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When you think of uses for tennis balls beyond, uh, playing tennis, you probably imagine throwing one for your dog in a game of fetch. Unfortunately, as we’ve noted before, that’s not actually a great idea for the health of your furry friend. So what else is to be done with all those tennis balls you have lying around your garage? Even if you don’t play the sport, there are plenty of things you can do around the house with the brightly colored balls. Let’s go over a few.
Get rid of scuff marks
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Scuff marks on your wooden floors are no match for a tennis ball. Using a sharp knife or razor blade, cut an X on one side of the ball, then slip it over a broom handle or other long stick. Now, you can use it to buff scuffs with ease.
Relieve sore muscles
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Pop a tennis ball in your carry-on or gym bag so after a long flight or workout, you can roll it over your muscles for some instant relief. While sitting on the airplane, roll it under your feet to soothe them or stick it under your thigh to prevent stiffness. If you have back pain, lean against a wall with a tennis ball wedged between the wall and a painful knot; the directed pressure will work wonders.
Baby-proof in a pinch
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Instead of buying those custom baby-proofing doo-dads, consider tennis balls, which you can slice open and stick on sharp corners to protect your kids’ heads. Bring a few cut-open tennis balls with you on vacation or even to restaurants to instantly child-proof any pointy tables you may encounter on the go.
Sand down round curves
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When you’re having a hard time sanding something round, like a shelf bracket, wrap some sandpaper around a tennis ball so you can easily hug the curve without leaving any rough spots. Sure, you can use a specially-designed sanding attachment for your rotary tool… as long as you have a rotary tool, which not everyone does. A tennis ball is much cheaper.
Open stuck jar lids
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Cut a tennis ball clean in half to produce two half spheres that are ideal for opening tight lids on jars. The fuzzy outside of the ball gives you superior grip while the rubbery inside clings to the lid. Keep one half in the kitchen and the other in the garage and never strain over a jar again. (Yes, the jar in the photo wouldn’t fit a tennis ball, but small jelly jars with sticky lids, your days are numbered.)
Speed up your laundry time
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Toss two tennis balls into your dryer to speed up the dry time. One word of advice: Use white tennis balls to hedge against dye transfer and avoid sporting underwear with neon green splotches. (Or check out our other tips for drying clothes faster here.)
Put an end to slamming doors
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If you have a door that regularly bangs into the wall—either because of careless kids or a reckless hinge—cut a big X into a tennis ball and slide it over the handle to prevent the protrusion from marking up or even penetrating your wall. (Also consider a hacked-up pool noodle to stop the door from slamming shut.)
Hold your keys (or anything else)
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An adorable hack we love involves cutting your tennis balls in half, then cutting a long slit through the exterior of each side. Mount those half spheres to your wall and suddenly, you have a place to stick your key ring when you come home or place your dishtowel when you’re not using it. Check out our full tutorial here.
Fluff an old pillow
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Before you toss out your lumpy old pillow, try giving it some tennis ball therapy. Throw the pillow into an empty dryer with a ball or two and let them beat it back into shape.
Keep a pool clean
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In between regular cleanings, toss some tennis balls into your pool so the absorbent exterior can suck up any oils left on the surface, like regular old body gunk or sunscreen. They float and bob along, collecting ickiness as they go, so it won’t be hard to retrieve them later.
Grip your tools
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If you’ve having a hard time gripping your screwdriver or wrench, cut a small X into a tennis ball and slide it over the handle to give yourself a little more oomph. You can do this with anything: Big spoons for cooking, a feather duster, whatever.
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Tossing a tennis ball in your toilet tank reduces the amount of water used for each flush ever so slightly by taking up some volume in there, which is better for the environment and your wallet, as noted by HowStuffWorks. (Just don’t put cleaning liquid in there.)
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Is there a knot of cords under your desk that you’d prefer not to acknowledge? It happens to the best of us, but tennis balls can help. Grab a few balls and cut a slit in each. Thread a cord or two through every ball, then let the balls do the work of weighing them down and keeping them separated, per HowStuffWorks.
DIY a mallet
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Some projects require a bit of knocking to get the pieces together, but a regular metal hammer isn’t the ideal tool, as its force may be too strong for direct contact with wood. Family Handyman has a solution: Cut an X in a tennis ball and slip it over the hammerhead. Now you have a softer mallet with which you can bonk your stuff.
Organize small tools
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Family Handyman also suggests grabbing some tennis balls, cutting slits in each, and using them to organize your small tools. Whether it’s the screws in your toolbox or the buttons in your sewing kit, a tennis ball will keep them safe no matter how much you shuffle the box around. Use a permanent marker to label each ball with the contents inside.
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Cobwebs in the corners of your ceiling can be hard to reach, but you don’t need a ladder or special tool to banish them. All you need is a tennis ball and some pantyhose, per Redbook. Stuff the ball into the part where your foot would go, hold the other end, and toss the ball toward the dust. It’ll cling to the fabric and come right down, plus you’ll have some fun.
Keep stuff safe
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Cut a slit in a tennis ball to make an easy, stealthy wallet. When you go to the beach or the gym, you may leave your stuff unattended for a moment, but a thief is unlikely to look inside a raggedy old tennis ball in your bag. Little does the thief know, this is where you’ve stashed your valuables.