Hi Dan / Tom / Fellow Tabletennisdailyacademy members,
What do you do when you open up a new box of balls?
Do you play straight away, do you use your table tennis shirt / tower to wipe them, or do you put them in soap water?
There is often this white powder on the new balls, and because I use a tacky rubber (H3 neo), the new powder often sticks to the rubber and makes it harder to grip the ball.
Yes when balls are new they have the white dusk/powder that you mentioned and it can definitely affect the contact on the ball and spin etc.
Sometimes you see players put the new ball in their mouth even to get rid of this! That might not be the most hygienic way though, I would not recommend soap but just using a very small amount of water on your t-shirt or very slightly wet towel to remove the dusk works well.
Obviously make sure the balls are dried well before playing! 🙂