by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated July 27, 2020)
Ink stains can ruin your day, especially if they are on a favorite item of clothing. Luckily, there are several ways to get an ink stain out of clothing.
One of the best-known ways to get rid of an ink stain is to use hairspray on it. The alcohol in the hairspray removes permanent marker graffiti from walls and sometimes works on polyester or polyester-blend clothing. Of course, you may choose to skip the hairspray, which has less alcohol in it these days, and just use the alcohol. All you have to do is keep a towel underneath the stain as you apply the alcohol, and then blot at it until the stain goes through to the towel beneath. Take care to move the part of the towel being soiled as you use this technique, since the trick will backfire if you do not. This method works really well on permanent marker and ballpoint pen stains. The problem is, ink can be made from a lot of different things, so there are times when this trick will not work.
When basing the treatment of the problem on the type of ink used, be sure to consider what kind of surface you are getting the stain off of and whether it can handle the method you have chosen.
A good way to get water-based ink stains (such as those from a marker) off clothing is to apply water to it and blot it off onto a clean towel. Then, you will need to apply laundry detergent to the affected area and allow it to sit for about three to five minutes before laundering in the warmest water the fabric the stain is on can handle. After the stain has gone through the washing machine, check to see if it is still there. If it is, DO NOT put it in the dryer. Simply apply more laundry detergent to the stain, let it sit for another three to five minutes, and wash again. Repeat the cycle until the stain is removed completely.
Permanent ink stains are almost impossible to remove from fabrics unless the fabric is able to be bleached. Sometimes nail polish remover can work if alcohol does not. Sometimes acetone works, though you should not use it on acetate and rayon fabrics. And, if you want to try to scrub it off, you can always rub a paste of baking soda and water on it. Finally, if you have some stain remover to apply, you can use that.
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