If you’re a basketball enthusiast, you might be facing a colorful dilemma – permanent marker stains on your favorite ball. Don’t worry! It is true that we have all encountered stubborn permanent marker stains on our basketballs, but there are effective ways to remove them. To restore your basketball to its original, clean state, we’ll walk you through a variety of techniques. Let’s get started!

Your basketball is permanently marked by the permanent marker that slips from your hand while you’re shooting hoops. You don’t have to worry! Those stubborn marks can be banished with a little elbow grease and the right techniques.

Understanding Permanent Marker Stains

A permanent marker contains ink that adheres permanently to a variety of surfaces, including basketballs. Although the name implies permanence, these stains aren’t invincible. It is possible to remove them without damaging your basketball if you take the right approach.

You may enjoy reading Best Leather Basketball Reviews

Preparation: Gather Your Supplies

How to Remove Permanent Marker From A Basketball

You must have the right tools before you begin stain removal. You will need the following:

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Baking soda
  • Toothpaste
  • Acetone
  • Magic Eraser
  • WD-40
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hairspray
  • Soft cloth or sponge
  • Cotton balls or swabs

Method 1: Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is a versatile cleaning agent and can work wonders on permanent marker stains. Follow these steps:

  • Dampen a cotton ball with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Gently rub the stained area in a circular motion.
  • Continue until the marker stain starts to fade.
  • Once the stain is gone, wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.

Method 2: Baking Soda and Toothpaste

Baking soda and toothpaste can form a powerful stain-removing duo. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Mix a small amount of baking soda and toothpaste to create a paste.
  • Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Gently scrub the stain using a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Rinse the area with water and pat dry.

Method 3: Acetone

Acetone, commonly found in nail polish removers, can effectively eliminate marker stains. Follow these steps:

  • Dampen a cotton ball with acetone.
  • Gently dab the stained area, being careful not to saturate the basketball.
  • Continue blotting until the stain fades.
  • Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth.

Method 4: Magic Eraser

Magic Erasers are known for their ability to tackle tough stains. Here’s how to use them:

  • Dampen the Magic Eraser slightly.
  • Gently rub the stained area, applying light pressure.
  • Continue until the stain disappears.
  • Wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.

You may enjoy reading Best Basketball Shoes Under $150

Method 5: WD-40

WD-40 isn’t just for squeaky hinges – it can also help remove marker stains. Follow these steps:

  • Spray a small amount of WD-40 on a cloth.
  • Gently rub the stain in circular motions.
  • As the stain lifts, wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth.

Method 6: Rubbing Alcohol and Hairspray

Combining rubbing alcohol and hairspray can create a powerful stain remover. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Mix equal parts rubbing alcohol and hairspray.
  • Dampen a cloth with the mixture.
  • Gently blot the stain until it fades.
  • Wipe the area clean with a damp cloth.

Method 7: Commercial Stain Removers

There are various commercial stain removers available that are specifically designed to tackle marker stains. Follow the instructions on the product for best results.

Method 8: Prevention Tips

Prevention is key to avoiding future marker mishaps. Consider these tips:

  • Avoid using permanent markers on basketballs.
  • Use washable markers for autographs or signatures.
  • Encourage players to keep markers away from the court.


Can I use nail polish remover instead of acetone? 

While nail polish remover contains acetone, it may have additional ingredients that could damage your basketball. Stick to pure acetone for best results.

Is it safe to use a Magic Eraser on my basketball? 

Yes, Magic Erasers are safe for most basketball surfaces. However, test a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure there’s no adverse reaction.

Are commercial stain removers effective? 

Yes, many commercial stain removers are designed to effectively remove marker stains. Choose a product that is safe for your basketball’s material.

Can I prevent marker stains in the future? 

Absolutely! Encourage marker-free zones near the court, and use washable markers for autographs or signatures.


Removing permanent marker stains from a basketball doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the right techniques and a little patience, you can restore your basketball to its original pristine condition. Remember to choose a method that suits the materials of your basketball and follow the steps carefully for the best results.

You may enjoy reading What is a Triple Double in Basketball?


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.

Comments are closed.