Whether you’ve suffered a mishap at work, forgot to remove the pen from your pocket, or your sweet little angel has decided to draw you a lovely picture on your shirt, ink stains are never a pleasant surprise, especially considering how challenging it is to remove ink stains from fabric.
Depending on the type of ink stain you are trying to remove, you could find yourself facing a difficult task. Learn how to remove ink stains with these practical techniques. Not all ink stains are created equal.
Water-based ink stains tend to be the easiest to remove, so you should count yourself lucky if this is the kind of stain you are facing. Unfortunately, if you are dealing with permanent ink from Sharpie markers or highlighters, you’re in for a bit of work.
Ballpoint pen ink falls somewhere in the middle because while it responds well to most cleaning methods, it can be tricky to remove. Here’s how to get ink stains out of your clothes.
Remove Ink Stains from Clothes
Each kind of ink stain will react differently to various cleaning methods. Each method uses everyday products that you can find in your home. There are plenty of options when it comes to the methods used to remove ink from clothes.
The first thing that you will need to determine is the kind of ink stain that you’re dealing with, so you can match the best solution for treatment. You’ll also want to avoid drying the stained clothes beforehand because the dryer heat will set the stain, which will make it nearly impossible to remove.
Laundry Detergent and Water
This cleaning method works best on water-based ink stains. Place the stained piece of clothing on top of a cloth or clean, dry towel. Apply water to the ink stain and use a clean cloth to blot. As you blot, you’ll notice the ink begin to transfer to the fabric. Next, apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent to the ink stain. Allow this to sit for three to five minutes.
Wash the clothing, as usual, using the hottest recommended setting for the type of fabric. Before throwing the item of clothing in the dryer, check to see that you were able to remove the entire stain successfully. If you are still able to see the stain, repeat the process.
To try and remove a permanent ink stain, rubbing alcohol is your best bet. While the alcohol may not remove the dye from the garment entirely, it will at least help fade the stain so that it isn’t as noticeable.
Place the stained article of clothing on a clean white towel. Test the rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous area of the garment to test for colorfastness. If the item doesn’t become damaged, use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to blot the stain. As the ink becomes saturated, the stain will begin to transfer to the towel underneath.
To avoid the ink transferring back to the clothing, move the garment to a clean section of the cloth. Continue to process until the stain vanishes. Thoroughly rinse the area with cool water to remove the rubbing alcohol.
If the stain is from a ballpoint pen, here’s how to remove ball pen ink stains from clothes. Follow the process above using the rubbing alcohol.
After rinsing the alcohol out of the clothing, apply a small amount of laundry detergent to the ink stain and let sit for at least five minutes. Then throw the garment in the washing machine and wash in the hottest water recommended for the kind of fabric.
You can also use common rubbing alcohol to remove ballpoint ink from leather. Soak a cotton ball or cotton cloth with rubbing alcohol. Starting from the outside of the ink stain, dab the cloth into the ink and work your way to the center.
Avoid rubbing the stain to keep from removing color from the leather. Allow the garment to air dry after each application. Continue the process until you effectively remove the ink stain.
Alcohol is effective for removing ink from other surfaces, too. Use alcohol on an old cloth or cotton ball as one of the best ways to remove ink from a dryer drum or from outside the machine. Repeat applications with a little pressure should do the trick nicely.
Nail Polish Remover
Due to the intense nature of nail polish remover, you’ll want to use this when removing permanent ink stains. To make sure that the remover won’t damage the material, test it on an inconspicuous area of the clothing first.
If the fabric doesn’t get damaged, soak a cotton swab with the nail polish remover and blot the stain in the same fashion as the rubbing alcohol method above. When finished, be sure to rinse the remover entirely from the fabric.
Try this method to eliminate rust stains on carpet, too. Again, test it in an out of the way spot to ensure you don’t do more damage than you already have.
Most hairsprays on the market today contain alcohol, which is extremely effective at removing ink from clothes. To use, make sure the hairspray you have has alcohol in it, and place a stack of paper towels under the clothing, directly under the area of the stain. Spray the stain thoroughly with the hairspray.
Use a clean paper towel to dab at the stain until it vanishes and wash the clothing as usual according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You can also use commercial hairspray to remove permanent ink stains from carpet or for how to get Sharpie off carpet or clothing, as well as walls and flooring. It works just like a simple upholstery cleaner, too.
Here’s how to remove ink stains from carpet and other items using hairspray. Spray the hairspray directly onto the stained area of the rug. The alcohol will begin to dissolve the ink, making it easier to remove these stubborn stains. Use a clean, dry towel to blot the stain gently.
Do not rub the stain to keep the ink from embedding further into the carpet fibers. Once you successfully remove ink stain, use a towel dipped in cool water to dab the area and remove the hairspray residue.
White vinegar is a great stain remover and is also how to get ink stains out of jeans.
Mix the water and vinegar in the sink or a bucket. Place the stained area in the vinegar solution and allow it to soak for at least 30 minutes, thoroughly saturating the garment.
Next, make a paste containing three tablespoons baking soda and one tablespoon water. Using an old toothbrush, rub the paste into the stain using a circular motion. Allow the paste to stand on the stain for five minutes.
Next, use the toothbrush to gently work the baking soda paste further into the fabric, dipping it in a solution of clean vinegar water while cleaning the material. Rinse the clothing in cold water. Check to see that the stain has vanished, then wash the garment as usual.
You can also use this effective remedy as a way to remove Sharpie ink from walls made from a variety of different materials. Wipe the vinegar mixture on the stain and then apply the paste and let it sit. Wipe with the vinegar solution again. Repeat as needed.
How to Remove Ink Stains from Clothes that have Been Washed and Dried
While you’ve learned several techniques for removing fresh ink stains, what happens if you don’t notice the stain until after the clothing has been washed and dried?
While trying to remove the ink stains that have been dried is difficult, it isn’t impossible. With the right products and stain removal techniques, there is still hope for removing ink from your pen-stained clothes.
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Start by filling a bucket with warm water. Place the item in the bucket and allow the fabric to soak for several hours. Remove the clothing from the water and spray the affected area with hairspray. Allow the hairspray to sit for at least five minutes. Place a towel down on a flat surface, then put the stained clothing on top of the cloth.
Dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover. Gently rub the cloth over the stain. Spray the area with more hairspray and continue to rub with the damp cloth. Repeat the process until the stain disappears. Launder as usual.
While you are getting rid of unwanted stains, you can also eliminate a sizing problem. If your jeans are too big, you can initiate methods for shrinking jeans permanently. A needle and thread work wonders for taking in the side seams.
Getting ink stains on your clothes, while a part of life, isn’t fun to try and remove. Fortunately, there are several simple tricks and techniques that you can use in ink stain removal. Using inexpensive, everyday products, you can remove ink spots and leave your clothes looking fresh and clean.
We hope you enjoyed learning about how to remove in stains from your favorite clothes. If you found the information in the article useful, please feel free to share it with all your friends and family.