How to Deflate a Soccer Ball

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Whether you overinflate your ball or want to travel and need to compress it to fit in your luggage, you need to know how to deflate a soccer ball. This knowledge is crucial as any slight mistake could damage the internal bladder and will give you a significant amount in repair. 

How To Deflate A Soccer Ball

There are several ways to deflate a soccer ball, depending on your situation. Some methods are industry approved while some call for sheer creativity and scientific application. 

There are four common ways to deflate a soccer ball: 

  • Using a pump and a needle 
  • Using a paperclip or pen
  • Using a refrigerator 
  • Using an air pressure gauge 
Person stepping on a soccer ball trying to deflate it

How To Deflate A Soccer Ball With A Pump And A Needle

This is the best and safest way to deflate a ball. It releases the air gradually and evenly hence protects the internal bladder.

Inflating pumps come with detachable adopter needles that you can use when inflating or deflating a ball. When you want to pump in some pressure into the ball, keep the pin on the nozzle. However, when you want to remove some air, detach the pump needle from the nozzle.

Step One: Locate The Valve

Find the valve on your soccer ball. In most cases, it is a tiny hole of strong silicon material on the outer panel. Check for any debris or dirt that may block the valve and wipe it off.

Step Two: Moisturize The Needle

Lubricate the tip of your adopter needle using either saliva, spray lubricant, or water to prevent it from damaging the soccer ball valves. I recommend spraying lubricant or coconut oil because they make sliding the needle easier.

Step Three: Insert The Needle

Use your dominant hand to slowly and steadily push the needle through the valve until it reaches the bladder pipeline. With your other hand, hold the ball close to the valve as you insert the needle.  

A standard needle should have a thick end with a bigger diameter that you can hold onto and prevent it from entirely slipping into the ball. Be gentle and careful not to damage the valve or the inner bladder.  Once the correct length is in, you will hear the hissing sound meaning that air is coming out. 

Maintain the needle in that position while holding the ball tightly. Try to squeeze the air out and prevent the valve from snapping. You can hug the ball in your arms, stand on it or kneel on it to speed up the process, and get a good grip.

Step Four: Pull The Needle Out

Once you feel satisfied with the amount of air left in the ball, slowly pull the needle out and keep it in a safe place for another deflating session. 

How To Deflate A Soccer Ball Using A Paperclip Or Pen

Sometimes you find yourself in a situation where you have to deflate the ball, yet you do not have the correct tools to do the job. In such moments you have to be creative enough with the materials at your disposal. 

Soccer ball on the grass

A paper clip or a ballpen are perfect substitutes for the pump needle yet not an industry recommendation. Any slight mistake with the could cause severe damages to the ball.

Step One: Straighten The Paperclip

Open the outer U-shape of the paper clip and straighten it. Ensure that you apply enough pressure not to break it because you will need as much length as possible.

Step Two: Insert The Paperclip

Use saliva, water, or coconut oil to moisten the tip of your paperclip, then gently push it through the valve of the ball. Since a clip can be slippery at times, you may need to wear a glove on your dominant hand to have a firm grip.

Sometimes it is good to check and clean the valve from the dirt and debris from the playing field that might block it. Ensure that you keep the clip at the center of the valve (at a ninety degrees angle) to avoid damaging the internal bladder. 

If you are using a ball pen, ensure that its thickness does not exceed the valve’s diameter. While you can also use another small sharp object, make sure they are strong enough not to break and block the valve. 

How to Deflate A Soccer Ball In A Refrigerator 

Sometimes your creativity and a little scientific knowledge will always get you out of such tricky situations. If you do not have a needle or a paperclip, there is no point to worry about because a home refrigerator can bail you out. 

This process involves a lot of work and takes a little longer than the other three discussed above. 

Step One: Clean The Soccer Ball

First, use a dump rug or towel to clean the ball and ensure that it is free of any dirt debris. Cleaning and disinfecting are moves to ensure that your refrigerator is kept clean and free of any contaminations.

Step Two: Create Space In The Fridge

Create space for the ball by moving the refrigerator’s contents to other compartments from the top shelf. Spread a soft cloth or towel on the shelves and place your ball on it. 

Two players trying to steal a ball during a soccer match

The duration you keep the ball will depend on the amount of air you want to let out. The longer it stays in the fridge, the more it deflates.

The method applies a simple scientific principle that air expands when heated and condenses under cold conditions. Only use it as a temporary fix because as the soccer ball warms back up, the pressure will increase. However, the ball will still be less inflated than it was before. 

How to Deflate A Soccer Ball With An Air Pressure Gauge

Using a pressure gauge is another perfect way if you do not want to deflate it completely. The pressure gauge also helps you to check the pressure in the ball. 

If you run a soccer academy or a community soccer club, you might need to have this tool because you will be doing more deflation. Moreover, you will need to find the perfect air pressure measures for your playing unit. 

The good news, this is probably the most complicated step in this process. You can deflate a soccer ball with an air pressure gauge in three simple steps.

  1. Lubricate the tip of the gauge needle: Like with the needle and paperclip, use water, saliva, or coconut oil to lubricate the gauge needle tip. 
  2. Insert the needle: Insert the pressure gauge needle through the valve gently at a right angle. 
  3. Release the pressure: Press the release valve on the gauge to let the air out. Monitor the progress and release the gauge valve when you have your desired or standard pressure level

Why Would I Need To Deflate A Soccer ball?

The following are instances that though rare, will need you to deflate your soccer ball.

Over-Inflated Soccer Ball

PSI (Pound per Square Inch)Pressure
Below 8Under-inflated
Between 8.5 and 15.6Well-inflated
Over 15.6Over-inflated

The most common reason that might require you to deflate a soccer ball is that it is overinflated. A ball with too much pressure makes playing more difficult, especially for kids and other amateurs whose legs are not strong enough. Such balls are not only difficult to control but might harm the legs too. 

It calls for you to reduce the air a little bit, making it softer and easy to dribble around. Ensure that you leave enough air not to make the ball flappy and unpleasant to play. 

Storage And Transport Purposes

Sometimes as a soccer player, you want to travel and you need to store the ball away. In that situation, you need to deflate the ball and make it more compact.

Wet soccer ball

Naturally, a deflated ball is compact and more convenient to transport than an inflated one. You can easily fit it into your backpack or luggage, whereas an inflated soccer ball is bulky and occupies way too much space.  

That being said, you don’t need to deflate your ball if you use it regularly. Find a safe place to store with the pressure still intact. If you must transport it after every playing session, then find a soccer ball carrier bag. They are large enough to carry enough balls plus some extra kits.

How Does A Soccer Ball Over-Inflate by Itself?

You are probably wondering why a ball will over-inflate when you did not pump excess air into it. There are chances that changes in environmental conditions like air temperature and altitude might be the cause.  

For example, if you originally inflated your soccer ball to an ideal pressure outside on a cold chilly day and then store it inside the house in a warm condition, the ball’s pressure will increase, and the ball might become overinflated. 

Tips To Help You Understand The Composition Of A Soccer Ball

Most soccer balls have three layers, an internal bladder or core, another inner lining that covers the bladder, and then the outer leather layer. The inner bladder takes up more percentage of the composition followed by the outer panel.

The inner lining protects the bladder from the constant pressure of kicks and dribbles. The hexagons that form the spherical shape of the ball protects this inner layer. 

There is a small opening on the surface with a valve that connects the outer layer to the internal bladder for releasing air that deflates and inflates the ball whenever you want. This valve’s design is airtight enough and can keep the ball inflated for as long as possible.

Related Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about deflating a soccer ball.

How Much Should I Deflate My Soccer Ball?

This depends on the context of the situation. If you feel the ball is over-inflated, you need to deflate it and bring its psi (pounds per square inch) between 8.5 and 15.6. If it is already between that range and you still want to deflate it, try doing it by 1 psi.

Can Deflating a Soccer Ball Damage It?

No, if done properly, deflating a soccer ball will not cause damage to it. However, if you do it incorrectly and very frequently, it can cause it to lose its bounce and get misshapen. Also, if you deflate it and inflate it too often, it can damage its valve.

Should I Deflate My Soccer Ball After Every Use?

No, you shouldn’t deflate your soccer ball after you use it. You should only do it if you plan to store it for a long time, this way, it will keep its integrity. After all, if you store it inflated, this could damage its valve over time.


Regardless of the method you use to deflate a soccer ball, always be careful not to damage the ball’s internal bladder.  One way to do it is to ensure that the air comes out slowly at an even pace- it will also protect the ball’s integrity.

Tim Frechette is an avid athlete, having played sports like soccer and basketball his entire life. He brings a wealth of athletic knowledge to his writing.