Are you looking to clean your pickleball paddle and want to understand what’s right and what’s not? Below is an exhaustive guide surrounding pickleball paddle care which includes how and why to clean it and what can be used to do the same.
Pickleball paddle care which includes its regular cleaning and upkeep is very important.
A pickleball player might wonder if it’s that really the case but in the article below we will look at the reasons behind the need to keep one’s pickleball paddle spick and span and how can one do that without increasing one’s costs too drastically.
Let’s start with the most obvious question and that is the reason why one must ensure regular cleaning and upkeep of the pickleball paddle.
Why to Clean a Pickleball Paddle?
The one question amateur pickleball players often ask is why should one clean one’s paddle? Other than the obvious, “cleanliness and hygiene is always good!” answer, there is a technical reason to do this too.
The main reason, however, is to do with how a pickleball paddle is constructed. The hitting surface of a pickle paddle is textured which allows players to impart spin during play.
If pickleball paddles aren’t cleaned regularly, the dirt that keeps getting accumulated on this very textured surface of these paddles will cause it to lose its texture and in turn, change the way they play for the player. Which is why it would become more and more difficult for the player to be in control of your shots.
At times the surface could become a lot smoother too, making it tougher for the player to impart spin.
There is also a good chance the paddle will wear out quicker because of all the dirt and sweat that could accumulated on the surface and the handle. This will force you to change your paddles more regularly than you would like and add the extra overhead of cost to your pickleball playing.
And while pickleball paddles aren’t as expensive as their tennis counterparts, the costs could accumulate very quickly if you don’t take proper care of them. (here’re the best pickleball paddles for beginners and how to choose your paddle for starters)
How to Clean a Pickleball Paddle?
As mentioned earlier, it is important to keep cleaning your pickleball paddle. Below mentioned are the ways to not just clean your paddle but also other methods using which you can keep your paddle in a tip-top shape for far longer.
Clean the Playing Surface
There are various ways to clean the playing surface and the edges of a pickleball paddle. One can use a clean, micro fiber cloth and abrasion-resistant liquid dishwasher soap or a glass cleaner to wipe the dirt off the surface of your paddle.
The one care one must need to take while doing this is to not rub the cloth too hard on the surface to avoid any further damage. Rub it gently till you think all the dirt is off the surface.
You could also use a soft terry tower and warm water to clean your paddle but make sure any excessive water is completely dried off with a dry cloth after that. You don’t want any moisture entering the core of your paddle.
The other precaution that should be taken is to avoid using a heavier cleaning solution which could leave behind some stickiness. That, in turn, could attract more dirt the next time you play the sport.
Clean the Grip
Because a paddle grip’s comes in close contact with one’s sweaty palms, it is most likely to get damaged first but the good news is they come with ergonomic, high-absorption grips these days which make it easier to manage.
All one needs to do is clean the grips daily after play with a moist cloth, similar to the one you use for the surface too.
Also, take note of the wear and tear and if it’s become too slippery and becoming lesser comfortable to use, the best bet is to change the grip with a new one.
Other Pickleball Paddle Care Methods
Avoid Extreme Climate
Paddles are affected by extreme heat and cold and can be severely damaged by those extreme weather fluctuations. Hence, it is necessary to protect them from such kind of weather, and the best way to do that is to cover it and avoid leaving them outside.
Store it Properly
Storing a paddle properly is an oft-underrated way to preserve your paddle. After the novelty of a new paddle has worn off, amateur players often forget to use covers for the paddle and throw paddles into one’s vehicle or even at home without considering the possibility it would shorten the life-span of the paddle.
As far as possible bring the paddle back home and not keep it out to be exposed to the elements in your vehicle. More on this in our storage section below.
Avoid Paddle Clashes
Clash of paddles during a rally is par for the course at times but do not deliberately ‘high-five’ your way with them. Use your hands and fists and in case you are reading this in times of a pandemic, do not high-five! (Or as was the case during the peak of the Covid pandemic, avoid playing doubles anyway).
In the heat of the moment, any kind of excessive force used while ‘high-paddling’ your partner could cause damage to your equipment.
Avoid Using Paddles to Lift up Balls
It looks super cool on television when professional racket sports players use their rackets or paddles to lift the ball up from the court but that comes with its own cost – a chance of damaging the paddle because of a clash with the court.
Avoid doing this in order to extend the life span of your paddle.
Keep Paddles off the Ground
You don’t want the paddles lying around on the ground or on court to ensure someone doesn’t trample over it accidentally causing damage.
Avoid Exposure to Water
It’s a paddle, not a fishing rod! Avoid getting it exposed to water or any kind of moisture like rain.
(if it does rain and the match goes on, try and save your paddle from the moisture by hiding it under your tee-shirt between points).
Because of the material used while manufacturing pickleball paddle, they can trap any kind of moisture inside them and that can cause irreversible damage to the paddle, making them unusable.
Don’t Throw it Around
Sure you are bound to feel frustrated or even angry during a match but that doesn’t give you an allowance to throw your paddle around. Other than it being bad form and disrespectful, it is a sure-shot way of damaging your paddle.
Pickleball Grip Changes
We had made a brief mention about the need to change your paddle grip in the section above.
One of the factors to consider while maintaining your pickleball paddle is the grip you use on it. It’s imperative to keep a tab on how your grip’s feeling and if needed to replace it.
In spite of all the care you might take, the paddle grip could wear out very quickly because it’s where the sweaty palms touch the paddle and you don’t want to play with that kind of a paddle.
Here’s our guide on the different types of paddle grips, how to change it and the pickleball grip brands.
Pickleball Paddle Storage
What we have discussed so far is how to clean a paddle but it’s also important to mind your pickleball paddle’s storage because that plays a part in improving its shelf life.
Extremely cold or extremely hot temperatures aren’t good for the pickleball paddle surface and handle and can bring a lot of damage to it.
Bitter cold could lead brittleness of the paddle surface and lead to cracks, while extreme heat could make it go soft, causing the separation of the surface from the core. As a result it’s vital to take care the paddle isn’t exposed to these kinds of scenarios.
While some of this exposure is unavoidable, what needs to be fervently avoided is any kind of unnecessary exposure. Always use a pickleball paddle cover if you cannot afford a pickleball bag and cover the paddles immediately when not in use.
Also when storing the paddle in a pickleball bag, ensure it is kept away from keys and other pointed objects which might cause damage to the equipment. This is also why it’s imperative your pickleball bag has different compartments for your paddles and other equipment and accessories.
Final Word on Pickleball Paddle Maintenance
As mentioned above it is imperative to maintain one’s pickleball paddle to increase its life and for optimum usage.
Cleaning the surface and the grip or changing the latter when needed is a part of the paddle maintenance, other than a few other aspects of the same which can be used to ensure a longer life of the paddle.