Pickleball is a very fun and exciting game. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s essentially a cross between tennis, badminton, and ping pong. The sport is very beginner-friendly, and its easy to learn.
However, it can also be highly challenging and complex. In fact, professional pickleball players bring home about $100,000 to $200,000 a year.
In addition to learning how to play pickleball, it’s important to understand how to care for your pickleball paddle. This includes whether or not you can expose it to water.
Can Pickleball Paddles Get Wet?
The short answer is, no. You shouldn’t get your pickleball paddles wet. The water can be trapped inside them, which means they won’t work correctly.
We’ll get into why in a moment, but first, let’s learn about how pickleball paddles are constructed.
Pickleball Paddle Anatomy
There are different types of pickleball paddles. They are made of different cores and materials. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks. All paddles will have a core, face, edgeguard and handle. However, the materials they are made of varies.
There are three different pickleball cores. They are aluminum, polymer, and nomex. Each is suited to a different play style. Each of these cores has a honeycomb style construction, but the materials they are made with differs.
An aluminum core pickleball paddle is designed for finesse. Aluminum is lightweight, which means the ball comes away from the paddle a bit slower. This offers an extra moment to control the ball. They are great for touch shots and third shot drops.
They aren’t a good choice for power hitters. This is because aluminum sacrifices little power. Aluminum also bends or dents easily, so it won’t last long in the hands of a power hitter.
Polymer core paddles are considered balanced. They offer great control, without losing power. They are less deflective, which gives you a moment to control the ball, while still providing plenty of power.
Polymer core paddles are the most popular and common cores used today.
Nomex was used in the first pickleball paddles, and still has its place today. It’s lightweight, but very hard. Nomex starts out as a material similar to cardboard. It’s then dipped in resin.
This makes it incredibly resilient, so it can endure power shots. Balls jump off the paddle quickly with this type of core. You’ll sacrifice some control, but get an increase in power.
Pickleball Paddle Surfaces
The core comprises the interior of the pickleball paddle, but it’s only half the equation. The surface of the paddle also affects how the paddle performs. They are commonly made of carbon fiber, graphite, and composite. They can also be composed of wood.
Carbon fiber is actually a fabric that is made of, you guessed it, carbon fibers. It’s the most expensive material for pickleball paddles. The material is bonded to the honeycomb core, for an extremely lightweight and durable surface.
It offers the best control of any surface, but it doesn’t provide as much power as other options.
Graphite paddles are a little less expensive than carbon fiber versions. It is a little less durable and heavier than carbon fiber, but it’s still light weight. It’s also extremely thin.
Graphite is very hard, which prevents the ball from sinking into the paddle. This gives you the best shot placement of any paddle.
They offer exceptional touch, but again, you will sacrifice some power.
Composite paddles are made with a fusion of different materials. The textured surface allows you to put spin on the ball, and it provides more power than other options.
The original pickleball paddle was made from wood, just as the first tennis rackets were. However, these days, wood isn’t the best option for your paddle.
Wood paddles are the cheapest option, and they are very durable. This makes them good for certain situations.
They are ideal if you want to play pickleball occasionally. They are also a good choice for kids, because they are very durable. If you simply want a few spare paddles for guests, a wood paddle can do the trick.
Water and Pickleball Paddles
Now we know that pickleball paddles have a honeycomb core. This core is the heart of the paddle. This is easy to see in the way different cores impact how the paddle performs.
If your paddle gets water inside the honeycomb, your paddle won’t perform correctly. It impacts the weight and vibration of your paddle, which will greatly affect your game.
In fact, if water gets into the paddle, it can be best to just replace the paddle.
Will Rain Harm My Pickleball Paddle?
If water is the enemy of pickleball paddles, what about playing in the rain? Can you wrap up a game when the clouds gather, or will it harm your paddle.
The good news is, you can get away with playing pickleball in the rain. It’s best to wipe the rain off the paddle when you get a chance. However, rain is unlikely to find its way into the paddle.
You shouldn’t expose it to rain for a long period of time. This means you should be sure to bring the paddle in as soon as you are done playing. Dry it thoroughly before putting it away.
The #1 Water Rule
Pickleball is a game for individuals. Everyone has their own play style, and even opinions on how to play. However, everyone agrees with one fact.
You should never submerge your paddle in water. This is a sure way to get water into the core, where it can ruin your paddle.
To recap, a little rain is fine. Taking your paddle for a swim or dropping it in the lake is not a good idea.
Caring for Your Pickleball Paddle
In addition to avoiding water, there are some things you should know about caring for your pickleball paddle. Some players are extremely particular about their paddles. Others show little care or concern.
Many players fall into a middle ground. No matter where you stand on the spectrum, knowing how to care for your paddle can help you extend its life.
Cleaning the Paddle
Cleaning your paddle will help to extend its life and performance. Dirt will get into the surface of the paddle. This can affect the spin of the ball, so cleaning your paddle is important.
However, you should clean it the right way. One method is to use a magic eraser. There’s little information about this method, so you may want to check with your paddle manufacturer to see if this is safe.
Some sources also recommend using glass cleaner. This seems like a good idea, but really it’s overkill. It can also leave an unwanted residue on your paddle.
So, how do you clean your paddle? The best method is to use a damp cloth. Just wipe the paddle down with the cloth. Pay attention to the face, making sure to remove the dirt.
Don’t forget to wipe down the edge and grip of the paddle as well. As mentioned earlier, do not use excess water when cleaning your paddle.
Avoid Extreme Temperatures
Pickleball paddles are also affected by temperature. If they get hot, it will soften the surface of the paddle. If it’s too cold, it will make the paddle more brittle and prone to breakage.
This doesn’t mean you can’t play pickleball in extreme weather conditions. It’s fine to play pickleball in the winter or summer. However, don’t lay your paddle on the court in summer. It’s too hot.
Don’t leave your paddle outside, no matter the weather. This is pretty obvious. You are unlikely to leave the paddle on the court. However, this also applies to your car.
Your car isn’t climate controlled, and the fluctuating temperatures aren’t good for your paddle. The temperatures in your car can be even higher than they are outside during the summer.
Watch Where You Put Your Paddle
Lastly, be careful where you put your paddle. Don’t leave it in an area where it can be stepped on, come into contact with water, or get dirty.
The simplest way to keep your paddle safe is to think about it like you do your cell phone. If you wouldn’t place your cell phone in an area, don’t put your paddle there either.
Is It Ok if a Pickleball Paddle Gets Wet FAQs
How long does a pickleball paddle last?
A graphite or composite paddle will last 2 to 3 years if you are a recreational player. Professional players replace their paddles at least once a year.
Can I clean my paddle with water?
You can clean your paddle with water by using a damp rag. There’s no reason to place the paddle under running water, or spray water onto the paddle. A damp cloth is all that’s needed.
What’s a “dead” pickleball paddle?
A dead pickleball paddle is essentially damaged or worn out. All pickleball paddles will have “dead” spots. These are spots where the performance isn’t the best, usually around the corners and handle. Over time, the honeycomb structure wears down or becomes damaged, which makes the paddle dead. You may notice a change in the sound when you hit the ball, or realize the paddle isn’t performing as well as it used to.