This may seem like an odd topic for a post, but I’m hoping it will be useful to someone, somewhere. If nothing else, it kept me occupied on a 4-hour drive today.
In the past 24 hours, I’ve seen three instances of tennis balls being used for something besides tennis. I thought that was kind of odd, but as I drove along today, passing the time by listing all the alternate uses of tennis balls I could think of, I realized that tennis balls are actually quite useful. Even without a great backhand!
First, the non-tennis uses I saw for tennis balls in the past 24 hours:
1) Cover for a trailer hitch – The truck owner had cut a wide slit in a tennis ball and plopped it on his trailer hitch, I guess to make it more visible.
2) Walker leg cover – I don’t believe I’ve seen an elderly person on a walker that didn’t have tennis balls on the back legs. In fact, some companies sell pre-cut tennis balls for just this purpose.
3) Jar opener – This is the one I pinned last night. Basically, you cut a tennis ball along the seam into two halves. Each half then can be used to open jars.
4) Laundry fluffer – A friend throws a couple of tennis balls into her dryer when she’s drying towels, sheets, or blankets. She says it cuts down on drying time and fluffs them up at the same time.
5) Shower curtain cleaner – The same friend puts a tennis ball in the washer with her shower curtain and some vinegar. According to said friend, the felt (or whatever it is) of the tennis ball acts as a scrubby on the shower curtain. I haven’t tried it, but considering the sad state of my shower curtain liner, I should. Maybe I’ll toss in some vodka, too.
6) Antenna marker – I remember this one from the 70s or 80s–my mall-shopping days, when people would put a tennis ball on their antennas to make their cars more easy to spot in the crowded parking lots. Back then, almost every row of the parking lot had at least one car with a tennis ball on its antenna. (Kids, this was before we were able to click the key fob to make our car lights flash.)
[Note: the next three items all involve body parts. If you're experiencing pain, you should check with your doctor before trying any of these activities.]
7) Back massager – I usually just put a single tennis ball on the floor and work the knotted area over it, but the linked article suggests duct-taping two tennis balls together to create a groove between the two tennis balls and align that with your spine. (You could also just stuff them in a sock and tie a knot in the end of it.) The article then says you should gently roll your back along the tennis balls, or simply lie still and let the tennis balls do the work. (This is one of those things that, for me, hurts before it feels better. If that makes any sense.)
8) Foot massager – I used to do this regularly but haven’t done lately because my feet have been pain-free. I have at least one 14-hour workday coming up (with 11 of those hours on my feet) soon, and I may pack a couple of tennis balls, just in case.
9) Hand strengthener/stress reducer – Hold a tennis ball in your hand and squeeze for one second. Relax and repeat.
10) Secret hiding place – I know someone who hides her spare house key inside a tennis ball on a shelf in her garage. She cut a small slit along the seam and then glued it back together. I doubt it would hold together for a tennis game, but it’s fine on a shelf.
11) Furniture leg cover – Along the lines of walker leg covers, you can cut slits in tennis balls and put them on the legs of furniture to be moved. OR if you have a deck with gaps in the boards larger than the legs of your outdoor furniture, plop a tennis ball on the legs to make them wider.
12) Improv mallet – Years ago (in Reader’s Digest, I think, or maybe Real Simple), I saw a tip for converting a hammer to a temporary mallet by fitting a cut tennis ball over the face surface and neck of the hammer. MacGuyver, move over!
13) Parking guide in my parents’ garage – A ball hangs from a string in the garage and when it touches the van’s windshield, the van is far enough in the garage to close the door but far enough away from the wall to allow my mother to get in the house. A pictorial example from derektor:
And then there’s the best use of all, especially if you’re wanting to make a friend for life: dog toy!