Tennis balls rubber is not biodegradable, which makes them probably the most difficult of any kind of sports ball to recycle. Bit of a problem, and that’s an understatement, as about 300 million balls are produced each year! So, just what is there to do with these balls once they’ve passed their useful playing life? Check out these fantastically canny reuse tennis ball ideas. Not just a tripping hazard!
1. Wildlife refuge
When the painstakingly crafted nests of resident harvest mice were washed away in flooding, one of the Gloucestershire Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust wardens noticed that tennis balls were roughly the same size as the lost nests. With the help of volunteers he cut small holes in the side of several tennis balls. Then put a few strands of straw inside. Finally he nailed the tennis ball housing to trees in the area.
The new homes were an almost overnight success, with families of up to ten mice holing up in each one, and the clever technique has been reused to help these endangered British animals to re-colonise areas in which they used to be seen. A stunning way to reuse tennis balls.
2. Scuff mark remover
The scuff marks from dark soled shoes can be a serious pain to remove from floorboards and polished flooring, yet they’re light work with an old tennis ball!
Cut a slit in one side of a tennis ball, big enough to fit the end of an old broom handle. Simply rub the ball over any scuff marks and watch the rubber come right off onto the fuzzy surface.
3. Garage parking guide
Hang a tennis ball from a string in your garage so that the ball will touch the windscreen of your car when properly parked. No more scratches or accidentally shutting the door on your car – the perfect way to reuse tennis balls!
4. Camera stabilising unit
Want a steady result when using a video camera off a tripod, without upgrading to expensive image stabilisation technology? Take a look at this DIY counterbalanced tennis ball grip, which can be put together with some general tools and a hardware bits and bobs for just a few pounds. Clever!
5. Jar opener
Cut your tennis ball along the seam with a Stanley knife and you’ll have two handy rubber jar openers. This reuse is so easy you barely need to see the step-by-step instructions, but in case you do, here they are!
6. Vinyl shower curtain cleaner
Mildew on your shower curtain? Take it down and put it into the washing machine with an old tennis ball. Add 100ml distilled white vinegar to the detergent drawer and wash on 40C. The tennis ball scrubs away grime whilst the eco-friendly vinegar kills off the mould.
7. Handy holder
So cute! This little guy can hold your spare key, a tea towel or letters ready to be posted. Carefully cut a slit into one side of your tennis ball – eyes are optional! To affix your handy holder to a vertical surface you can use a screw, a suction cup or even some strong magnets.
8. Pillow refluffer
If your pillows are more concrete than cushioning, don’t chuck them out reuse tennis balls! Run them through a tumble dryer at the laundrette with a few clean tennis balls thrown in the mix and they’ll soon be battered back into shape!
9. Extra DIY power
For an instant boost in grip and the amount of torque you can put on a screw, make a small slit in a tennis ball and slide it over the handle of your screwdriver. To hammer gently, 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. Lightly spray the underside of a piece of sandpaper with temporary adhesive and wrap around a tennis ball to help you get a perfect sanded curve.
10. Awkward cobweb grabber
Wrap an old rag around a tennis ball, attach with a couple of elastic bands and chuck it at all those hard-to-reach cobwebs. Beware of falling spiders!