DIY | How To Clean A Dirty Baseball Cap
How to Clean a Dirty Baseball
Any baseball that has seen some use will be a little dirty, especially the ones used in professional games. Not only are they subject to scuffs, dirt, and grass stains, but baseballs in both the major and minor leagues are also actually coated with mud on purpose. This may take away the baseball's shine, but the special "magic" mud gives the ball a better grip.If you would like to restore a baseball to its original bright state, you should use techniques appropriate for the white leather it's made from.
Cleaning Baseballs with a Pencil Eraser
Buy an eraser.A simple pencil eraser can remove most stains from white leather, including grass stains and scuffs. Using a small eraser, such as one on a pencil top, can help to clean up a small scuff or mark on a particular spot on the baseball.You can also use it to rub away dirt from the whole surface. However, you might want to get a larger eraser for cleaning the entire ball.
- You can use any type of common eraser, including ones made of rubber, vinyl, or art gum.
- Try to find an eraser that is either white or free of any intense color. Erasers that are dyed bright colors like pink may rub off onto your ball, making an even worse mark.
- Don't use this method on an autographed baseball. The eraser is likely to remove ink just as readily as it will dirt.
- Don't use this method on stains that are still wet, which can spread the stain. Blot away excess liquid with a moist paper towel and wait for it to dry.
Grip the ball by the seams.This will help prevent any dirt or oils on your fingers from making additional smudges on the ball while you work. Be sure to also wash your hands before you begin and wipe down your work area.
Rub the eraser on the dirty spot on the ball.Press the eraser against the surface of the ball. Rub the eraser back and forth over the spot you wish to clean, just as you would erase a mark off of a piece of paper. Repeat this motion until the dirt or marks come away.
Cleaning Baseballs with a Magic Eraser
Purchase a magic eraser.Magic erasers are a popular type of household cleaning product made from melamine foam. Although a fairly new cleaner, magic erasers have become quite common and can usually be found at your local grocery store. Use a magic eraser when you want to clean the whole surface of the ball quickly.
- Magic erasers are especially effective for removing all types of stains from white leather. However, keep in mind that also includes ink stains. Don't use a magic eraser on an autographed ball.
Wet the magic eraser.Run your eraser under the tap and squeeze to remove excess water. While magic erasers can also be used dry, they are more effective with some moisture. Water makes it easier for dirt to cling to in the same way that a wet paper towel is a much more effective cleaning tool compared to a dry one.
- You may also choose to cut your magic eraser into multiple pieces with a pair of scissors. You'll increase its surface area, getting more use for your money. The smaller size will also be easier to grip while working on a small object like a baseball.
Rub the surface of the ball with the magic eraser.Melamine foam is a soft material with an extremely hard microstructure that works as an abrasive cleaner. In other words, magic erasers clean surfaces in a manner similar to a sander, directly scraping away dirt and grime with friction. Because magic erasers don't hold their shape, you will need to both grip yours securely and press down fairly hard. From there, make a few back-and-forth motions as you would erase pencil from paper. It should lift the stain fairly quickly, needing only a few passes to work its "magic."
Rotate the ball as you clean.Turn the ball in your hand and continue to rub until the entire surface is clean.
- Avoid rubbing the stitching on the seams of the ball too much, as you don't want to damage or fray them. Frayed seams will ruin the look and durability of the ball. Remember that melamine foam cleans through abrasion. While it shouldn't harm the leather of the main part of your ball, the thinner cotton stitching can be more prone to damage.
Cleaning Baseballs with Bleach
Make a solution of dilute bleach and dish detergent.Fill up a glass about halfway with warm water and then add the same amount of a gentle dish detergent. Then drop in about a capful of ordinary household bleach and stir.
- You can substitute a number of leather-safe solvents for this solution. Some choices include hairspray, rubbing alcohol, and white vinegar.
- This method works best for removing autographs, scuff marks, and grass stains.
Dampen a cotton swab with bleach.Dip the tip of the cotton swab into your bleach solution and squeeze the excess off with a paper towel or old rag. You just want enough to lightly moisten the surface of the ball.
- You can also use an old tooth brush or any other type of scrubbing tool able to hold water.
Wipe the damp cotton swab over the stain.Rub the end of the cotton swab with bleach on it back and forth over the surface of the ball. Do this a few times until you see the stain lift away.
- Be careful to avoid contact with the seams or any of the stamps. If the bleach touches the red stitches on the seams, it will discolor them. The solution will also remove any stamps you scrub over.
Wipe the bleach off of your ball.Moisten a towel or a cotton ball with clean tap water. Either wipe down your entire ball or just go over the spot you bleached. Do this a few times. It's important to remove all residual cleaning solution.
Towel your baseball dry.If you've significantly wetted your baseball, do not allow it to air dry. Air drying can cause leather to warp and crack. Instead, rub the baseball with a clean, dry towel.
Dry Cleaning with a Machine
Place the balls in the drum.Lift the latch and pour the baseballs into the container. Baseball cleaning machines are able to scrub dozens of balls clean in just a few hours. If you need to clean many balls on a frequent basis, an expensive baseball cleaning machine might be a worthwhile investment
- Choose baseballs that have roughly the same amount of dirt for each load. Cleaner balls will take less time than dirtier balls, so break the balls up into groups to get the best results.
- Read your machine's owner manual to determine the maximum number of baseballs you can safely load. These machines do not typically require a minimum number.
- This technique is best for cleaning well-used, very grimy baseballs.
Add the cleaning compound.Commercial baseball cleaning machines use a dry rubber compound to clean the balls without using moisture. This helps to preserve the leather and won't waterlog the balls.
- This method is essentially a large-scale, extremely thorough, automated version of the pencil eraser method.
Let the machine run for a length of time that matches the extent of your balls' grime.Place the drum back on the machine. Turn the machine on and set its timer. The base will rotate the drum full of balls along with the cleaning compound. If your baseballs are still not scrubbed white at the end of the run, you can always start the machine up again.
- Lightly-scuffed balls take roughly an hour to clean.
- Moderate grime can be removed in two to three hours.
- Baseballs caked in a serious amount of dirt may take as long as 12 hours to thoroughly clean. Feel free to leave these loads to run overnight.
Retrieve your balls.When the cycle is complete, remove the drum from the machine. Open the lid and remove the balls. They should be a shiny, bright white.
- Leave the cleaning compound in the drum for the next load of balls. These rubber chips can be used until they've been entirely worn away, just like a pencil eraser.
QuestionWill this work for a softball?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, it does work for a softball.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I clean my signed baseball?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerI would recommend you don't clean it. The dirt, etc. is representative of the game/player. If you really insist, use the bleach and dish detergent with a cotton ball and go gently around the signature.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I remove a musty smell from a baseball?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFollow the instructions listed in the article above.Thanks!
QuestionIs there a way to clean a large quantity of baseballs?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFollow the instructions listed in the article above, and repeat as many times as needed for all of the baseballs.Thanks!
- Unfortunately, any type of cleaning process that can make a baseball look like new will also remove the ink of any signatures on it. If you want to clean an autographed ball, be very cautious and stay away from any sections you don't want to erase.
- If the ball gets too wet, it may get water-logged and heavy. Additionally, water can warp leather and make it brittle.
- To give your ball a new shine, try going over it with some white leather polish.
Video: how to clean a baseball
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