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Seven easy ways to remove ink stain from your clothes

DIY Fixes and Tips

Many of us are guilty of putting uncapped pens in our pockets and sure enough you will find some ink stain.

Not a pretty sight, removing ink from any clothing can be very challenging especially depending on the type of ink you are dealing with. In short, not all inks are created equal.

The easiest hustle free ink to remove is water-based inks and those found in washable markers. Ink from permanent markers and highlighters can be a nightmare and are the hardest to get rid of. When it comes to ball pen ink, it falls in the middle. It may be tricky to remove but good news is it responds to most methods.

According to Thought Co., the reason ball point pen ink is so tricky to remove is because of its chemical composition. Ball point pens and felt-tip markers consist of pigments and dyes suspended in water and organic solvents, which may include toluene, glyco-ethers, propylene glycol, and propyl alcohol. Other ingredients may be added to help the ink flow or stick to the page, such as resins, wetting agents, and preservatives. Basically, removing the ink requires a solvent that works with both polar (water) and nonpolar (organic) molecules.

To get you started in restoring your favorite shirt back to its glory, here are simple ways you can get rid of those pesky ink stains.

Blot it out

For fresh ink stains, use a paper towel or old white rag and press against the ink stain. Lift the cloth, rotate it, then use a clean area to blot the stain again. Repeat this process until you can’t get any more ink out. Follow by putting a small amount of liquid laundry detergent onto the ink stain and allow the fabric to sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Wash normally with hot water. If ink still remains, repeat the process.

Rubbing alcohol

On a clean white towel place the stained shirt and blot the stain with rubbing alcohol. Before doing so, do a patch test to see how well or bad the shirt reacts then proceed if it isn’t damaged. With every application move the shirt to a clean surface on the towel to prevent the shirt from reabsorbing the removed ink. Repeat until most or all of it is out then wash.


Look for one with the highest alcohol content and spray it on the stain. Using a clean towel blot it out until it is all gone then wash.

Nail polish remover

Again, test it on a hidden patch of the shirt to ensure it will not react. Similar to the hairspray, apply, blot and repeat until the stain dissolves. Wash the shirt afterwards with some warm water and detergent.


If you don’t have any of the above items do not panic. Grab a glass of milk and soak the stained area overnight then wash it out.


If you’re lucky enough to notice a fresh ink stain, quickly pour some salt over the affected area while it is still wet then dab with a wet paper towel. Repeat until the stain is completely lifted.


Start by applying some white vinegar on the stain then rub in a paste made of 2 parts vinegar to 3 parts cornstarch. Allow the paste to sit and dry completely then follow with a thorough wash.


If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you want to have with you?

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