How To Get Pesky Ink Stains Out Of Your Clothing

Have you ever found you accidentally drew on your clothing with a pen after a long day of school or work? Maybe the pen accidentally exploded, and you found yourself covered in ink. Don't worry; these stains may seem permanent, but the quicker you pre-treat them, the easier they are to remove. To get the best results, you need to know what type of pen you have. There are three different types of ink. First, there's water-based ink, which is the easiest to remove. It's primarily used in gel and fountain pens. Then Tide explains that oil-based inks are slightly harder to remove because they are greasy. These are used in ballpoint pens. The hardest type to erase is permanent ink which needs a special cleanser.


No matter what type of ink you're dealing with, you should remove as much as possible as soon as you notice the stain. Always remove as much of the spill as possible by absorbing it with a paper towel. Then pre-treat it depending on what type of ink you have on you. Once you get home, you can throw the clothes in your washing machine.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is the best way to clean oil-based ink stains off your clothes. If you're out and don't have any around you to use, you can also use hand sanitizer or nail polish remover since they have alcohol in them. The best way to pre-treat this stain is by laying it flat and placing a towel you don't care about in between the layers of your clothing. This will prevent the ink from transferring from the front of a shirt to the back.


Maytag recommends dripping the rubbing alcohol onto the ink stain. Then take a paper towel and blot the area. Continue adding more and blotting it away until the ink is gone. If you're dealing with a tough stain, you can leave the rubbing alcohol to absorb for about 5 minutes. Then go back in with the paper towel. When it's time to wash your clothing, rinse the area with warm water and set your machine to the hottest cycle the fabric can handle.

Laundry detergent

Using laundry detergent is a great way to pre-treat your clothing before putting it in your washing machine. You don't have to have any extra cleansers than the soap you own. It works best on water-based ink stains since there isn't any oil to cut through. Take a bit of your detergent and cover the ink. Reader's Digest recommends leaving it for a couple of minutes to soak before blotting the area with a paper towel or rag. You don't want to scrub because that can push the ink further into the fibers of your garment.


When the stain is no longer there, you can put it in your washing machine. Set it to a warm or cool cycle. Make sure you check the area before throwing it in the dryer because the heat will keep the ink in your clothing permanently. If it doesn't look clean, go back to pre-treating the area with detergent and blotting it. Then put it back in the wash. Once it looks like new, you can put it in the dryer.


If you're struggling to remove water-based ink stains, milk is the unusual cleanser for you. Care 4 Wear explains that this drink works well because it contains fat with lipophilic compounds that can dissolve the ingredients in pen ink. Doing this method is not hard at all. First, you should fill a dish with milk. Whole would work the best, but use what you have available in your home. Then place your stained garment to soak for at least 30 minutes.


After it's done, you may notice some of the ink still sticking to your clothes. Take an old toothbrush and gently scrub the area until the stain is gone. Doing this helps to loosen the ink from your clothing's fibers. Once it looks almost clean, you can throw it in your laundry machine. Set it to your regular cycle and check the area before drying it. If the stain is still there, soak it and rewash it.


You need to act fast when you see a drop or a puddle of ink on your clothing. In the long run, waiting to clean the area will only make it harder to remove. You may not be able to pre-treat the stain depending on where you are, but there is one step you can take. Absorbing the extra ink is necessary to prevent the stain from becoming any larger than it already is. Paper towels and napkins are an option. However, salt is the best way to absorb as much ink as possible without spreading it.


To use it properly, pour a large amount of table salt onto the wet ink. It should completely cover the area, according to Molly Maid. Give it a moment to absorb, and then dab the area with a damp paper towel. Brush the rest of the salt away. If your clothing is still wet with ink, add another thick layer of salt and repeat the process. Keep doing it until your clothing is dry. Once you're home, you can pre-treat the area with one of the steps from above.

If the stain dried

Maybe you couldn't quickly remove the excess ink or pre-treat the area before it dried. Luckily, there is still a way for you to get rid of any stains from your clothes. At this point, you have two options. The natural method uses lemon juice to lighten the area until the ink is no longer visible. Maids recommend squeezing a lemon and applying the juice to your stain. For the best outcome, it should be completely saturated. Then lay your clothing outside on a sunny day. After a couple of hours in direct sunlight, it will remove the stain by lightening it.


The other method is to use bleach. If you're using clothing that was dyed, it's safer to use color-safe bleach. Dilute ΒΌ cup of bleach for every gallon of water, according to Clorox. Then let your clothing soak for about 5 minutes. After the time is up, throw it in your washer with the hottest setting your fabric can handle.