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How To Get Ink Out Of Clothes: Remove Fresh Or Old Pen Stains

I have lost a few items of clothing over the years thanks to ink. I am talking about putting a pen in the pocket of my hoodie, a work shirt that got covered in ink while working, and as I am a parent felt tip pen stains have been a battle scar on more than my fair share of clothing!

Well instead of just throwing out your item of clothing that has been damaged by ink, I am going to share with you tips for getting ink out of clothes.

How To Get Fresh Ink Stains Out Of Clothes

If the ink stain is fresh and you are able to treat it right away, you will have a much easier time getting rid of that ink stain. It is very important to remember, you do not want to scrub or rub, just dab and I am not talking about the weird dance all the kids are doing these days.

  • Start by blotting up as much ink as you can with a paper towel. If you act quickly, the ink will not have time to set into the item of clothing. Keep moving the paper towel around so that a clean piece is touching it. Keep on doing this until no more ink is going onto the paper towel.
  • Next, you need to use some rubbing alcohol. Put the item of clothing on a bit of paper or a towel to prevent getting rubbing alcohol all over the place. Now you want to take a cloth and get it soaked in rubbing alcohol and repeat the blotting process again. Keep on blotting away until no more ink is appearing on the rubbing alcohol covered cloth.
  • Put the garment into the washing machine. Once you have blotted and dabbed all you can, throw that sucker into the washing machine. Check the label of the fabric and wash it on the hottest setting that it is able to handle.
  • If the stain remains, move onto the next part. Hopefully when it comes out of the washing machine that stain will be gone. If it is not, try the steps for getting an older ink stain out.

How To Get Old Ink Stains Out Of Clothes

getting out old ink stains

Older ink stains can be a royal pain in the rear end to get out. This is because the ink bonds to the cloth and it does not want to let go! It is hard, but with a little work and some elbow grease, you can get it done.

  • Try some Glycerin. If the rubbing alcohol is not doing the job, head to the store (maybe a pharmacy) and pick up a bottle of glycerin. Just plain old glycerin is what you want. So make sure you tell the people in the store that.
  • Make a mixture of Glycerin and liquid dish soap. Using a bowl make a mixture of one tablespoon of your freshly bought glycerin and a teaspoon of the liquid dish soap that you have in the kitchen. Some dish soap is designed with getting rid of oil and grease so looking for some that is designed with that in mind could be a good idea.
  • Using a cloth you want to dab/blot the stain really thoroughly.Make sure you do both sides of the item of clothing as by now the ink will have really bonded with the item of clothing. You want to leave it for around five minutes and then give it a second dabbing, this time with just plain glycerin and not the dish soap mixture. Leave it to sit for a further ten minutes.
  • Wash the item of clothing. Check the label and see what the hottest temperature the item of clothing can handle, and throw it into the washer. Check to see if the stain is gone, if not repeat the steps again.

I Heard That Hairspray Works On Pen Stains

One of the classic home remedies for ink stains is hairspray. This may have been true 20 maybe even 30 years ago.

However, hairspray does not have much if any alcohol in it these days so it is not going to be very effective at all and depending on what is in the hairspray you are using, it could end up damaging your item of clothing even further.

What About Hand Sanitizer For Removing Ink?

While hairspray will not do much good at all, hand sanitizer does tend to have alcohol in it still. You want to make sure it is not colored (so none that is aimed at kids) and that it does contain alcohol.

Having some of this on hand is not a bad idea at all as you can use it to treat any ink stains as soon as they happen and you will have a much easier chance of getting rid of that stain before it sets. At the very least if it happens while you are at work, it will make it easier to get rid of the stain when you finally get home.

Watch Out For Ink In The Dryer

If you are like me and prefer to dry your clothes in a dryer rather than them getting pooped on by the birds or soaking wet when it rains, you need to make sure that the stain is gone before you dry it. If you put it in the dryer with the stain still on, it will be even harder for you to get rid of it.

Always Remember, No Scrubbing The Stain!

I have said it a couple of times now, but rubbing an ink stain even an older one is the worst thing that you can do. It just presses the ink in even more which makes it harder or near impossible to remove without taking it to a professional garment cleaner.

So while the first instinct is to take it to the sink and rub it like a maniac do not do it! Dabbing and blotting is the way to go.

I will not lie and say that getting ink out of clothes is easy. But if you have been wondering how to get ink out of clothes the two methods I have will give you the best chance possible.

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So if you have had a pen leak in your pocket at work or if one of the kids has got a pen all over their favorite Transformers shirt, you now know how you can try to get rid of it.

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I'm obsessed with cleaning (maybe to an unhealthy degree) and want to share all of my best tips and hacks with you.

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