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How to Clean a Pickleball Paddle?

Pickleball paddle and ball on court.

Essentially, anything you own requires cleaning. Some things need more cleaning than others, but proper cleaning will extend the life and attractiveness of your possessions. Cleaning your pickleball paddle is an important aspect of paddle care.

It’s also important to know how to clean them correctly, because using the wrong materials or methods can harm your paddle.

Why Clean Your Pickleball Paddle?

Over the shoulder shot of man hitting a pickleball with a paddle.

Before we learn how to clean your pickleball paddle, you may want to know why you should clean it in the first place. Does it really make a difference? Yes it does.


The first reason to clean your pickleball paddle is functionality. If you want it to perform at its best, you’ll need to clean it regularly. A pickleball paddle has a textured surface.

This allows you to put spin on the ball. When dirt or other debris gets into the rough surface of the paddle, it affects how you play. It can make the hitting surface uneven, which reduces your control over the ball.

It can also make the surface smoother, which reduces your ability to put spin on the ball.

Extends Paddle Life

Another reason you should keep your paddle clean is because doing so extends the life of the paddle. No paddle will last forever, but how you care for your paddle will affect how long it lasts. If you don’t clean your paddle, the dirt and grime will cause the paddle to wear out more quickly.

It will also lose its attractive appearance over time. Pickleball paddles are relatively inexpensive, at least for budget models. However, there’s no reason to replace them more often than necessary.


The last and most obvious reason to clean your paddle is sanitation. When you use your paddle, dirt, sweat, and germs are guaranteed to accumulate. Do you want this on your paddle, particularly building up over time?

You are unlikely to get sick from not cleaning your paddle, but it is possible. Even if you don’t, it may make you feel ambivalent about the paddle, because you see it as gross.

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How to Clean a Pickleball Paddle?

Close-up of a pickleball and paddles on an empty court under sunny skies.

It’s a good idea to clean your paddle regularly. In fact, it’s best to give them a quick clean after each use to avoid the build up of dirt and sweat.

Cleaning With Water

One way to clean your paddle is with water and a lint-free cloth. You can use a terry cloth rag, cheese cloth, or even an old t-shirt. Wet the cloth, and then wipe your paddle gently.

Be sure to wipe the edges of the paddle as well as the face. After cleaning, be sure to wipe it with a dry towel. Water can damage your paddle, so it’s important to use a small amount of water and dry the paddle completely after cleaning.

Cleaning With Cleaners

If your paddle is very dirty, you may want to use more than water to clean it. The best options for this are dishwashing liquid or glass cleaner. If you choose to use dishwashing liquid, add it to the water, and then wet your cloth.

If you put the dishwashing liquid directly onto the racket, it can be difficult to remove all of it. Residue left behind is problematic. If you want to use glass cleaner, just spray it onto a dry cloth or the surface itself.

Wipe it down with a cloth. It’s best to go over it with a dry cloth, to be sure there’s not excess cleaner on the paddle. Alcohol is another option.

This has the benefit of sanitizing your paddle easily. You can apply it to the paddle directly, or pour it onto your cloth and then wipe the paddle. Our last option is multisurface cleaner.

Pledge is the most well known, but any multisurface cleaner will work well. Since they are safe for nearly any hard material, from wood to chrome, they are also safe for your paddle.

Magic Eraser

Another simple way to clean your paddle is with a magic eraser. Simply wet the eraser, and then wipe your paddle. Be sure to dry it with a clean cloth after cleaning.

Cleaning the Grip

Of course, you’ll need to clean your grip as well. You can clean the grip with plain water or dishwashing liquid. Follow the instructions above when cleaning the grip.

Glass cleaner, multisurface cleaner, or alcohol can be used, depending on your grip. Take care when using these cleaners on wrap grips, because they can destroy the adhesive. Use the cleaner sparingly, and then wipe away any excess cleaner.

Quick Clean

Another option is to clean your paddle easily or on the go. You can use cleansing wipes for this. Baby wipes, alcohol wipes, and personal cleansing wipes are all reasonable options.

Alcohol wipes are the best option, because there’s only one ingredient. However, avoid wipes with moisture added, because they may leave behind a residue.

What to Avoid When Cleaning Your Pickleball Paddle?

Pickleball equipment on the court.

There are some things you should avoid when cleaning your pickleball paddle. These include excess water and some cleaning solutions.


Small amounts of water are safe to use when cleaning your paddle. However, you should avoid submerging your paddle in water, as well as prolonged contact with water. This is because most paddles have a honeycomb core.

This is designed to provide the paddle with power and ball control. If water gets into this core, your paddle won’t function correctly.

Avoid Harsh Cleaners and Residue

You should also avoid harsh cleaners, or those that leave behind a residue. Harsh cleaners can damage the paddle or grip. Cleaners with bleach and oven cleaners are a few examples.

Avoid cleaners with wax or other ingredients that can cause build up. Furniture polish is an example of this type of cleaner. They leave behind a residue that can affect ball control and longevity of your paddle.

Caring for a Pickleball Paddle

An attarctive senior hits a two-handed backhand during a pickleball match.

In addition to cleaning your paddle, there are things you can do to keep your paddle in good shape. These basic care tips can extend the life of your paddle.

Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Extreme temperatures can damage your paddle. High temperatures can cause your paddle to become soft, and separate the surface of the paddle from the core. This can make your paddle unsuable.

Extreme cold can also have a negative effect. Cold causes the paddle to become brittle, which makes it more likely to break. Don’t worry about playing in hot or cold temperatures.

Your paddle will be fine during play. However, avoid laying the paddle on the court, or other surfaces that can collect a lot of heat in the summer. You’ll also need to avoid leaving the paddle in your car.

Temperatures in your car can be more extreme than those outside, particularly in the summer. If you leave your paddle in your car, it can easily be damaged by extreme temperatures.

Use a Paddle Case

A paddle case is a great way to keep your paddle clean and safe when not in use. The case will prevent the paddle from rubbing against surfaces or other paddles, which will cause wear on the face of the paddle. A pickleball bag is an even better option.

It should have compartments for your paddles, balls, and personal items.

Avoid Hitting the Paddle

Paddle fives might seem fun, but they are risky for your paddle. This is when you high five a partner with your paddles instead of your hands. This can cause your paddle to break.

You should also avoid throwing your paddle. Picking the ball up with your paddle looks cool, but this should be avoided as well. You may hit the court with the paddle, which could damage it.

Remember, your paddle is designed for hitting a pickleball ball. It’s not designed for hitting hard surfaces.

Store it Properly

When not playing, be sure to store your paddle correctly. Keep it in a climate controlled environment. Your home is perfect.

Your backyard shed isn’t. If you can’t afford a pickleball bag or cover, you can wrap the paddle in a towel or old t-shirt. Put it in a safe place where it won’t be crushed or broken.

Replacing a Paddle or Grip

Knowing when to replace your paddle or grip is also important. To play at your best, your paddle needs to be at its best as well.

Replacing the Paddle

You’ll know its time to replace your paddle by the sound it makes when you hit the sweet spot. If the sound has changed, the sweet spot may be dead. If your game is suffering, this is also a sign it’s time for a replacement.

Replacing the Grip

You should replace the grip every two to three months. You’ll know its time to replace the grip if it appears dirty, worn, or loose. It may also lose its tacky feel.

How to Clean a Pickleball Paddle? FAQs

How long does a pickleball paddle last?

If you play competitively, you’ll replace your paddle about once a year. However, if you simply play as a hobby, you can expect the paddle to last two to three years.

What’s the best material for pickleball paddles?

Graphite is the best material for pickleball paddles, according to professionals. However, which is best for you will depend on your experience and playing style.

Can you play pickleball in the rain?

Water is dangerous to pickleball paddles, but you don’t have to stop playing when the rain comes. You should be sure to dry your paddle after the match, and between points.