50 Great Things you Never Knew you Could do with Tennis Balls

used tennis balls

You may remember the often-discussed tennis ball headphones or these 99 extraordinary uses for ordinary objects. Those were pretty great, but it makes you wonder what else these little bundles of latex and wool can do. Since they wear out and lose their bounce quickly, most tennis balls simply end up in the garbage when they stop being useful on the court. If you can’t stand to throw them away, they tend to pile up quickly - so what can you do with them?

1) Cut an X in the top of each ball and put them on the bottoms of chair legs to cut down on noise and floor scuffs. If you don’t have scuffable floors (or all of your chair legs are already covered) check with your local school. Many schools take donations for just this purpose.

walker2) Donate them to a local nursing home for use on residents’ walkers. They make the walkers easier to push around for people who aren’t strong enough to lift them.

3) Hang one on string from the garage roof to help you park without running into things. When it touches the windshield or rear window (depending on which way the car is pointing), you know it’s time to stop. If you’ve got a lot of time on your hands, make it into a funny character.

4) Keep certain types of gnats or flies away from you when you are outdoors. Just cover a tennis ball in Vaseline and hang it from a tree or bush.

5) Tennis balls with holes drilled in them have been used in the UK as protective homes for field mice. Pet mice or hamsters may enjoy them, too!

6) When packing something for shipping in a box that’s too large, use tennis balls as shock-absorbing cushions that will hold the item steady in the box.

7) Use them to remove scuffs on floors. Many janitors use this trick by placing a tennis ball on the end of a broom so it’s always handy.

8 ) Protect your surfboard when it goes on an airplane journey.

9) Play a creative catch game that will amuse kids to no end - especially if you’re the one missing the ball.

10) Throw a few tennis balls into the dryer when you are drying comforters, fluffy coats, pillows, or anything else that could use a good fluffing.

11) Tennis balls can also help any laundry load dry faster - just throw two or three in the dryer and your clothes will be done quicker.

12) Speaking of laundry, put a tennis ball into your washing machine along with your shower curtain and 1/2 cup of vinegar, then wash with hot water. The vinegar will kill the mildew and the tennis ball will help to scrub the mildew off.

13) If you or your partner (or, if you’re really unlucky, the guy in the next apartment) snore, attach a pocket to the back of the snorer’s pajamas and secure a tennis ball inside. This will ensure that the snorer sleeps on his/her side - most people snore only when sleeping on their backs.

14) Make your own juggling clubs.

15) Make a very cute pencil/mail/phone holder. (Putting a cigarette in its mouth and giving it long dreadlocks would be really funny, but maybe not so kid-project-friendly.)

pencil holder

16) Cut a slit in one and use it to cover the trailer hitch on your truck.

17) Hide stuff in them. Make a slit in a tennis ball, then squeeze either side of the slit to open it up. Place money or other objects inside, and release to close the opening.

18 ) Use the same concept as above to pass notes or other items over long distances. Just be sure other people don’t pick it up! This idea has been used at auctions to pass receipts to winning bidders.

19) Cut a portion of the ball off so that it will fit over the sharp corner of your coffee table. Repeat for the other corners to baby-proof a room. Use this for all furniture with sharp or protruding bits to protect little foreheads.

tennis ball chair20) Make a beautiful flower for your sweetheart. You can even fill it with candy, just in case your sweetheart isn’t quite sweet enough yet.

21) Slit a tennis ball open, insert some beans or jingle bells, and seal closed with glue or rubber cement. Give it to a toddler as a musical instrument.

22) When you are seated, put a tennis ball (or two or three) under each foot and roll your feet around on them. They make wonderful massagers.

23) Put two tennis balls into a large sock. Tie the sock securely, then use the contraption as a back massager. This is a great tool to have in your hospital bag when you have a baby since concentrated back pressure can help to relieve a great deal of labor pain.

24) Make bizarre furniture.

25) Use tennis balls to anchor clusters of helium balloons at parties. Knot together a group of ribbons attached to balloons. Cut a small X in the top of a ball and insert the knot. Fill the ball with sand if you want extra security.

26) If you are an athlete (probably even if you aren’t), learning to juggle tennis balls can improve your hand-eye coordination and visual reaction time. It can also help to keep your brain sharp.

27) Put tennis balls on the tops of poles to mark the edges of your driveway or drainage ditch. The bright yellow balls will be visible in the dark and help you avoid driving into the ditch or over the grass in the dark.

28 ) Put a tennis ball on the end of a broomstick and use it to clean cobwebs from the ceiling.

29) Wrap a piece of sandpaper around a tennis ball. It’s easy on your hands and can be used to sand curves on furniture or woodworking projects.

christmas ornament30) Make a unique ornament for your home or to give as a gift.

31) Make an incognito squirt gun.

32) Prevent your bike’s kick stand from sinking into soft dirt by cutting a small slit in a tennis ball and sliding it over the kick stand.

33) If you find that the legs of your lawn chairs get stuck between the slats of your deck, put tennis balls on the bottoms to keep them where you want them.

34) Keep the yuckiness out of your pool by floating some tennis balls in the water. Supposedly, the balls will absorb body oils from people who swim in the water - but you need to replace them every few weeks to keep them fresh.

35) Cut a tennis ball in half and use it to get a better grip when opening jars. Just place the ball half over the lid, and the rubber on the inside grips the lid to help you rotate it easier.

36) You can apply the same concept to screwdrivers to give you a better grip. Simply cut a slit in the tennis ball and slide it over the screwdriver handle to give you a better grip.

37) Make a tiny stereo.

38 ) Ham radio enthusiasts with gigantic antennae on their cars can use a strategically placed tennis ball to keep the antennae from ruining the paint on the cars.

39) To keep a door knob from smashing into and damaging an interior wall, cut a large slit in a tennis ball and slide it over the knob. This trick also works great to keep curious toddlers out of off-limits rooms…until they figure out how to squeeze as they turn.

40) Use a tennis ball to explain internet security to n00bs.

41) Squeeze a tennis ball in your hand whenever you have an extra few minutes to increase your hand strength.

squeezing a tennis ball

42) If you want to leave your car door open but don’t want the interior lights to run down the battery, just wedge a tennis ball into the door frame to keep the light switch depressed.

43) When fueling up your car, use a tennis ball to keep the handle of the gas nozzle pushed in to avoid painful hand cramping.

44) Make a snowman ornament for your holiday tree.

45) Explain and illustrate molecular structure.

46) Make a pretty awesome pocket tripod for your small camera.

tennis ball tripod

47) Build a model trebuchet and hurl tennis balls into your annoying neighbor’s yard.

48) Make talking apple puppets. These will amuse kids to no end. Let them be creative and make up their own characters.

49) Put tennis balls under the windshield wipers of vehicles that will be stored for long periods. This will help the blades last longer.

50) Use the time-tested method for finding your car in a crowded parking lot: put a tennis ball on the end of the antenna.

Some words of caution: tennis balls should not be used as dog toys. The felt that covers them can wear down a dog’s teeth. Larger dogs can choke on tennis balls. Ask your veterinarian for advice on alternative toys.

And in case you’ve ever wondered, this is how to serve tennis balls.

94 Comments so far

  1. Kumar on March 22nd, 2008

    Wonderful,Very useful tips.

  2. anon on March 22nd, 2008

    you can also use them to unlock car doors….. drill a whole the size of the lock, press the whole against the lock and push hard. it works on older cars i dont know about new ones.

  3. [...] Cut an X in the top of each ball and put them on the bottoms of chair legs to cut down on noise and floor scuffs. If you don’t have scuffable floors (or all of your chair legs are already covered) check [...]

  4. OYO on March 22nd, 2008

    quite interested

  5. FRIST on March 22nd, 2008




  6. Bill on March 22nd, 2008

    Using them to unlock car doors does does not work. That was just a camera trick. Someone off camera was unlocking the door with a remote, the tennis ball does nothing. They busted this on mythbusters.

  7. spore on March 22nd, 2008

    no.. it won’t unlock doors, ever watch mythbusters?

  8. Robert on March 22nd, 2008

    using them to unlock car doors does not work. i have tried it along with multiple friends of mine after locking our car keys in the door with no success

  9. nanon on March 22nd, 2008

    ya, like he said but works best with vapor locks and air locks on an old space shuttle .

  10. Bob on March 22nd, 2008

    Tennis balls cannot be used to open car doors. Mythbusters did this one.

  11. A Tentative Personal Finance Blog on March 22nd, 2008

    Actually… the myth of tennis balls being able to puff air into a car door’s lock and open it was DEBUNKED on Discover Channel’s Mythbusters. Myth busted.

  12. Bob on March 22nd, 2008

    You can’t use a tennis ball to unlock car doors, and that’s for ANY car. They don’t put out enough pressure and not only that the doors are not sealed in such a way that the tennis ball pressure would ONLY push on the door lock. They even tested it on Mythbusters, watch it.

  13. Art Vandelay on March 22nd, 2008

    hahahaha #43 is the worst….used to hold the handle to avoid hand cramps? hahahaha that one sucked majorly.

  14. anon is dumb on March 22nd, 2008

    No, no it doesn’t. Sorry to tell you that everything you see on youtube is not real. Also, your car remote signal cannot be sent through a cell phone to someone near your car and have it open the doors.

  15. anon lies on March 22nd, 2008

    Untrue. Tennis balls will never open a locked car door.

  16. Shane Geiger on March 22nd, 2008

    Using a hypodermic needle to fill a tennis ball completely with water makes a tennis ball a good weight for juggling. Another way to weight a tennis ball for juggling is to cut a slit in one side and insert pennies or other items. Removing objects from inside the tennis ball is as simple as squeezing near the slit and dumping the items out. So, the tennis ball is good not only for juggling but also for storing small items.

  17. anon is stupid on March 22nd, 2008

    It’s been proven that tennis balls cant unlock car doors R-tard.

  18. Gjuro on March 22nd, 2008

    Right… just wanted to write that myself! :))
    I’ve seen people unlocking Audis and any VW from 90s..

  19. dave on March 22nd, 2008

    Yeah that tennis ball opening locks thing was fake by the way. That myth was busted on discov channel

  20. BigIsland on March 23rd, 2008

    another juggling use….cut a 1/2″ flap on 3 tennis balls & then fill with molten solder. let cool. now you have some really HEAVY balls for juggling. don’t drop them on your feet. juggle & get an upper body workout at the same time.

  21. anon2 on March 23rd, 2008

    ^^ You apparently don’t know about old cars either. This was a fake video. Unless you can prove to me it works, it doesn’t.

  22. Tim on March 23rd, 2008

    Anon, that’s based on a video which many believe to be fake.

  23. Acronyms on March 23rd, 2008

    1. Use them for your back massage
    2. Move Heavy Furniture

  24. [...] original post [...]

  25. Omegageek on March 23rd, 2008

    The Mythbusters busted the myth that they can be used to unlock car doors.


  26. anon-2 on March 23rd, 2008

    The comment about opening car door locks is bullshit. That video is an obvious hoax. If you’ve ever seen the inside of a car door, you’d realize it is impossible for a puff of air to rotate a lock cylinder and/or lift/move the levers that connect the cylinder to the locking mechanism.

  27. Pudifoot on March 23rd, 2008

    Anon: no. no you can’t. the youtube video you saw was faked. think “car remote” and you will see how it is done.

  28. Leighann on March 23rd, 2008

    YOu can also use them on the ends of a cow’s horn to keep it from doing damage to other animals in the same pasture.

  29. a on March 23rd, 2008

    I used to soak them in lighter fluid, light them on fire and kick them down the street. they’d leave a trail of flame kind of like the Roadrunner….

    also scares the hell out of cars.

  30. JoMama on March 23rd, 2008

    anon, I have a bridge for sale, great price for you! It’s in Brooklyn New York, and you can own it for one $2,000!

  31. Jason on March 23rd, 2008

    I find the simplicity of this game amusing; bring me your finest meats and cheeses.

  32. Chillstar on March 23rd, 2008

    A few dubious ones in there, but what about sound isolation?

    I also saw a moody, fat lady in LA a couple of weeks back with a tennis ball over each rear leg of her Zimmer frame to help it slide along.

  33. Daily Links 24 Mac 2008 on March 23rd, 2008

    [...] Lovers) What A Way To Go - (Wcbstv) 50 Great Things you Never Knew you Could do with Tennis Balls - (Life Hackery) Real Life Homer Simpson Process Revealed - (Pixeloo) 30 Error Messages You Never Want to See - [...]

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  35. J on March 23rd, 2008

    The car door trick only works with cars that have vacuum operated locks, and actuall can do damage to the vacuum system if done repeatedly. Vaccum operated locks can be found on older jaguars, and I beleieve some mercedes.

  36. J-dog on March 23rd, 2008

    Holy crap guys! How many people do we need posting that mythbusters busted the lock myth. On top of that, I love mythbusters, but thier scientific method is sometimes lacking. They do a really good job for a TV show, but they are not the deffinitive end to a theory. The episode on Vegetable oil for fuel proves that. As a person Who runs thier vehicle on vegetable oil I would love to help them answer a few questions.

  37. [...] 50 Great Things You never Knew You Could Do With Tennis Balls - ’nuff said. Go look. [...]

  38. David on March 23rd, 2008

    You can use tennis balls to play tennis. ;-)

  39. [...] 50 Great Things you Never Knew you Could do with Tennis Balls by The Life Hackery [...]

  40. Nixk on March 23rd, 2008

    Fill a slit open tennis ball with Blue Tip (strike anywhere) match heads, for a homemade hand grenade. Add black powder (for muzzle loading rifles) from your local sportsmans shop for extra oomph. DO NOT THROW AT ANYTHING ALIVE.

  41. [...] Today’s Happy web page is ? 50 Great Things you Never Knew you Could do with Tennis Balls?by?The Life Hackery [...]

  42. [...] 50 Great Things you Never Knew you Could do with Tennis Balls by The Life Hackery (tags: lifehacks DIY MAKE projects tips hacks) [...]

  43. [...] you can’t stand to throw them away, they tend to pile up quickly - so what can you do with them?read more | digg story addthis_url = [...]

  44. Telkom on March 24th, 2008

    One can also cut them in half and fill with salt water to get rid of slugs & snails. Apparently beer works as well, but who’d be that stupid?!

  45. Tony on March 24th, 2008

    When I was a mechanic we used to cut a slit in a tennis ball and slip it over the lock mechanisim of the hood so you don’t gash your head open when you stand up.

  46. driving course on March 25th, 2008

    You used to be able to open certain high end BMWs with a tennis ball cut in half… won’t explain how - just in case baddies are reading!

  47. Ednonymous on March 26th, 2008

    Yes, you can open car doors with a tennis ball… you just have to throw it hard enough to break a window first.

  48. Tennis on March 26th, 2008

    Wow thats amazing what you can do with a tennis ball !

  49. Wessel on March 27th, 2008

    Our car got robbed, we took it to a car-stealing specialist or something like that. And my dad asked if the tennis bal mythe worked. They said it WORKS on some cheap chinese cars, and on some older Mercedeses. So i can be done, they actualy tried it out.

  50. hammer on March 29th, 2008

    The best way to unlock a car door is with a key :-) lol

  51. OGaskin on March 29th, 2008

    Thanks so much.
    I have had 2 boxes of about 100 tennis balls in my garage for over a year. I ran out of things to do with them…. until now!

  52. Eli on March 29th, 2008

    Those are great! It’s amazing how you can use everyday things to save money.

  53. Elendae on March 29th, 2008

    Tennis balls are also good for target practice, if you’re a fencer. Just hang one from a rope and have fun.

  54. Biker d00d on March 29th, 2008

    You can cut tennis balls in half and use them as cones for doing motorcycle handling exercises at low speed.

  55. Cindy on March 29th, 2008

    NEVER put tennis balls in the DRYER! The dryer & anything you put in there with them will STINK for ages!

  56. chucko on March 29th, 2008

    How to open car with Tennis ball…

  57. toddshmack on March 29th, 2008

    nuh-uuuh! mythbusters said you can’t!!!!

    For the first time ever, I really feel like a PART of something!

    PS: Great article Delana. Thanks!

  58. random on March 30th, 2008

    I tested the myth on opening car doors, it works!! the one on youtube is fake though.

  59. bear on March 30th, 2008

    They forgot, cut a tennis ball in half, turn it inside out and put on the ground, it’ll pop back into shape and jump… L(

  60. hollybaby on March 30th, 2008

    omg some of you people are so damn annoying, if i had 5 bucks for every time someone said myth busters i would be richer than god damn bill gates ! only 1 person has to mention that! if people keep sayinhg you can open a car door after that they are just being stubborn

  61. [...] 50 Great Things you Never Knew You Could do with Tennis Balls Fun ideas for tennis balls. Great ways to use old tennis balls. [...]

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  63. Zoe on April 2nd, 2008

    Very cool. I need to check some of these out!

  64. zomg on April 7th, 2008

    So umm, I hear I can unlock my car door wif a tenny ball.

  65. [...] Link: The Life Hackery [...]

  66. Tennis on April 11th, 2008

    You forget about using tennis balls for a safe game of baseball if nobody brought their gloves…..

  67. on April 12th, 2008

    50 Great Things you Never Knew you Could do with Tennis Balls…

    Have you ever told a group to brainstorm 50 things they could do with tennis balls? Well, this group has indeed put some thought into the exercise!…

  68. [...] already seen that something as simple as a tennis ball can be put to lots of uses other than just playing a friendly game, but not everyone has a ton of [...]

  69. Lucy on May 21st, 2008

    Those are great

  70. Anna Hackman on June 5th, 2008

    Great article. I have a number 51 for you. Send them to Rebounces who is repurposing tennis balls and keeping them in play. Check out their site (

    I just included your article on my site as a last resort for tennis balls that have been torn.

  71. [...] “50 Great Things You Never Knew You Could Do with Tennis Balls" by Delana at Life Hackery (which I found via “Want to recycle used tennis balls" by Linda Frazier) [...]

  72. carlos george on October 26th, 2008

    Damn, I should quick tennis. I’ll be better off using my tennis balls for this stuff than trying to make the ATP tour.

  73. tennis camps on November 8th, 2008

    Great tips on tennis balls, here is another one. You can use tennis balls as pool cleaners by absorbing the oils in the pool.

  74. horoskop on November 18th, 2008

    Those are great! It’s amazing how you can use everyday things to save money.

  75. tennis genius on November 19th, 2008

    tennis balls are awesome tools to use hit people with :]

  76. Asifsys23! on December 10th, 2008

    Oh, the tennis ball and shower curtain thing is cool-sounding! When I get mildew buildup, I’ll be sure to try that.

    The only bad thing about the tennisballs+dryer is that it makes an awful sound, but I put my Calvin Klein back on and I almost fell asleep: it was that fluffy. It’s noisy, but it works.

  77. abub on January 9th, 2009

    im writing a speech on 10 ways to use a tennis ball and i think this site is my fav. so far …

    ( this is the first site i’ve visited LOL)

  78. Robert S. Wilson on January 20th, 2009

    It may seem silly to discuss the symptoms of erectile dysfunction since it shows up in such an obvious way. If you have it, there is one major symptom that you notice. A symptom is defined as a condition that signifies the presence of something else. In this case, the Erectyle Dysfunction is the symptom.

  79. Jacob on February 10th, 2009

    i cant beilieve how many ways you can use a tennis ball, im gonna set a traget and try to do them all

    there soo cooll

    great article!


  80. tuuduuh on February 19th, 2009

    wow i love tennis balls. its fun to tie a string to them and spin them to see how far they go/

  81. Smith1988 on March 27th, 2009

    My old man works in a car park and has sometimes helped people out getting into cars when they leave the keys inside. Tennis ball cut in half pushed against the door lock smack it with a hammer. It then unlocks only works on certain cars but he said commonly mercedes.

  82. Connnnooooorrrrrr on April 11th, 2009

    Mythbusters is awesome! and anyone who still thinks the tennis ball myth to unlock your car actualls works u r prabally really dumb!

  83. dando on April 12th, 2009

    I cut a small hole in a tennis ball and fill it with cat food. My cat has to hit it around the house to get pieces of food to fall out. only exercize my cat gets!!!

  84. bob on May 2nd, 2009

    I did the Tennis Ball Unlock thing and it woirked!!! on my 1978 Honda Civic.


  85. Cindy Sue on May 14th, 2009

    A coworker said that she heard at a recent health conference, that toxins are released when they slitted open. Is there any validity to this?

  86. Jules on July 21st, 2009

    Also, if you cut 2 tennis balls in half and put the 4 pieces under a speaker (inside of the ball facing down), it will reduce the vibration of that speaker. Very useful if your teenager upstairs likes loud music.

  87. Rafa on July 26th, 2009

    OK, for the last time, tennis balls will not unlock car doors. Now, get off your fat asses and go play tennis.

  88. Stanovi Trebinje on July 28th, 2009

    Wow. This is hilarious. There is very interesting ideas in this article.

  89. lionsden31 on August 15th, 2009

    One area often overlooked for using old tennis balls is for a cool fashion accessory.
    A couple balls strung or crocheted together would make a zany bikini top.
    Also to recycle your old headphones by attaching a half tennis ball at each end for a rugged and durable noise and cold ear protector.

    For exciting games cut a small slit in a few balls and fill with concrete
    for Bocce and carpet bowls.

  90. meesun on August 15th, 2009

    how do u cut the hole in the tennis balls, i need to put it on to the chair to stop ruining the new floors

  91. william on August 24th, 2009

    this is very interesting, very interesting
    and i’m also using this to be a school speech project thingy.

  92. haet on October 13th, 2009

    You can cut a tennis ball in half and use it for a cereal bowl.
    You can attach a straight pin to it and wear it as a broach.
    You can attach elastic to two tennis ball halves and wear them over your eyes for protection when sunbathing.
    You can put one in your pants pocket and try to convince your boss that you have a painful tumor on your leg and you need the day off to go to the doctor.

  93. [...] Speaking of laundry, put a tennis ball into your washing machine along with your shower curtain and 1/2 cup of vinegar, then wash with hot water. The vinegar will [...]

  94. Tennis Lady on November 10th, 2009

    We made wreaths out of tennis balls by stringing them on an old wire clothes hanger. (Used ice pick to make hole.) Decorate them with ribbons or garland. Perfect gift for the tennis player who has everything.

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