How to Get Sharpie off of a Basketball?

In the world of basketball, maintaining the pristine appearance of your equipment is essential. Whether it’s for personal use or in a professional setting, a clean basketball is not just about aesthetics but also impacts performance.

But what do you do when a stubborn Sharpie mark finds its way onto the surface of your prized basketball? Fear not, as we delve into the most effective ways to remove these unsightly marks without compromising the ball’s integrity.

How to Get Sharpie off of a Basketball

How to Get Sharpie off of a Basketball?

To remove Sharpie from a basketball, you can use rubbing alcohol or a Mr. Clean magic eraser. Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Dampen a fresh cleaning rag with rubbing alcohol and rub the stains directly. Rinse the basketball with hot water and repeat the process.
  2. Alternatively, you can use a Mr. Clean magic eraser, which is not abrasive and has been reported to remove Sharpie from basketballs.

These methods can help remove Sharpie marks from a basketball without damaging the surface.

How do you get Sharpie off a ball?

To remove Sharpie ink from a ball, you can use the following methods:

  1. Denatured alcohol: Denatured alcohol can remove ball point ink or Sharpie pen from various surfaces without fail. However, do not rub or scrub the ball, as it may scuff or discolor the surface. Instead, blot the signed area with the denatured alcohol on a cotton ball or gauze pad.
  2. Rubbing alcohol: Rubbing alcohol, specifically 70% or 91%, can be used to remove Sharpie ink from a cloth or paper towel. Scrub the area with the ink and repeat until it’s gone.
  3. Fingernail polish remover: Apply fingernail polish remover to a cotton ball and gently rub the area with Sharpie ink. Be careful not to soak the cotton ball.
  4. Dry erase marker: Scribble over the Sharpie ink with a dry-erase marker, completely covering the ink. Wait for about a minute and then erase it. This method should remove most of the ink.

Before using any of these methods, make sure to test them on an inconspicuous area of the ball to ensure they won’t damage the surface or the ink.

How do you get Sharpie off basketball shoes?

To remove Sharpie from basketball shoes, you can use rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, or other household items.

Here are some methods to try:

  1. Rubbing Alcohol: Apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball and dab the stained area until the marker is lifted off.
  2. Peanut Butter: Spread a small amount of peanut butter on the stain, let it sit for a few seconds, then wipe it off with a sponge or clean cloth.
  3. Lemon Juice: Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice onto the stain and gently rub the mark with a brush or your fingers. Then, clear the excess liquid with a dry cloth.

Isopropyl alcohol is also recommended for removing Sharpie from various surfaces, including shoe soles. Always test these methods on a small, hidden area of the shoes first to ensure they don’t cause damage.

What removes permanent Sharpie?

To remove permanent Sharpie, several household items can be used. Rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, oil, vinegar, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, and even automotive brake cleaner can be used depending on the surface.

For example, rubbing alcohol can be used on almost any surface, while vinegar can be used on leather surfaces. It is important to test the solution on an inconspicuous area first to verify that it does not cause harm or damage. 

Can toothpaste remove Sharpie?

Yes, toothpaste can remove Sharpie and other permanent marker stains. Toothpaste contains mild abrasives, such as baking soda, that can gently remove the dye without dissolving it, making it effective for removing permanent marker stains from various surfaces. 

It is recommended to use a non-gel toothpaste, and if possible, one that contains baking soda for the best results. The abrasive quality of toothpaste helps to easily remove stains and scuffs on surfaces, making it a useful household product for cleaning.

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Understanding the Challenge

Sharpie ink can be particularly resilient, embedding itself deeply into the surface of a basketball. However, with the right approach, it’s possible to eradicate these marks without causing damage.

Methods to Remove Sharpie Marks

MethodMaterials NeededEffectiveness Rating (Out of 5)
Rubbing AlcoholCotton balls, rubbing alcohol4.5
Magic EraserMagic Eraser sponge4.0
WD-40WD-40 spray, cloth3.8
Nail Polish RemoverNail polish remover, cotton balls3.5

Rubbing Alcohol

Using rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball is a highly effective method. Apply the alcohol gently to the Sharpie marks and rub in circular motions until the ink begins to fade.

Magic Eraser

A Magic Eraser sponge can work wonders. Dampen the sponge and gently scrub the marked area. Be cautious not to scrub too hard as this might affect the ball’s surface.


Spraying a small amount of WD-40 onto a cloth and gently rubbing the marked area can also help remove Sharpie ink. However, be sure to clean the ball thoroughly afterward.

Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover containing acetone can be used as an alternative. Apply it to a cotton ball and gently rub the Sharpie marks until they begin to fade.

In professional basketball settings, keeping equipment spotless is imperative. A clean ball not only looks better on the court but also ensures consistent grip and performance during gameplay. Teams often employ specialized cleaning methods to maintain their equipment in top condition.

Expert Advice

Experts in basketball equipment maintenance recommend immediate action when a Sharpie mark is spotted. Prompt cleaning using the right method can prevent the ink from seeping deeper into the ball’s surface, making it easier to remove.

During my time as a basketball coach, I encountered numerous instances of Sharpie marks on basketballs. Employing rubbing alcohol was often the go-to solution, and it consistently delivered effective results without causing damage.


While Sharpie marks on basketballs may seem like a persistent challenge, armed with the right methods and tools, removing them becomes a manageable task. Remember, the key is prompt action and gentle yet persistent cleaning. With these techniques, you can restore your basketball to its pristine state, ready to hit the court once again.

For more insights on basketball equipment maintenance and cleaning, refer to Basketball Equipment Care Guide.

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