How to Get Ink Out of Clothes: 13 Quick Solutions

By Gladys K. Connelly Updated September 8, 2021
How to Get Ink Out of Clothes: 13 Quick Solutions

We have all been through the housekeeping annoyance of removing ink from clothes. Surely, it is going to be a disaster when we unknowingly washed a pair of pants that has a pen in its pocket. We all know that it is going to be a pain to remove. The same thing goes with removing ink from the furniture.

The truth of the matter is, there is really no catch-all trick in terms of removing stains from fabrics, more so ink stains. You really should know what type of stain you are dealing with before you decide on the type of solution to do. In order to remove ink stains, you also have to be familiar with some fabric application techniques.

There will also be instances where you can make the stain worse, so you really should know what to properly do first before tackling the stain. Do not worry as we are here to give you some on how to remove ink stains. In addition, we are also going to talk about different fabrics and how to deal with them if they get stained.

Why does Ink Stain?

Ink can stain because it is not just simply a coloring. It is made of two components. The first component is the dye and the second component is the oil base. Initially, the ink will stain because you are only tackling the dye, while the oil base remains. There can also be a different type of chemical bond between your clothing and the ink if the garment has been laundered before.


The Importance of Inspecting Laundry

It is a known fact that any type of stain in easier to get out when that stain is still fresh. This is the reason why you should always inspect your laundry first before chucking everything in your washing machine. If you can quickly spot fresh stains, then you can do a special technique before mixing them with the other clothes.

Such techniques are like applying baking soda or using a chemical directly on the stain, etc. But the thing is, in the modern world of today, not everyone has the extra time to sort out their laundry. A quick hack for this is to keep a stain treatment stick near the place where you remove your clothes.

In that way, you can immediately apply something that can at least remove the stain before it goes into your hamper. You should, however, take note that this stain treatment is not enough to completely eradicate a stain. You really need to get your hands dirty if you want that stain gone.


Why does Hairspray No Longer Work?

In the past, hairspray was commonly used to help remove ink stains. But this time around, it rarely works. Why is that? It is because hairsprays nowadays do not have alcohol or they are low in alcohol.

Alcohol is actually the reason why the ink stain can be removed from your clothing. On the other hand, a good thing to use is hand sanitizer because it still contains alcohol. Do keep in mind that if there are any fragrances, colorings, moisturizers, etc inside the hand sanitizer, it might aggravate the stain.

How to Remove Ink Stains: The 13 Fabrics


Let us now go over 13 different fabrics in order to see how to properly remove an ink stain. Just remember that the techniques and tricks that we are going to discuss cannot be interchanged. A specific technique should only be used for that particular fabric.



You need rubbing alcohol for this one. Before doing anything, put some alcohol on a concealed area of the fabric just so you can check if it can damage it. If it does not, then you are good to go. You can then place the area with the stain on glass or jar while facing down.

Make sure that the fabric is held taut so the ink will not be able to spread. Little by little, drop alcohol directly on the stain. You can then rinse and dry it before washing it normally.


You should immediately get a paper towel and blot the stain as soon as possible. Additionally, you can use cold water on the stain in order to help lift it. If there is still stain left, you can apply alcohol until the stain is completely lifted.

You can also use warm water in blotting. Moreover, using a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water with a toothbrush that has soft bristles can also help.


You are going to use alcohol on this one so make sure to do a fabric test first. Next up, you can stretch the area that has a stain and directly put alcohol on it. Make sure to catch any residue using a glass or a jar. Rinse the fabric and dry it before washing it normally in your washing machine.


Again, test the rubbing alcohol first in one spot to make sure that it will not ruin your clothing. You can then place the stained area facing down a glass or a jar. Make sure to stretch that area out to prevent the spread of the ink. Put alcohol on it until the ink lifts. Rinse and dry your clothing, then wash it on a normal cycle.


You can use a bit of hairspray on the stain in order to loosen it. Afterward, you can soak it in a solution of one tablespoon of vinegar, half a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and a quart of water for at least 30 minutes. Rinse your clothing and let it dry. If there is still a stain, use alcohol to lift. Rinse it again and dry before washing it normally.


Do the fabric test first then head on straight to stretching the area over a glass or jar. Slowly drip alcohol on the stain. The residue will be caught by the glass or the jar below. Rinse and dry your clothing then wash it with color-safe bleach. Leave it out to air dry.

Lycra or Spandex

Do not forget to do a fabric test first by putting rubbing alcohol over a hidden area of the clothing to make sure that it will not be damaged. Next is to stretch the area that has a stain on a glass or a jar. Pour alcohol slowly on it, making sure that the residue is caught underneath. Rinse and dry it. You can then wash it normally, but this time with bleach that is safe for colored clothes.


Once you stain your leather clothing, you should immediately apply a leather cleaner on it as soon as you can. The time span is ideally six hours after you initially got the stain. If you pass that time mark, then you might not completely remove the stain. Do take note to follow the washing instructions on your leather clothing.



First up, make sure that you have a water washable chenille. Once you can apply water on it, soak the stained area in a mixture of a tablespoon of vinegar, half a teaspoon of mild dishwashing liquid, and a quart of warm water for at least 30 minutes. Rinse it with cold water and wash it as directed in the care instructions of your clothing.


This is yet another time-sensitive stain so immediately blot the stain with a paper towel. You can also blot with cold water until it lifts. If there is still stain left, use a hairspray and blot it again.

You can then blot with warm water or use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water. Make sure to scrub it softly. Dab it again with color water then rinse and dry.


First off, you should make a solution that is composed of a teaspoon of mild dish soap, a tablespoon of vinegar, and a quart of warm water. Then you should soak the stained area for 30 minutes. You can then rinse and dry it and check if there are still stains. If there are some left, you can use rubbing alcohol, then rinse and dry it again.


Before doing anything do a fabric test first. Afterward, you can dab a bit of consumer solvent that is used for dry-cleaning. Make sure to only apply it sparingly. Check if the stain lifts, then repeat the process if there are still some left.


You need to soak it for 30 minutes in a solution that is composed of a tablespoon of vinegar, half a teaspoon of mild dish soap, a quart of water. You can then rinse it out and dry. If there is still stain left, use rubbing alcohol then rinse and dry it again.



As you might have noticed, there is a bit of a trend with these washing techniques and hacks. There are actually three components that can help remove an ink stain. The first one is alcohol, the second one is a customized solution that we discussed earlier, and the last one is to properly dab the stain.

Read alsoHow to Keep White Clothes White

Just master these techniques and know which one to use on a specific fabric and you will be fine. But to be on the safe side, do take extra care when working with pens to not go through the hard part of washing it off.

About the Author

Gladys K. Connelly

As a HouseKeeping Technical Writer, Gladys actively enjoys writing guides and tips about housekeeping for Thehousewire's audience. She's a housekeeping specialist with just shy of 9 years' experience to boast. That, combined with seven years prior experience in teaching, helps her create content that is both captivating and insightful.

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