How to Remove Permanent Marker From A Basketball

Have your children got their hands on a permanent marker and started drawing on your favorite basketball or have you marked it by accident.  Either way removing a permanent link from any surface is not an easy task. You want to remove a permanent marker from your basketball but it might not be as easy as you think. The ball has been completely stained by the ink.

In this article we will go over different way to tackle getting the ink off the basketball.  With proper knowledge and implementation of that knowledge it will make things easier.

Don’t be concerned. There are many different methods for removing permanent markers from a basketball. Let’s take a look at some of them below:

Dry Erase Marker:

If you don’t have the time to deal with removing permanent markers from a basketball, there is an easy solution. You can always go out and purchase some dry-erase markers. These types of pens will be able to remove the permanent marker with ease.

Rubbing Alcohol And Acetone:

We find this the most effective ways to remove permanent markers from a basketball. If you want to keep your ball looking new for as long as possible, here’s how you can clean off permanent markers using rubbing alcohol and acetone!

  • Fill a cup with water
  • Add 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol into the cup.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of acetone into the cup.
  • Stir until both chemicals are well dissolved in the water (about 60 seconds).
  • Submerge your basketball in the solution for about 15 minutes or until all ink has been removed from the surface.

Nail Polish Remover:

Nail Polish Remover for basketball marker romove


Nail polish remover can be an easy fix for those who have kids that love drawing on their things. If you have a permanent marker stain on your basketball, you can easily get it off using nail polish remover. Simply apply the nail polish remover to the stain and wait for about 10 minutes, then scrub with an old toothbrush. Your ball will be back in perfect condition!

For a smaller amount of permanent market, dip one cotton in the nail polish remover, and after letting it sit for about 30 seconds, wipe away with another cotton ball. It will come right off!

Hand Sanitizer:

Hand sanitizer is a great way to remove permanent marker stains from your basketball. Just take any hand sanitizer and pour it on the stain, then use an old toothbrush to scrub it away! It’s that simple!

Soap And Water:

If you’d like to remove a permanent marker stain using something natural, try washing it with soap and water!

Take some good quality dishwashing liquid. Add about 20 drops into a cup filled with warm water (make sure that it’s not too hot or else it will damage the material on your ball). Stir until well dissolved and put the ball in soapy water and scrub off any residual ink.

Baking Soda And Water :

How to Remove Permanent Marker From A Basketball


Just take some baking soda and mix it with water until you get a thick paste. Apply to the stains using either your fingers or an old toothbrush, leave it on for about 10 minutes, then scrub off. Don’t leave it on for too long though because it can damage the ball’s material.

Toothpaste :

A simpler solution could be toothpaste. Take a small dab of toothpaste on a rag and rub the toothpaste on the mark. The abrasive in the toothpaste will take care of the rest.  Note this will note get rid of deep stains in our experience. 

WD-40 :

Before you go through the process be sure you put on some rubber gloves before starting this process. You can use a dry cloth or paper towel, anything smooth will work. Take a small amount of WD-40 and lightly cover the area with it. With a new cloth or towel, wipe it off until the marker is gone. If you feel like some more WD-40 needs to be applied, then do so and wipe it off once again after waiting a few minutes.

By Squeezing Lemon Juice:

This is also a homemade method to remove permanent markers from a basketball. Another great thing about this method is that you probably have lemons in your house.
Step 1: Take a few drops of lemon juice and squeeze it onto your stained basketball.
Step 2: Rub the lemon juice into the stain using your fingers. Then, take a dry towel and wipe off the excess liquid.
Step 3: Wait for the spot to dry and repeat if desired or necessary.

Vinegar And Water:

This is another great way to remove permanent markers from your basketball. This method does not involve any harsh chemicals, so it is safe for most balls.

Steps: Take equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Then spritz the solution onto the area with the mark on it, or use an old rag if you prefer using your hands to apply it.

Steps: Take a sponge, toothbrush, or cloth and rub the area until all of the markers is gone. This should not take long if you are working with an older stain. Then rinse with water and dry immediately after removing any excess solution from your ball’s surface.

With Peanut Butter :

Really? oh yes! This is the most popular home remedy because it works so well. Smear a small amount of peanut butter over the marker stain, and then wipe it away with a paper towel or sponge. The oil in the peanut goods removes marker stains easily while being gentle on your basketball.

Frequently Asked Question

Can permanent Sharpie be removed?

Permanent Sharpie can be removed, but it requires a lot of effort.

How do you fix a dried-out Sharpie without rubbing alcohol?

You can fix it by dipping the tip of your finger into rubbing alcohol and then pulling down on both sides of the marker to get rid of air bubbles that are trapped inside.

Does Magic Eraser remove permanent marker leather basketball?

A magic eraser can be used to remove dry markers, but not permanently.


Final Thoughts:

A permanent marker is a tricky thing to get rid of, but there are many options for the issue.  Before attempting one of them check the severity of the stain and try different options that work best for you.  If you are dealing with any chemicals make sure you follow guidelines and wear gloves so as to not damage skin. 

Before applying any of these methods, be sure you know which method works best for your ball and also safe for you before attempting any of these at-home remedies.

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David Harris is a former player and after many years of writing and testing hundreds of products associated with the game, created this website to share his tips, basketballs and gear.  I look forward to continuing to grow and build this site and sharing great content.

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