How to Get Ink Out of Clothing: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Get Ink Out of Clothing

Removing ink stains from clothing can be challenging, but it’s certainly possible with the right approach. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get ink out of clothing:

  • Act Quickly: The faster you treat the stain, the easier it will be to remove. If the ink is still wet, blot it gently with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb as much ink as possible. Avoid rubbing, as this can spread the stain.
  • Check the Fabric Care Label: Before proceeding with any stain removal method, check the care label on the garment to determine the appropriate cleaning method. Some fabrics may be sensitive to certain chemicals or techniques.
  • Test in an Inconspicuous Area: Before applying any cleaning solution to the stained area, test it on a small, inconspicuous part of the fabric to ensure it doesn’t cause damage or discoloration.
  • Choose a Stain Removal Method:
    • Rubbing Alcohol: Place a clean cloth or paper towel underneath the stained area to prevent the ink from spreading to other parts of the fabric. Dampen a cotton ball or cloth with rubbing alcohol and dab it onto the ink stain until the ink begins to transfer onto the cloth. Replace the cloth or cotton ball frequently to avoid reapplying the ink to the fabric. Continue until the stain is lifted, then rinse the area with cold water and launder as usual.
    • Hairspray: Spray a small amount of aerosol hairspray directly onto the ink stain. Blot the area with a clean cloth to lift the ink from the fabric. Repeat as necessary until the stain is removed, then rinse with cold water and launder.
    • Milk: Soak the stained area in milk for several hours or overnight. Milk can help break down the ink stain. After soaking, rinse the fabric with cold water and launder as usual. Read about How to Get Blood Out of Clothing
    • Commercial Stain Removers: There are various commercial stain removers available specifically designed to remove ink stains. Follow the instructions on the product label carefully.
  • Wash the Garment: Once you’ve treated the stain, wash the garment according to the care instructions on the label. Use cold water, as hot water can set the stain further if it hasn’t been completely removed.
  • Check for Residual Stains: After washing, check the garment for any remaining ink stains. If the stain persists, repeat the stain removal process or consider seeking professional help from a dry cleaner.
  • Air Dry: Avoid putting the garment in the dryer until you’re certain the stain is completely removed. Heat from the dryer can set the stain permanently.

By following these steps, you can effectively remove ink stains from clothing and restore your garments to their original condition.

Types of Ink Stains

Before diving into the removal process, it’s essential to understand the type of ink stain you’re dealing with. Ink stains can come from various sources, including ballpoint pens, permanent markers, and printer ink cartridges. Each type of ink may require a slightly different approach for effective removal. Discover about How to Remove Gum from Clothing

Precautions before Treating Ink Stains

When you discover an ink stain on your clothing, it’s crucial to act quickly to prevent the ink from setting into the fabric. Avoid rubbing or smearing the stain further, as this can spread the ink and make removal more challenging.

Ink Stains
Ink Stains

Materials Needed

Before you begin treating the ink stain, gather the necessary materials. These may include rubbing alcohol, hairspray, white vinegar, dish soap, lemon juice, cream of tartar, clean cloths, and a soft-bristled brush. Learn about How to Get Wax Out of Clothes

Methods for Removing Ink Stains

There are several methods you can use to remove ink stains from clothing. Let’s explore each one in detail:

Using Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an effective solvent for breaking down ink stains. Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the stained area and blot gently with a clean cloth. Repeat this process until the stain begins to lift.

Using Hairspray

Hairspray contains alcohol, making it another viable option for ink stain removal. Spray the affected area with hairspray and allow it to sit for a few minutes. Blot the stain with a clean cloth, then rinse with cold water.

Using Vinegar and Dish Soap

Create a solution of white vinegar and dish soap, then apply it directly to the ink stain. Let the solution sit for a few minutes before gently scrubbing the stain with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse the area with cold water.

Using Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar

Mix lemon juice with cream of tartar to create a paste, then apply it to the ink stain. Allow the paste to sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

Steps to Remove Ink Stains

Regardless of the method you choose, follow these general steps for effective ink stain removal:

  1. Blot the stain with a clean cloth to absorb excess ink.
  2. Apply the chosen cleaning solution to the stain.
  3. Gently blot or rub the stain, being careful not to spread it further.
  4. Rinse the area with cold water.
  5. Launder the garment as usual, following the care instructions on the label.

Tips for Stubborn Stains

For particularly stubborn ink stains, consider the following tips:

  • Apply a commercial stain remover before laundering.
  • Use a toothbrush or cotton swab for precise application of cleaning solutions.
  • Test any cleaning solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first to ensure compatibility.
Ink Stains
Ink Stains

Avoiding Common Mistakes

When dealing with ink stains, avoid the following common mistakes:

  • Using hot water, which can set the ink stain.
  • Applying bleach, as it may react with the ink and cause further damage.
  • Using excessive force when scrubbing the stain, which can damage delicate fabrics.


  • Can I use any type of rubbing alcohol for ink stain removal?
    • It’s best to use isopropyl rubbing alcohol with a concentration of at least 70%.
  • Will these methods work on all types of fabric?
    • While these methods are generally safe for most fabrics, it’s always a good idea to test them on a small, inconspicuous area first.
  • What should I do if the ink stain doesn’t come out after one treatment?
    • If the stain persists, repeat the treatment process or consider seeking professional dry cleaning services.
  • Is it safe to use lemon juice on colored fabrics?
    • Lemon juice can act as a natural bleach, so it’s best to avoid using it on colored fabrics to prevent discoloration.
  • Can I use these methods on old ink stains?
    • While these methods are most effective on fresh stains, they may still help lighten older stains with repeated treatments.

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