A depressed table tennis ball needs only a little heat to regain its round shape. But do not take out the lighter – table tennis balls are highly flammable. Try one of these safer methods instead. The repaired ball is usually a bit weaker and bounces less than a new one, but it should be fine for casual table tennis or beer ping pong.
Method. 1 With boiling water
- Heat one quarter liter of water. Boil a small pot of water. Pour the water into a porcelain cup.
You can also put the ball directly in the water pot, but do not leave it for more than a few minutes. Table tennis balls can melt or burn if heated too much.
- Put the table tennis ball on the water. The water heats the air in the table tennis ball. This causes the air to expand and push the ball back into shape.
- Press the table tennis ball under water (optional). Press the ball underwater with a spoon to increase the heat and pressure. Hold it there for about 20 seconds, or until the ball is repaired.
- Take it out. Take the ball out with a spoon or kitchen tongs. The water is too hot to take out with bare hands.
- Hang the ball in a tissue. Wrap a tissue or normal tissue around the ball and tie all four edges together to form a small pouch. Hang the bag on a nail or hanger for about five to ten minutes until it cools. The ball is not quite as good as new, but it is round and usable again.
If you let the ball cool on a flat surface, it can collapse and flatten.
Method. 2 With a hairdryer
- Turn a hair dryer on a hot level. Just as with the boiling water method, heat is used to expand the air inside the table tennis ball.
The fast-moving air also has a lower pressure. This makes it easier for the air inside the ball to push outward.
- Hold the table tennis ball in the stream of hot air. Hold the table tennis ball in your bare hand. Table tennis balls are flammable, but the risk of burns is low, as long as it is not too hot to hold it. Hairdrying temperatures vary, but at a distance of 15 to 20 centimeters, it probably works fine.
Alternatively, simply point the hair dryer straight up and float the ball in the airflow.
The ball probably will not burn if held in the air. It could burn if you leave it lying on a surface and keep the hair dryer too close.
- Wait for the ball to expand. It could help to hold the ball so that the bump is opposite the hair dryer. It might be wiser to turn off the hair dryer at regular intervals and let the ball cool down to prevent it from deforming.
The repaired ball is no longer exactly the size and shape of a new ball.
- Hang the ball in a handkerchief (optional). Wrap it in a handkerchief and hang it on a nail for a few minutes to prevent it from becoming flaccid. Since the hot air was not as hot as boiling water, this may not be necessary.
- Do not lay the ball down and leave it on its side while it is still hot, otherwise it will form a flat edge. Let it hang until it cools down.
- Not all table tennis balls are made of the same material. The cheapest plastic balls are more likely to break. Celluloid balls are more flammable than other varieties.
- Do not expect the ball to last as long as before. Each time you revive the ball, it loses durability until it gets holes or tears. The repaired ball could also be a bit bigger and bounce worse, although that is fine with casual table tennis.
- Table tennis balls are very flammable. Do not be tempted by videos about the “lighter method” – you’ll burn your fingers and stick a plastic bubble mass on the floor.
- These methods do not work on cracked table tennis balls. You can repair cracks with glue, but the torn ball is still weak. It is recommended to replace it.
- Never put a table tennis ball in the microwave. Heating for a few seconds causes spontaneous burning at a temperature high enough to burn the inside.
- Take the ball out of the heat if you notice a bad smell. Ventilate the room.