Often times when you’re in the middle of a really intense ping pong match players will hit the ball a little too hard and dent the plastic. Other times people accidentally step on them. Ping pong balls are very delicate and need replacing frequently. I decided to do some research to see if there was a way to fix dents in ping pong balls.
There are actually a couple of ways to get the dents out of a ping pong ball which can be handy if your ping pong ball supply is running low. Keep in mind that using any of these methods won’t make the balls good as new. There might be seams in the plastic but it will be usable. Here are a couple of the most popular methods:
For this first method you will need a ceramic cup or bowl, boiling water, a spoon, a dented ping pong ball, and a tissue.
- The first thing that you will need to do is poor your boiling water into the ceramic cup or bowl. If you want you can simply microwave a cup of water for a couple of minutes until you think it’s hot enough.
- Place the ping pong ball in the water. The ball will just float there on the surface but this will start the process of heating the air inside of the ball which will cause it to expand. Be careful not to get the ball to hot because the plastic tends to melt.
- If the ball is having trouble popping back into its circular shape then you can push it underneath the surface of the water with the spoon to get it a little more hot.
- Once the ball has been restored to its round shape then you can take it out using the spoon.
- Get your tissue and wrap the ball in it. You’ll need to hand it somewhere either using a nail of a clothes pin. If you let the ball cool on a flat surface the bottom of the ball will become flat as well.
For this next method you will need a dented ping pong ball, a hair drier, and a tissue.
Set your hair drier to a hot setting and with low pressure air. This will help the air inside of the ball get hot faster and will cause it to expand just like the boiling water example.
Keep the ball in your flat palm with the hair drier a good distance away from the ping pong ball. If it gets too hot hold it a little farther away. Ping pong balls are flammable but you should be able to tell if it’s getting too close to combustion if it’s in your hand.
Allow the air to expand. It might be a good idea to have the dented area at the opposite end the air is blowing on so that you don’t deform it any more.
Allow the ball to cool in a tissue and hang it from a nail or clothes pin.
What Not to Do
As I have already mentioned in the previous hair drier example, ping pong balls are indeed flammable. I have witnessed people try to make the plastic of their ping pong balls soft again by holding them over an open flame. This is not a good idea.
Ping pong balls are made out of celluloid. This is the same material used to make photographic films which were collected during war times for explosives. It’s a material that is soaked in hot alcohol until it becomes soft and is then shaped into whatever shape it needs to be in.
Things can get very dangerous if you use a direct flame to soften the material of a ping pong ball. It’s better to use the methods above that still use heat but aren’t likely to cause the ball to catch on fire.
Ping pong is how recreational players refer to the game while table tennis is how professional players refer to the game. They are however, the same game but recreational players tend to use less skill and spin rather than professionals who play table tennis.
Can You Use Your Hand in Ping Pong?
If you accidentally hit your hand while trying to hit the ball with the racket then it is legal. This used to be considered a double hit but after a lot of disputes it was agreed that if a player accidentally hits any part below their wrist of their racket hand then it is considered legal.
If you drop your racket and hit the ping pong ball with your hand this is not considered legal because that hand is no longer your racket hand. You must have the racket in the hand you hit the ball with for it to be considered a legal hit.