How to deflate a basketball with or without tools? | Detailed Guide

Inflating a basketball is common, and everyone does it quite often. When you purchase a new ball, it is always inflated, you need not inflate. However, as you play with the ball for quite a while, some of the air escaped out of the ball, which now can not be used for game purposes unless it is inflated again.

However, there is an uncommon question that might pique your curiosity.

That is! “How To Deflate A Basketball?”

Deflate a basketball

Hey, stop! Tell me why someone would need to deflate a basketball?

Cool! This is what I expected from you. Your question is legit; we inflate our basketball to get it ready to jump from one hand to another.

But why is there any need to deflate a ball?

Bear with me for some more time, you would get all of your answers shortly. So let’s get started!


How To Deflate A Basketball And Why?

Before we forge ahead to find out how to deflate a ball, either it is leather basketball or rubber one, let us dive deep to understand why someone would ever need to deflate it. Sounds interesting, right?

Have a look:

Transport or storage

You might want to switch from one city to another and be interested in keeping your Outdoor ball with you. This is not unusual. A player can survive without grabbing a pizza slice for months, but to spend days and nights without playing your favorite game is next to impossible.

Therefore, undoubtedly, one would want to spare some space for the ball in his suitcase. But a completely inflated ball will demand much of the space in the suitcase. Here comes the real problem which forces a traveler to deflate the ball, get a small amount of the air out of it, and let your suitcase accommodate your lovey shirt, jogger, and shorts.

Another reason for deflating a ball is to store it for winter so that it ends up consuming less space on your shelves or stores.


Ever got the experience of driving a car with too much air in its tires? The one sitting beside you would judge your driving skills. Is this a car or a football? Jerking and jumping ups and down while driving on even and smooth road. This is exactly the case with an overinflated basketball.

A ball with too much air in it will end up making playing basketball more difficult as the bouncing rate would be higher than expected, either it is an indoor basketball or an outdoor. And the players will hardly be able to grip the ball.

Dribbling may seem easier at first, but with the higher amount of air in the ball, the higher would be the bounce rate and thereby, no control of you over the ball.

Getting it?

At this point, you might have got popped up another question into your mind. How would someone overinflate it? The likely answer is that the ball was overinflated when you or your friend pumped it up.

Are you serious? I consciously pumped it up to the correct pressure, and there was no extra amount of air.

All right, cool down.

Here are other possibilities that might have caused it to overinflate. To find out the scientific reasons, we need to play around with the basic concepts of thermodynamics, which says that energy can never be created nor destroyed. And to keep an equilibrium in the system, air from high-pressure points will move to the point with lower pressure.

There are chances that you have pumped up the ball to the correct pressure outside on a cold day (lower pressure), and then a few days later, it is very warm (higher pressure) outside. Hence, the pressure inside the ball increases, ending up ball overinflated.

Altitude is another important factor responsible for the over-inflation of the ball. The ball gets overinflated when brought to the place of high altitude.

Overinflation may result in the ball become damaged. In such cases, you might need to patch it.

What do you need to deflate a ball?

Since now, you have grasped why a basketball gets overinflated, let us embark on learning the process needed for deflating the ball either it is molten basketball or from Spalding.

To deflate your basketball, there are a couple of handy tools to get out the air without any hassle.

Below are the two requisites.

  • Pump
  • Inflation needles

The inflation needle is usually packaged with the air pump, but one can purchase it separately from any store. This is the needle you use to inflate the ball.

One most crucial thing to keep in mind is to moisture the needle before inserting it into the ball. You can moisturize it by licking it but, this is, obviously, not a hygienic way to do.

Is it necessary to keep the pump attached to the needle?

No, not at all. There are two choices regarding whether or not the pump is attached to the needle.

  1. It is strongly recommended that you keep the pump attached if only a small amount of air is to be extracted
  2. If you want a considerable amount of air to be removed, or you want to deflate your ball completely, the best approach is to detach the needle from the pump.

Therefore, if your desired choice is the former, you don’t need to remove the pump’s needle. Inset the needle and remove air to the correct amount of pressure you want.

However, if you want to remove a significant amount of air, detach the needle and insert it into the ball. You will hear air getting out of the ball slowly.

To enhance the outflow, you can tightly squeeze the ball with your hand, or you can hug it by putting your arms around it and press it. Now, if it feels like the air pressure has been reduced to a significant amount, you can remove the needle; if not, repeat the process to get to the required amount of air.

What if you do not have an inflation tool?

Some other tools can do the job, but you have to be extremely careful in using them. A bobby pin, a sewing machine, or any other long and stiff implement. Plus, it is imperative to use them correctly since they are not made for it; they can damage the basketball valve, which in return will make your basketball useless.

Can you deflate the ball without an air pressure gauge?

The straight answer is YES!

Here are some tricks to measure the air pressure without actually using a pressure gauge. You can check the air by dropping it from about chest level and see if it bounces back to your waist. If it does, it is good to go with it. However, if it bounces higher than that, it is probably overinflated and demands you to remove more air.

Another important thing to keep in mind is moistening the needle. This is requisite for the lubrication makes it easier to insert the needle, thus prevents damage to the valve.

Deflating a basketball without tools

It might sound hopeless when there is no needle or any tool to deflate the basketball. However, hope isn’t yet all lost. Here is the trick:

  1. Place the towel on one of the shelves in the refrigerator and place the clean ball on it. You can clean the outside of the ball with a damp rag, etc.
  2. Next, close the door of the refrigerator.
  3. The cold-by following the law of conservation of energy- will reduce the air pressure in the ball.


If you are a basketball enthusiast, you might come across situations where you want to deflate your basketball. You may have to travel and bring your ball with you, there is no room in your suitcase where the ball can be placed, or you want to store it for winter, or the ball is already overinflated, you will want to deflate the ball completely and considerably reduce the air pressure so that you can squeeze it to reduce its size. We have mentioned some of the methods that we hope will help you do the job without worrying.


Is it okay to deflate a ball?

If you want to bring your ball with you, store it for winter, or be overinflated, it is a great idea to deflate it. However, completely deflating a ball can damage the outside panels on the ball. To avoid this damage, deflate slowly.

How do you deflate a basketball without a needle?

If you don’t have access to a pump and needle, you can use a pen, paper clip, sewing needle, or anything long enough to get into the valve. Keep in mind that it’s tricky and can damage the valve. However, with the utmost care, one can get the job done with no much hurdle.

Why do balls deflate?

Thanks to physics, we know that the nitrogen and oxygen atoms that make up 99% of air diffuse through the space between the molecules that make up the ball’s material. Hence, they deflate over time.

How long does it take for a basketball to deflate?

There is no generalized answer to the question. Because every ball has its own capacity. Some could hold up the air in them for 3-4 months, while some deflate after 5-6 months. Though, other than the ball capacity/quality it also depends on how you treat your ball.


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