How To Get Ink Out Of Clothes – 7 Easy Ways

how to remove ink from clothes

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We’ve all experienced and dreaded getting ink on our clothes at least once. Either a pen leaked, or you got too immersed in writing to see the stains it left behind; no matter what, the outcome is always frightening because there’s probably nothing more gruesome than getting ink out of clothes.

Well, here are some quick and easy ways to get ink stains off your clothes using common household supplies. All of these methods are user-friendly and explained in detail to help you get those stubborn stains out in no time.


Why Does Ink Leave A Stain On Clothes?

Pigments, dyes, and oils are commonly used to create ink. These might stain clothes and leak into the fibers, making them very difficult to remove — especially after they have dried. This is also one of the reasons why even when you’ve removed the dye, the oil stain takes longer to go away.

Ink stains penetrate into the fibers of your clothing, but if you’re lucky enough to notice the stain right away, you can remove it without too much hassle. It takes around two hours for the ink to settle on any fabric completely.

Pro Tips To Remember Before Removing Ink Stains From Clothes

No matter which method you decide to use, keep in mind these tips to help you save time and energy.

1. Always remember to use these methods to remove ink stains before putting clothes in the washing machine. Being proactive will save you a lot of headaches.

2. Ink stains usually get worse with time, so it is always best to take care of them.

3. It is advisable to ensure that the clothes are correctly stained before applying any of the methods stated below. By this, I mean making sure that there are no other substances causing stains in addition to ink (i.e., paint, rust, etc.).

4. Treat only the affected area. Don’t bathe the whole garment in substances used to remove inks stains.

What Is The Difference Between Water Based Ink And Oil Based Ink?

Water-based ink is more common in everyday use, typically in rollerball pens and markers. Generally speaking, water-based ink stains are easier to tackle because they do not contain any oil or wax.

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On the other hand, oil-based ink is difficult to remove from fabric surfaces. Once they dry, oil paints are harder to clean with water-based solvents and may require special cleaners.

Pro Tip: Taking note of the type of ink spilled on fabric is important when removing stains. This will give you an idea of just how stubborn it is and which method is most effective for removal.

7 Easy Methods To Get Ink Out Of Clothes Using Household Items

It is better to know about various methods of removing ink stains from clothes as some of them work better on denim while some work better on silk. Every fabric has its own requirements, and we’ll make sure you are aware of them.

Before you start working, we always recommend placing the garment on a clean white towel. The reason is that if any color transfers from the towel, it won’t damage your clothes.

1. Use rubbing alcohol 

A simple, fast, and effective way to get rid of ink stains is to use rubbing alcohol. Rubbing alcohol dries up most types of substances, especially oil-based ink. However, it is also quite harsh on synthetic fabrics, so it should be used with caution.

How to clean:

  • Spray rubbing alcohol on a clean white cloth and blot the stain until it starts to lift.
  • Soak the spot with rubbing alcohol for five minutes, then blot as before until there is no more ink.
  • Rinse the stain with cold water and dry it once it is gone.

2. Use Stain Removers

Even if your stain remover claims to work on a certain type of cloth, test it on a tiny spot to make sure. Read the instructions mentioned on the remover and follow these steps.

How to clean:

  • Soak the stain in cold water and apply stain remover on it.
  • Use a gentle cloth or brush to rub the remover onto the cloth, and leave it for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Rinse and dry if the stain is gone; if not, repeat the process until you receive satisfactory results.

3. Use Glycerin To Remove Ink Stains

Glycerin is a fantastic option for oil-based ink stains. For cotton and polyester fabrics, we recommend glycerin but test all fabrics carefully. It also helps remove the stains from washable wool and silk.

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How to clean:

  • Apply glycerin on the stain after soaking it in cold water.
  • Let it sit for about 10 minutes, and add a small amount of regular detergent to it.
  • Use a clean cloth to blot the stain until the ink lifts.
  • Finish rinsing the cloth with lukewarm water. When working with wool or silk, moisten a clean cloth and dab until the suds are gone.

4. Using Dish Soap/ Detergent

One good thing about dish soap is that it is safe to use on all kinds of fabric, but it will only work on oil-based ink stains if it is alcohol-based. Water-based ink stains can be removed as is.

How to clean:

  • Start with blotting the stain with a clean white cloth until it starts to lift.
  • Pour a teaspoon of dish soap on the stain. Add more if the stain is more prominent.
  • Leave it for 5 minutes before rubbing the dish soap in.
  • Rinse with lukewarm water and dry as usual.

5. Use Alcohol-Based Hairspray


Alcohol-based hair sprays are also a great option to remove ink stains from cloth. It works on both water-based and oil-based inks.

How to clean:

  • Spray some hairspray on the ink stain and use a clean white cloth to blot it.
  • Soak for 10 minutes and repeat the process until the stain goes away.
  • Rinse with cold water thoroughly so that no residue is left behind.

6. Vinegar And Cornstarch For The Win

You can easily find these ingredients in your kitchen, and they’re perfect for removing ink stains from clothes. White vinegar is fantastic for cleaning up water-based inks, while cornstarch takes care of oil-based inks.

How to clean:

  • Soak the stain in distilled white vinegar.
  • Add two parts white vinegar and three parts cornstarch to create a paste.
  • Cover the ink stain with the paste and let it dry completely before rinsing with lukewarm water.

7. Use Milk For Cleaning Water-Based Ink

Unconventional situations call for unconventional solutions. Use the milk in your fridge to get rid of ink stains. Follow the steps below:

How to clean:

  • Fill a bowl with milk and soak the stained area in it.
  • You may also add a few drops of dishwasher liquid/distilled vinegar if you’re working on tough stains.
  • Leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with lukewarm water.
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How to Get Printer Ink Out of Clothes

Spilled printer ink on your clothes while refilling the cartridge? We might have some ways to help you out. Since printer ink is very concentrated and not watery, it is essential to use methods that work with oil-based ink stains like hairspray or rubbing alcohol.

If that doesn’t do the trick, try a combination of dish soap and detergent with an alcohol-based product. Then wash in cold water with detergent once the stain is mostly gone. Never dry until the stain is entirely gone.

How To Get Ink Out Of Clothes After Drying

There can be times when the stain goes unnoticed even after washing, and that’s where the real problem sets in. If so, start by moistening the stained area with cold water and add a few drops of dishwasher liquid or vinegar while scrubbing the stain to eradicate it before putting it in the washing machine again.

While most people prefer to bleach the cloth in case it’s white, that solution does not work with colors. Instead, try using a solution of equal parts of white vinegar and water on the stained area or use rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, and hairspray before washing it.

Does The Type Of Fabric Matter?

Different fabrics need different treatments. We recommend using glycerin for cotton and polyester fabrics as it works best for them.

Wool or silk can be treated with a damp cloth doused in dish soap. For machine-washable wool and silk items, you can use regular detergent instead of dish soap.

Always read the label attached to the fabric before using any cleaning agent to ensure it’s safe. If it states that it is only fit for dry-cleaning, then it is best to take the cloth to a dry cleaner.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to removing ink stains as you might end up ruining your clothes. The methods mentioned here are tested and work on most kinds of fabrics; however, you should always test them out. We hope you found this useful. Happy cleaning!


Written by Pulkit D

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