How to Get Ink out of Clothes

by Editor

Whether your pen leaked accidentally during a long day of schoolwork or while you were drafting something at the office, there’s nothing more aggravating than discovering an ink stain on your clothes late on a laundry day.


Allowing ink stains to spoil your favorite dress is not a good idea. Fortunately, ink stains on garments can be removed with basic home items. To remove ink stains from the surface, you must first determine what type of solution will work with the cloth and how to apply it.


Follow our advice on how to remove ink out of clothes and other fabric items before making a mistake that will simply draw more attention to the stain. This easy stain-removal guide will show you how to get ink out of garments quickly.

Ways to Remove Ink from Clothes 2022

how to remove ink on clothes

Determine the Ink Type

First, identify what kind of ink had caused the stain. Water-based ink stains, such as those left by washable markers, are among the most straightforward to remove. A permanent ink stain, such as those left by most permanent highlighters and markers, can be more difficult to remove, but ballpoint ink is quite easy otherwise. 


Ink stains that are still fresh are easier to erase than those that have dried. If you catch an ink stain before it dries, cover it with salt, wipe it lightly with a damp paper towel, and then brush the salt away. Repeat until the stain is no longer visible.


Remove the stain by blotting.

Place the stained garment on a clean, dry towel or cloth. Using another clean cloth, dab the stained area with water. The ink stain will begin to transfer to the cleaning cloth as you blot.


Apply Detergent to the Affected Area

Allow the garment to sit for three to five minutes after applying a little amount of liquid laundry detergent to the ink stain.

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Do a hot water wash on the garment.

Wash according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the hottest water advised for the fabric type. Before drying, double-check that the ink stain has been completely removed. Repeat the cleaning methods if any traces of the discolored area remain.


Test the Fabric

Place the stained object on top of a clean white towel. Test the rubbing alcohol on a cloth seam that isn’t visible. Continue to the following step if the item does not appear to be damaged.


Blot the Stain Using Rubbing Alcohol

Blot rubbing alcohol on the spot using a paper towel or clean cloth. The stain will be diluted, making it easier to remove in the washer.

The ink leaking out of the clothing may cause the towel underneath to get wet and discolored; if this occurs, shift the garment to a clean, dry patch of the towel to avoid the region from reabsorbing any of the removed ink.

Carry on in this manner until there is no more ink to be removed. Rinse the stained area thoroughly to remove any traces of rubbing alcohol; several rinses may be required.

If you’re trying to get rid of ballpoint pen ink, use standard liquid washing detergent after the rubbing alcohol and let it sit for three to five minutes.


Examine the Fabric and Wash the Clothes

If the stain is no longer visible, wash your clothing on a regular cycle with the warmest water recommended for the fabric. If the discoloration persists, combine an oxygen-based bleach solution with lukewarm water.

To determine how much product to use per gallon of water, refer to the package directions. Submerge the garment completely and soak it for at least eight hours. If the stain still exists, make a new solution and try again. Before drying the garments, double-check that the stain is entirely gone.

Note: The best stain removal process varies depending on the material, so look through the fabrics listed below to learn how to remove ink stains from all types of clothes.


Remove Permanent Ink Stains From Clothes

Permanent ink stains can often be removed with rubbing alcohol. The liquid won’t totally eliminate the stain (it’s called “permanent ink” for a reason), but it will help to diminish it. If the fabric can be bleached, you might be able to completely remove the stain.


How to Get Rid of Ink Stains on Cotton

To lessen the ink stain, lightly spray the cloth with hair spray. Then soak for 30 minutes in 1 quart warm water with 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing detergent and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. (First, test in an unobtrusive location.) 

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Allow to dry after rinsing with water. If the stain lingers, use an absorbent cloth dampened with alcohol to press it out. As the stain lifts, change the cloth. After removing the stain, dab it with water and then a dry cloth.


How to Remove Ink from Canvas and Linen Clothes

Test rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous region before using it to erase ink stains from washable linen or canvas. Then, with the cloth taut, lay the stained area facedown over the mouth of a jar or glass to prevent the ink spot from spreading. 


Using rubbing alcohol, dribble it through the stain. As the ink falls into the jar, the alcohol will draw it along. After rinsing thoroughly and allowing to air dry, double-check that the stain has been gone before laundering according to the fabric’s care instructions.


How to Wipe Ink out of Polyester and Nylon Clothes

Test the treatment on an inconspicuous corner or seam to check for color damage before attempting to remove ink stains from polyester or nylon. The stained area should then be stretched over the lip of a jar or glass. 

Drizzle rubbing alcohol over the stain, capturing the ink residue in the jar as you go. After rinsing, hang to dry. If necessary, wash the item and use a color-safe bleach (as long as the label says it’s alright). Allow to air dry and check for ink before drying as advised.


How to Remove Ink from Corduroy Clothes

To get a pen ink stain out of washable corduroy, soak fabric in a mix of 1/2 teaspoon mild, clear dish detergent and 1 tablespoon white vinegar diluted in 1 quart warm water for 30 minutes. 

Allow to air dry after rinsing with water. If the stain persists, use rubbing alcohol to remove it (test on an inconspicuous spot first). Wash as advised on the garment’s label after rinsing with water. Allow to air dry and verify for complete stain removal before continuing to dry as advised.


How to Remove Ink Stains on Jeans

This simple method for removing ink stains from jeans can keep your denim jacket or favorite pair of jeans in good condition. Begin by blotting excess ink with a paper towel or cloth as soon as possible, being careful not to press the stain deeper into your jeans. 

If you get an ink stain on your pants when you’re away from home, dab it with a few drops of water first. Apply isopropyl rubbing alcohol to the spot with paper towels or a clean cloth below your pants, then gently scrub with a cotton swab or soft-bristled toothbrush. 

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Before washing your jeans on the cold cycle, rinse the ink stain with cold water. Ink stains on jeans can also be removed with commercial stain sticks and sprays. Once clean, hang to air dry.


How to Remove Ink Stains on Wool Clothing

Blot the ballpoint pen stain with paper towels as soon as possible on wool items. To test if the stain comes out, try to blot the wool with cold water initially. If the stain persists, dab it with hairspray and repeat until the stain disappears. Using warm water, blot the area. Alternatively, you may gently scrape the stain with a soft-bristle toothbrush dipped in a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar. Using cold water, dab and blot dry.


How to Remove The Ink Stains from Leather

Use a leather-specific cleaning agent to get ink stains out from your leather apparel. Apply the leather cleanser with a clean cloth as soon as possible after staining, especially within the first six hours. Follow the leather cleaner’s manufacturer’s directions.


How to Get Ink Out of Silk

Ink stains on silk clothes should be blotted as quickly as possible with paper towels. Simply dab the stain with cold water until it disappears. If the stain persists, spritz with hairspray and dab until the stain disappears. Blot with warm water to finish. You can also gently scrub the discoloration with a soft toothbrush dipped in a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar. Using cold water, dab the area, then dry by blotting.


How to Remove Ink from Velvet

Before attempting to remove an ink stain from velvet, make sure to read the instructions on the garment’s label. To remove a ballpoint pen stain from washable velvet, soak fabric in a mix of 1/2 teaspoon mild, clear dish soap and 1 tablespoon white vinegar diluted in 1 quart warm water for 30 minutes. 


Rinse thoroughly with water and air dry. If the stain persists, use rubbing alcohol to remove it (test on an inconspicuous spot first). Rinse with water and wash according to the garment’s label instructions. Allow it air dry, then verify to ensure the stain has been removed before continuing to dry as advised.


Key Takeaways

Fresh ink stains are easier to erase than dried ink stains, so follow our advice right away. Always test on an unnoticeable spot of the clothing, use the correct method for your kind of ink, and don’t dry the garment until the spot is totally gone.

Furthermore, there are methods that can be used in specific clothes that are exclusively safe and effective for that particular fabric type.


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