap that are bleach free in their composition.

5. Spray the mixed solution on the ball.

6. Use a sponge or cloth to gently rub those last scuffs away.

7. With a damp cloth remove any soapy residue.

How to Clean a Soccer Ball from Turf

Anyone that has ever played soccer on turf knows that it is different and presents different challenges.

Besides everything else, you may end up wondering how to clean a soccer ball from turf since that is one of elements of the game that takes a bigger beating on that kind of surface.

To do it, you may want or need to go a step further:

Consider purchasing and some synthetic cleaner.

It will most likely pair well with your ball as most footballs are now synthetic.

To clean your football from turf you simply need to follow any of the above steps and then apply a synthetic cleaner.

Just make sure to use it after you have washed between the nooks and crannies of your soccer ball so that the shine really takes hold!

After this and all of the other methods make sure to wipe down your ball after 15-20 minutes and then let it dry!


Hopefully by now, you already know the best ways on how to clean a soccer ball easily and effectively.

As we learned, a lot of attention is needed to truly take care of your soccer ball.

In the end, though, it will be well worth it.

Your ball will last longer and look better than those that other people have!

By using the tips above, as well as using common sense, you can find great rewards in caring for your ball.

I know I did! All of the above ways proved to be very useful throughout my career in soccer and that has allowed me to open many doors as a result.

Before leaving you, I would like to point out that you can also go a very long way to protecting your soccer balls by separating your match balls from your practice balls.

In addition to that, you can buy synthetic balls which last much longer and take a much larger beating than their counterparts.

Happy kicking!

Guy wearing an SL Benfica jersey holding soccer ball over his head

Article by:

Luís Miguel

As a true soccer enthusiast, I’m Soccermodo’s team captain. My job is to make sure the site’s content is top-notch so that you, our reader, can focus solely on improving your game and reach new heights.