Ever wondered how to get ink stains out of clothes once you’ve found them? Here’s help!
Unless you’re a person who never forgets to put the cap back on the pen, or you actually like the look of a pocket protector, you need to know how to get ink stains out of clothes.
It’s happened to all of us, including me. Just the other day I tucked a ballpoint pen in the pocket of my favorite pink hoodie without putting on the cap. Sure enough, I found an ink stain on it when I was doing the wash. Fortunately, I’ve learned how prone my family is to ink stains, so I had the ingredients below on hand. Now you’ll know what to keep in stock, too.
How To Get Ink Stains Out Of Clothes
As with most laundry stains, it’s easier to get fresh ink out of clothing than ink that’s been set by the dryer. That’s why your grandma inspected every item of clothing, one at a time, as she dropped them into the machine.
Life is a lot busier these days, so if you can’t make inspecting clothes part of your laundry routine, don’t fret. I honestly don’t know too many people who take such pains before doing the wash. Me? I keep a stain treatment stick tied to my laundry hamper and do my best to remember to treat stains as I get undressed.
But ink stains need more than just a stain stick, especially if you didn’t see them before they went through the wash.
Fresh Ink Stains
The first step is to blot up us much ink as possible. To do this, 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. It’s important not to rub or wipe while you’re doing this or you may cause the stain to spread.
Next, place the stained part of the clothing flat on an old towel or brown paper bag. Dip a clean cloth into rubbing alcohol (surgical spirits in the U.K.) until it’s wet and dab the stain. As before, rotate the cloth you’re working with, so you’re always using a clean section. Again, don’t rub or wipe or you’ll risk spreading the ink — the goal is to transfer the ink from your clothing to the rag.
If you don’t have any rubbing alcohol, you can use hairspray as Jillee did. Do note, however, that any added fragrances, moisturizers or “shine enhancers” can discolor some clothing. I’ve found that aerosol spray works much better than a pump spray, so I always keep a can of Aqua Net around for this task (and for those times I’m nostalgic for the 80s).
Either way, once you’ve done your best dabbing the stain, launder it on the hottest setting the fabric can handle. Check that the stain is fully gone before transferring it to the dryer. If it’s still there, repeat the rubbing alcohol process and launder it again. (Handwashing in the sink is perfectly okay in case you don’t feel like running an entire load of clothes.)
Old Ink Stains
Getting an old ink stain out is considerably more difficult, but not impossible! Try the method above first — it often removes even older ink stains.
If the stain persists, head to the pharmacy for a bottle of plain glycerin. Combine one tablespoon of glycerin and one teaspoon of liquid dish detergent in a small bowl. Dip a cloth into this mixture and dab both sides of the stain. Let this sit for 5 minutes then dab more plain glycerin on the stain. Launder after 10 minutes and the stain should disappear.
An Ounce of Prevention
Since it’s much easier and more efficient to get fresh ink stains out of clothing, you might want to consider keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse, desk, or car for just such occasions. It’s alcohol-based so you can treat ink stains with a dab of hand sanitizer and a tissue the instant they happen. The sanitizing hand wipes work well, too!