How To Clean Permanent Marker Off a Golf Ball — (And What To Use)

how to clean permanent marker off golf ball and what has acetone and how do you use it to clean golf balls

You’re playing a round of golf, and you find a brand new Titleist ProV1 sitting in the rough. You look around to see if it could be anyone’s, but you don’t see anyone, and you pick it up. Instead, the previous owner, Joe, has his name written on the ball with permanent ink

Have you ever wondered how to clean a permanent marker off a golf ball?

I, as the head golf instructor for Tell Me More Golf, will tell you all you need to know about cleaning Sharpie and other permanent marking ink off golf balls to give you a clean golf ball that you can mark however you want repeatedly.

how to clean permanent marker off golf ball and what has acetone and how do you use it to clean golf balls

What Has Acetone And How Do You Use It to Clean Golf Balls?

how to clean permanent marker off golf ball where can you buy mr clean does it work on golf equipment

Acetone is a solvent used to break down and dissolve other substances. Acetone can be found in many household products, including lacquer, varnish, nail polish, and paint remover. We can totally use it in this circumstance!

In addition, acetone is used commonly to clean many things in industrial and laboratory settings.

For example, acetone can easily remove Sharpie from golf balls in a few easy steps.

  1. Use in a Well Ventilated Area
  2. Wear Gloves to Protect Skin
  3. Apply Nail Polish Remover to a Cotton Ball
  4. Wipe Cotton Ball Over Sharpie Marks Until Ink is Gone
  5. Wipe Balls Off with a Paper Towel

That’s it. Be careful to avoid getting acetone on your skin as you wipe the permanent ink off of the golf balls. Also, do not soak golf balls in acetone, as prolonged exposure can damage the surface of the golf ball. The fumes from acetone can be strong, so make sure you’re in a well-ventilated space when using it.


how to clean permanent marker off golf ball using rubbing alcohol to clean sharpie marks

Suppose you don’t have any products with acetone handy around your house. In that case, you can always use rubbing alcohol to clean Sharpie marks off golf balls.

  1. Use in a Well Ventilated Area
  2. Apply Rubbing Alcohol to a Cotton Swab
  3. Wipe Cotton Ball Over Sharpie Marks Until Ink is Gone

You don’t have to dry the rubbing alcohol off the ball as it will evaporate quickly. You don’t have to wear gloves when using rubbing alcohol, but exposed presence might cause some minor skin irritation.

Do not soak golf balls in rubbing alcohol for an extended period of time.

You can also spray hairsprays containing alcohol on a golf ball and remove the ink stain.


Where Can You Buy Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and Does it Clean Permanent Marker Off of Golf Balls?

You can buy Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in the cleaning products section of most grocery stores, supermarkets, and online retailers. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is also great for cleaning other golf equipment such as golf shoes and golf clubs.  

You can remove Sharpie marks and other permanent ink marks off golf balls using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. It takes a little elbow grease, but it works well if you’re only removing the permanent ink off of a couple of golf balls.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where To Buy Acetone?

Acetone and products that contain acetone, such as nail polish remover, nail gel remover, varnish, and lacquer, are readily available. You can purchase acetone-based products in pharmacies, grocery stores, hardware stores, and many online retailers. Check the ingredient list for nail-polish remover, as many new types are acetone-free.  

You can also buy 100% pure acetone from many hardware and health and beauty stores in the store or online. However, pure acetone is an industrial solvent and must be used properly. For example, do not use acetone to clean your golf clubs, as the solvent can weaken the epoxy used to glue the clubhead to the shaft.

What Cleaner Takes Off Permanent Marker?

Golfers can use many cleaners on the market to take permanent markers off golf balls. Depending on your comfort level with chemicals and how many golf balls you need to remove permanent ink, any of the below products will work.

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hand Sanitizer (with alcohol)
  • Nail Polish Remover (with acetone)
  • Non-Gel Toothpaste
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser
  • Dish Soap and Warm Water
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Bleach
  • Goo Gone

Whichever product you use, please follow the directions. Some products contain ingredients that can be harmful if inhaled, touched, or swallowed.  

How do you remove permanent marker that has been dried?

Removing permanent marker that has dried can be done using any of the products listed above. Getting Sharpie off a golf ball takes a little preparation and a little work, but the results can be good. Take your time and follow any directions on the products to ensure you are doing so safely.

Rubbing Alcohol or Acetone

You can remove the permanent marker that has dried on golf balls by using products that have acetone or rubbing alcohol in them. Then, use a cotton ball with acetone or rubbing alcohol to wipe the permanent marker off of the golf ball.

Bleach, White Vinegar, Hydrogen Peroxide, Baking Soda

If you use bleach, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide, dilute the product with hot water using the directions on the bottle and soak the golf balls in the dilution for twenty or thirty minutes. Then wipe the clean golf balls down with a paper towel. Replace the paper towel regularly as the permanent ink will transfer from the ball onto the towel.

Dry Erase Marker, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Non-Gel Toothpaste

Rub the dry erase marker, the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, or non-gel toothpaste on the golf ball and scrub the permanent marker off the golf ball. Please do not use a wire brush to scrub the golf balls as it may damage the ball’s surface.

You want to make sure that you follow the directions when you are using any chemical and make sure that you use them in well-ventilated spaces as the fumes can be harmful to you. Do not mix chemicals unless specifically told to in the directions.

Wash your hands after using chemicals to ensure that you don’t rub anything into any open cuts or your eyes. If you do, flush the wound or eyes with cold water and seek medical attention if necessary.

Does Vinegar Remove Permanent Marker?

Distilled white vinegar is an effective way to clean permanent markers off golf balls. You can soak the golf balls in distilled white vinegar for a few minutes and then wipe the Sharpie ink off with a clean towel. However, you may want to regularly replace it with a clean towel as the ink stain will transfer onto the cloth or paper. You may also want to rinse the golf balls with clean water to remove the vinegar scent on the golf ball.

Can I Damage My Golf Balls by Removing Permanent Marker?

Yes, if you try to remove a permanent marker from a Sharpie on a golf ball incorrectly, you can damage your golf balls. Also, do not wash your golf balls in a washing machine. While the warm water and soap may rinse the ink stain off the golf ball, you can damage both the machine and the golf ball.

Do not use a wire brush to try and remove Sharpie off of a golf ball. It may scuff and damage the dimples on the surface of the ball. Instead, it is advisable to use an old toothbrush to scour balls as the bristles will not scratch the surface of the golf ball. In addition, scratches on the dimples can impact the ball flight of a golf ball.

Do not soak golf balls in any chemical like bleach or acetone overnight, as the liquid can damage the surface of the golf ball. It is also not great to let golf balls soak in dish soap and water overnight. A golf ball that has been left in water for more than twelve hours can become waterlogged.

Do not try to remove logos or anything that has been painted or stamped onto a golf ball. Logos are intended to be permanent and not removable. Attempts to use any of the products above or commercial solvents will likely damage the surface of the golf ball before they remove the logo.

Conclusion: Research by

black tell me more golf compressed logo with mottled background information for golfers

Finding a nice, new Titleist ProV1 or your favorite golf ball brand on the golf course and putting it into your golf bag can save you a lot of money. 

There are many ways to remove the permanent ink, like Sharpie marks, off of a golf ball that will make the ball look brand new. You might be bored with the alignment line on the ball and want to add a new one to help you make more putts. 

You might have a playing partner who similarly marks the ball. It’s easy to clean permanent markers off of golf balls. You’ve just got to find a solution that you’re comfortable with and follow the directions of whatever product you choose. Everyone likes a nice, new-looking golf ball, even when the ball isn’t new. 


Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
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