Simple methods for removing ink stains from clothes

Regardless of how those got wherever they are, ink stains are never welcome. They may actually look scary and make you believe that you should part with your favourite shirt or even replace your carpets. Fortunately for you, we have some good news – some ink stains can actually be removed. And the best part is – you can even use simple household products in order to do that. The only important thing to remember is not to wash and dry your clothes before removing the ink stains. The heat will set the stain and make it impossible to remove.

We will show you a few ways in which you can treat ink stains so keep reading and choose the one that you like the best.

Before you begin:
You should always determine the type of ink that caused the stain. Water-based inks are some of the easiest to remove. Permanent ink is a much bigger challenge but still possible to remove. Ballpoint ink responds well with most of the methods we will talk about in this article.

Pro Tip: Do not allow your ink stains to dry. A fresh ink stain will be so much easier to remove. If you are lucky to spot it as soon as it happens, cover it with salt and dab it with a wet paper towel. Keep doing this until the stain is gone.

What you will need:

  • Clean, dry towels
  • Small bowl or tub
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Oxy bleach
  • Nail polish remover
  • Milk
  • Vinegar
  • Cornstarch

For water-based ink stains

1. Blot the stain – Place the stained clothing on a clean towel and blot it with another wet cloth. The stain will transfer onto the cloth.
2. Add detergent to the spot – Add a bit of liquid laundry detergent to the stain and let it soak in for 5-10 minutes. Make sure you don’t allow it to dry.
3. Wash the piece of clothing with hot water – After treating the stain with the laundry detergent, make sure the entire stain is gone, and wash the clothing with the hottest recommended water for the type of fabric it is made of. If any ink stain remains, repeat the cleaning steps, then wash.

For permanent ink stains

Rubbing alcohol works very well when it comes to removing permanent ink stains. However, it may not completely get rid of the stain (the ink is permanent for a reason) but it will surely help fade the ink-stained area. If you are treating a white piece of clothing that can be bleached, your chances of removing the stain will be higher.
1. Test the fabric – Place the garment on a clean white towel and apply a bit of alcohol to a hidden part of it. If it is not damaged by it, you can continue with the next steps.
2. Blot the stain with rubbing alcohol – Put some rubbing alcohol on a cloth and blot the stain away with it. This will dilute the stain and make it easier to remove. While doing this, the towel underneath may absorb some of the ink that is coming out from the stained piece. If that happens, move the garment to a dry and clean area of the towel. That way you will prevent the stained fabric from reabsorbing some of the ink. Continue doing this until all ink is gone. After that, rinse the clothing of all alcohol that may be left on the clothing. If you are removing ballpoint ink using alcohol, apply some liquid laundry detergent and let it sit for 3-5 minutes.
3. Check the fabric and give it a good wash – If the stain is gone, give it the hottest wash, suitable for the type of fabric. If the stain is still there, mix oxygen bleach and cool water. Follow package instructions to find out how much of what to mix for this solution. Submerge the garment and leave it in for 8 hours at least. If the stain remains, mix a fresh solution and repeat this process. Make sure the stain is completely gone before drying the piece of clothing.

How to use nail polish remover for ink stain removal?

Always use nail polish remover carefully, since it may damage the fabric.
1. Test the fabric – apply a little bit of nail polish remover to a hidden area of the garment and make sure it does not damage the fabric or change its colour.
2. Blot the stain – Put some nail polish remover on a cotton swab or a clean cloth. Dab the ink stain until the stain transfers completely.
3. Rinse and wash – When finished, rinse the piece of clothing in order to remove all of the nail polish remover and launder the clothing as instructed on the label.

To remove ink stains with milk

You can use this if you are treating gentle and delicate fabrics that will not be able to take harsh products like rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover.
Fill a tub or a bucket with milk and submerge the entire garment in it. Let it soak overnight and wash as you would normally.

To remove ink stains with vinegar and cornstarch

Wet the stained ink area with vinegar and make a vinegar and cornstarch paste. Work this paste into the fabric and let it dry. Wash the clothing without removing the dried paste.
Do not use any of those methods on clothes and fabrics that are only meant to be dry-cleaned. You will risk damaging them. Instead, bring them to a professional.