How to Remove Ink from Clothing and Fabric

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Here are some tips for removing ink stains from clothes.

First you need to determine what type of ink makes up the stain. There are three common types of inks:

  • Water based ink - from the markers that are used for transparencies and overhead projectors.
  • Ballpoint pen ink
  • Permanent ink - found in many markers, fountain pens, stamp pads and even some ballpoint pens

Dry Erase Marker is not an ink. See our special tips on How to remove Dry Erase Marker
 

To remove Water Based Ink:

Pre-treat with heavy-duty liquid detergent, then rinse thoroughly.

Next soak the stained garment in a dilute solution of all-fabric powdered bleach. If the above steps do not remove the stain you can try soaking the garment in a dilute solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water if the clothing is white or light colored.
Warning - any bleaching damage to colored garments is irreversible. Also, since bleaching can alter the color of the garment, bleach the whole garment and not just a spot. If the stain is not gone in 15 minutes, it cannot be removed by bleaching and further bleaching will only weaken the fabric.

 

To remove Ballpoint Ink:

First, spray or sponge with dry cleaning solvent like perchloroethylene or trichloroethylene and then rub with heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent. Then rinse thoroughly.

Second, soak the stained garment in a dilute solution of all-fabric powdered bleach. If the these steps do not remove the stain you can try soaking the garment in a dilute solution of liquid chlorine bleach and water if the clothing is white or light colored.
*See the bleach warning above.

 

To remove Permanent Ink and Permanent Markers:

It is called permanent ink for a reason - it may be very difficult to remove the whole stain. The procedure below should help to lighten the stain significantly.

First, place the garment on a flat work surface and put the stained section on an old but absorbent towel that is allowed to get stained (or on a thick pad of paper towels). Use a clean white rag dipped in rubbing alcohol and dab at the stain. You should see the stain transfer to the rag. Use another dry cloth to blot up the solution between applications. You may need to re-position the towel underneath to a dry section.

Keep applying the rubbing alcohol and blotting it up several times. Then rinse the spot with clean water and blot that up. Repeat until stain is gone, or at least lighter.

 

Before any spot removal process you should test the product on a non-visible corner of the garment.

No method is always one hundred percent successful. Success can be thwarted by the length of time the stain has set, the material and dyes that make up the fabric, and the chemicals of the stain itself.


Additional stain removal information:
How to remove dry erase marker from clothing   ,   How to wash out Crayons on clothes   ,   Laundry Stain Removal Guide
 



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