How to Remove Three Types of Ink Stains

ink stain on shirt

Learning how to remove different types of ink stains from clothing and other items will help you save a substantial amount of time and money. Fortunately, the task is not that difficult once you get the hang of it.

Instructions to Remove Three Kinds of Ink Stains

Ink stains are quite common, but that doesn't make them a cinch to remove. What's more, there are a variety of inks on the market and each poses a different challenge to remove from clothing. The good news is that these days you don't have to trash your beloved jeans just because they have a stubborn ink stain. Simply follow these tips on how to remove ink stains from clothing:

1. Ballpoint Ink

Ballpoint ink stains can strike everything from shirts to skirts. However, they can be removed with alcohol-based solvents. One method is to:

  1. Place the stained clothing item over a dry white towel
  2. Apply some rubbing alcohol over the stain and blot stain with another clean towel until the stain begins to fade
  3. Rinse the garment with clean water to remove all traces of the rubbing alcohol
  4. Apply liquid detergent to formerly stained area and allow it to absorb for about five minutes
  5. Wash garment in warm water

Another way to remove ballpoint pen ink stains from clothing is to dose the stain with alcohol-based hair spray, and then dab at it with a clean towel until the ink begins to lift. The alcohol should help loosen the ink molecules. Once the ink begins to fade, launder the garment as usual.

2. Permanent Ink

Ink from permanent markers is extremely difficult to remove from clothing. However, if you act quickly, there is a very good chance that you can salvage a shirt stained with permanent ink. One solution is to place the stained side of the garment on absorbent towels and saturate the stained area with rubbing alcohol. Once the stain is wet, blot it with clean towels being careful not to spread the stain to rest of the fabric. Continue blotting until the towels won't absorb any more of the ink. Let the clothing item dry and then carefully sponge the permanent ink stain with a dry-cleaning solvent. The solvent should lift the remainder of the stain. Once it does, rub the area with detergent and rinse thoroughly.

If the aforementioned cleaning method does not work, consider treating the ink stain with a diluted solution of ammonia. Monitor the results carefully. When the stain begins to fade, rinse the fabric, repeat the process, and then launder the garment as usual.

3. Water-Based Ink

Water-based ink is found in gel and fountain pens. However, unlike ballpoint pen ink, which is oil-based and very thick, gel ink, is water based and much thinner. Given the make-up of gel ink stains, you will have more success in removing the unwanted marks by using water-based cleaning agents rather than alcohol-based ones.To remove water-based ink stains from clothing:

  1. Place the stained garment on top of a clean white towel
  2. Apply water and blot using another clean white towel
  3. When the stain starts to fade, apply liquid laundry to the fabric and let sit for about five minutes
  4. Wash the stained fabric in warm water
  5. If the stain is not completely gone, repeat the first two steps a few more times until the ink stain disappears.

Simple Ink Removal Tips

An easy way to prevent ink from spreading to more of the fabric is to begin the cleaning process as fast as possible. Regardless of the type of ink, quick action is required. If you are away from home when ink stains strike, look around for ink absorbents, such as talcum powder. Pouring baby powder on wet ink stain will help reduce the extent to which it spreads. Even blotting paper can be used to soak up ink from a garment in a pinch.

Finally, if you swear by commercial cleaners, you could try to remove ink stains from clothing by hitting up your local discount store. Products such as Goo Gone, Shout, and OxiClean are known for removing stubborn ink stains from garments. However, if the stain is particularly challenging, then you might consider using double the amount of stain remover than is recommended on the back of the container. Also, before using any type of commercial stain remover, test it out on a swatch of fabric first.

How to Remove Three Types of Ink Stains