How to Fix a Ping Pong Ball: Most Working Methods

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Last updatedLast updated: June 28, 2021
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Ping pong is one of the most popular games around. You can play it for fun at home or on a professional level. Of course, you likely want the best gear, including quality ping pong balls, like the Stiga 3-Star White Table Tennis Balls, which are regulation size and weight for the best gameplay possible. You may also want to keep a decent paddle case on hand. Models like the Killerspin Optima Case protect your paddles and balls when stored or during travel.

Of course, sooner or later, you’ll need to learn how to fix a ping pong ball when it gets dented after being hit too hard or mishandled. This isn’t a difficult process, so you can fix a dented ping pong ball in only a few minutes whenever needed. There are a few methods to choose from, so you can try them all out to see which one works best for the balls you keep on hand.

With hot water


One way to get dents out of ping pong balls is with hot water. This is the easiest method and takes only a couple of minutes to accomplish. You start by boiling some water. You don’t need a lot of it, only enough to fill a small cup.

When the water is heated and the cup is filled, drop your dented ping pong ball into the water. It will float, so no need to worry about it sinking to the bottom. As the ball floats, the heat from the water will heat the air inside the ball, expanding it and pressing the sides of the ball out. This will force the ping pong ball back into its normal shape.

If the dents are slow to pop back out again, you can also use a spoon to push the ball beneath the water. Keep it submerged for about 20 seconds, then remove it with the spoon. If the dents are still visible, submerge it again until the ball is repaired. Do not remove the ball from the water with your hands since the ball will be too hot to touch.

To keep the dents from forming again as the ball cools, hang it in a piece of tissue or a towel. It will only take a few minutes for the ball to cool. Though the ball won’t be quite as good as a new one, it will still be usable for your practice games.

With a hairdryer

As with the hot water method, the hairdryer method is another way to undent a ping pong ball using heat. It takes a bit less time since it uses the low-pressure, fast-moving air from the hairdryer to speed up the air expansion inside the ping pong ball.

For this method, hold the ping pong ball in your hand or a towel if the air from the hairdryer is too warm to handle. Keep the hairdryer about 6-8 inches from the ball to avoid burning the ball. Hold the ball so that the dent is on the opposite side as the hairdryer and wait until the heat expands the air and repairs the dent. For stubborn dents, you may need to turn off the hairdryer and let the ball cool before heating it again to avoid melting it.

When the dent has expanded, hang the ball in a tissue or towel until it has cooled. This step isn’t necessary if the dent expanded quickly since the ball may not be hot enough to be deformed if left on a flat surface to cool.

With a lighter

How to Fix a Ping Pong Ball: Most Working MethodsThough this isn’t the most recommended method available, it is possible to fix a ping pong ball with a lighter if you do so very carefully. Ping pong balls are flammable, so you need to keep the flame of the lighter far enough from the ball to avoid accidentally lighting it on fire and destroying it completely.

Take your lighter in one hand and the ball in the other. Light the lighter, keeping the flame away from the ball, moving it back and forth slowly to prevent too much heat on one area of the ball. Wait until the air in the ball expands, fixing the dent. Remove the heat and hold the ball gently until it has cooled completely to avoid the creation of new dents.

With your thumb

If heating the ping pong ball doesn’t work to get rid of those dents, there is another method that could pop those dents back out again. Using your thumbs, press the area of the ball around the dent. This may pop the deformed area of the ball back into shape. This may not always work and is usually a last resort type of remedy since sometimes this can cause the dent to actually get larger instead of removing it. Use this method as a last resort if heating the ball doesn’t work.

With a round stick

The round stick method is similar to the thumb method, only you use the round edge of the stick instead of your thumbs to press along the sides of the dent in the ball in an attempt to pop it back out again. You don’t need to use a lot of pressure since too much can make the dent worse or even crack the ball, making the damage irreparable. If you can’t find a rounded stick, you can try the rounded edge of the eraser on a pencil or a round pen holder for this process.

If nothing helped

How to Fix a Ping Pong Ball: Most Working MethodsThough all of the methods described above could potentially fix a ping pong ball, not all balls can be repaired. This is especially true if the dent is too deep, which can happen if the ball is hit too hard, stepped on, or misused in some other way. If you’ve tried the methods above and none of them have worked, you can try to assemble another ping pong ball using two damaged ones.

Cut a small piece of material from one ball. Using acetone nail polish remover, paste this cut piece to the dented ball, covering the damaged area completely. When the cut piece is placed where you need it, polish this area using a small piece of sandpaper.

This method isn’t quite the same as a new ball but can give you one that lasts a bit longer. If this method fails, the ball likely can’t be fixed and will need to be replaced with a new one. Keeping a few extra balls on hand at all times will ensure that you will always be able to play ping pong whenever you like.

Final thoughts

There are a lot of accessories that you can get to play ping pong, including paddles, cases, nets, and even ping pong robots to practice with when no other partner is available. One of the most important accessories is the ping pong ball since you can’t play this game without one of these. The downside is that the more you use the ping pong balls, the more likely it is that they will be damaged.

That’s why it is so important to learn how to fix a ping pong ball. Doing so can help your balls last longer, which not only keeps you playing your favorite game but also saves you some money since you’ll have to buy replacement balls less often.

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