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Many household items have earned a spot in the ultimate do-it-yourself toolbox: duct tape, vinegar, lemon juice, aluminum foil, wire hangers; but there's one multi-task tool that many people might overlook: the tennis ball.

Yes, that furry yellow orb of happiness is good for a myriad of tasks far beyond its typical role of sitting in the bottom of your closet as a continual reminder of your broken New Year's resolution to get more exercise. In fact, the common tennis ball might be one of the most versatile and useful tools you never knew you had!

To prove my point, here are 17 helpful tips to make a tennis ball serve you (as opposed to the other way around):

1. Scuff-free chairs - To protect your tile or hardwood floors from destructive chair legs, simply cut an "X" into four tennis balls with a knife or razor, stick them on the bottom of each chair leg, and voila, you've got yourself a bonafide scuff-free (and squeak-free) chair.

2. Super screwdriver - Can't seem to get a good grip, or enough torque on a screw? Making a small slit in a tennis ball, and sliding it over the handle of your screwdriver will give you a better grip, and more torque.

3. Hammer lightly - Pop the end of your hammer through an "X" in a tennis ball to create a hitting instrument that is less likely to ding up fragile or expensive wood.

4. Bottle opener - Cut a tennis ball in half, and use one of the sides to open those stubborn pickle jars.

5. Walkers - I'm sure you've seen tennis balls stuck on the bottom of walkers, but do you know what benefit they serve? For people who might be too weak to lift the walker, tennis balls enable them to scoot across most floor surfaces, while retaining enough traction to keep them upright.

6. Trailer hitch cover - No one wants a scratched up trailer hitch! Pop a tennis ball over that knob of chrome to keep it as shiny as the day before you hitched your first trailer to it.

7. Garage wall proximity detector - Hang a tennis ball from the ceiling of your garage to alert you when you're the perfect distance away from the wall. Extra bonus: when the car's gone, you can use the hanging tennis ball for batting practice.

8. Secret storage - Looking for a place to stash that million dollar microchip while you're at the gym? Slit a tennis ball and stick it inside! Works for anything that's valuable (or not) and small enough to stick inside a tennis ball via a tiny slit.

9. Dog toy - Pretty obvious.

10. Dryer fluffers - Next time you have something in the dryer that needs to be fluffed up (pillows, down comforters, big coats), chuck in a couple tennis balls and let them fluff your garments to high heaven! It might be loud, but your face will thank you the next time you lay your head down on your huge tennis-ball-fluffed pillow.

11. Free weights - Fill a tennis ball up with something heavy (sand, marbles, pennies, sad poems), lift it up and down several hundred times, and watch in amazement as your muscles rip through your old clothes.

12. Remove cobwebs from hard-to-reach places - This is a cool one. Wrap an old rag around a tennis ball, secure it with a couple rubber bands, and throw it at all those hard-to-reach cobwebs. Beware of falling spiders!

13. Strengthen your grip - Next time you find yourself sitting idly at your desk, pick up a tennis ball and give it a few squeezes. You'll be surprised at how strong your grip will become.

14. Door jamb tricker - If you're working on a car, and need to keep the door open without having the interior light suck all the juice out of your battery, stick a tennis ball into the door jamb to keep the interior light switch depressed.

15. Sand curves - Throw a piece of sand paper around a tennis ball to help you get a perfect sanded curve.

16. Give yourself a back massage - After a hard day's work, nothing feels better than a nice back rub. But what if no one's around to give you one? Stuff a long tube sock with a few tennis balls, tie off the end, and swing it across your back. Pull the sock back and forth like if you were drying off you back.

17. Pool cleaners - Have you ever noticed how swimming pools develop a shiny oily sheen over the course of the summer, especially in pools that are used frequently? That's body oil, my filthy friend, which can be easily curbed with a couple floating tennis balls. Over time, the tennis balls will absorb the oil, leaving your pool fresh and oil-free.

There you have it -- 17 terrific tips for all those rogue tennis balls bouncing around in the bottom of your closet.

  • Sally

    Great list! Here's another use, along the lines of the back massage: put just one tennis ball in a tube sock, throw it back over your shoulder (while still holding onto it), and lean back against a wall. Position the ball right where a nasty muscle knot is, and you'll get it worked out in no time.

  • Jim

    The tennis ball can also be used when you have plantar fasciitis a.k.a. heel spur. Keep a tennis ball just under the bed, prior to hitting the floor in the morning, roll the ball under you sore heel for 25-50 times. The pain of getting up in the morning will not go away, but the pain in the heel will be greatly reduced.

  • Geoff Hilaire

    Another couple of uses- to keep self service gas pumps (that don't have a lock-on device) pumping gas into your car while you check the oil. Another one is to keep the handle of a pressure washer depressed so there is no grip fatigue.

  • Brooke Edwards

    You left out one of the best uses! when drying anything like comforters winter coats or pillows that you want to keep "fluff" too- throw in a tennis ball to the dryer with the item.

  • MS

    Hang one in your garage at just the right spot so that when you drive in til it touches your windshield you will know your car is exactly where you want it.

  • Marie M. Long

    I found a tennis ball when walking, picked it up and now use it. Just bounce that yellow ball for exercise. Remember, the games we played: one, two, three, alary...swing your foot over the ball as it bounces? Also try to keep the ball bouncing on a tile instead of in the crevices...

  • kyle

    put one under on the hood catch of your car when you have to check the engine, anyone who has ever hit their head on the catch knows why its a good idea

  • jcactus57

    when pumping gas stuff the tennis ball underneath when you squeeze the gas pump so you don't have to hold it. very effective when it's 7 degrees out so you can sit in your car with the heat on. or when it's 107 degrees out with the a/c on.

  • jim pelella

    when pumping gas put the tennis ball underneath where you squeeze the pump so you don't have to hold it down. very effective when it's 7 degrees out so you can sit in the car with the heat on. or when it's 107 degrees with the a/c on

  • Elaine

    Just so everybody knows:
    Your car may blow up in the process, that's why they have signs at gas stations that say to TURN YOUR ENGINE OFF! It may be a good idea to use a tennis ball to pump the gas, but just don't keep the car door open for too long and it wont let out the heat or cold air. I've never heard that about the pools though, sounds like someone needs to clean out their pool...

  • Bill Metzger

    Cut the ball in half. Pitch one half over the home plate while the batter swings a broom stick to hit the ball. Game modeled after baseball can be played by any number of players. Make up the rules as you go. The game is called half ball. Many of us played it in city streets when we didn't have the money to buy sports equipment.


    Does anyone know how to get black soot from a candle off of a painted wall?

  • Don

    I saw a guy at Walmart with a tennis ball on the end of a stick,using it to erase black marks from the floor.

  • Joe Briles

    You can also use them to play tennis.

  • larry

    It's "couple of tennis balls" not "couple tennis balls." Regionalism does not trump grammar.....

  • Pam

    They can also be used to remove scuff marks from the floor. I am a teacher and the custodians have them mounted on the end of broomsticks to get up the black scuff marks from dark soled tennis shoes. Works great!!!

  • Mari

    Great for cleaning black marks off gym floors, or any hard surface floor.
    Cut hole in tennis ball, attach to old mop handle and rub over black marks. Much easier than crawling on hands & knees scrubbing!

  • Margaret

    I use a tennis ball where I have muscle spasms. I put the ball under my hips or back where the spasm is and lay on it for 10-15 minutes. The spasm goes away just like that.



  • LC

    if you snore when you sleep on your back, sew a tennis ball into the back of your shirt, then when you go to roll on to your back, the tennis ball will be very uncomfortable, making you sleep on your side or stomach, hence, no more snoring.


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