How to Get Ink Stain Out of Clothes  

There are many scenarios where your cloth might get stained with ink. You could forget your pen in your pocket, or your little one may decide to use your clothes as a notebook.

Whatever the case may be, discovering an ink stain on your laundry day can be a very frustrating experience. Ink is made of pigment, dyes, and oils that seep into fabrics and can be very difficult to remove.

15 Ways to Get Ink Out of Clothes  

With our tips, you won’t need to worry about getting rid of ink stains out of your fabric:

First Step: Determine The Type of Ink Stain

Stylus pens
Stylus pens

The best method to remove ink stains depends on the type of stain you are dealing with.  For this reason, you should determine the type of ink stain on your cloth before you begin. There are two major types of stains:

  • Water-Based Ink 

Water-based ink is found in rollerball pens, gel pens, fountain pens, drawing (dip) pens, and washable markers. They are pretty easy to remove compared to oil-based inks. 

  • Oil-Based Inks

These are found in ballpoint pens, permanent markers, dry-erase markers, highlighter pens, and felt-tip pens and prove more difficult to remove. Using alcohol or glycerin-based products is often the solution. 

How To Get Ink Out Of Your Clothes

No matter the case, removing ink stains from your fabric is possible. Just ensure that you treat the stains before washing and drying the cloth to avoid ending up with permanent stains. Here are 15 methods to treat ink stains before washing:

Method 1: Use Salt:

Fresh ink stains are easier to remove than dried stains. If you are lucky to notice the ink stains before it dries, grab some salt from the kitchen and cover the stain with it. Next, use a wet paper towel to brush off the salt until the stain is no longer visible. 

Method 2: Use Vinegar and Cornstarch:


Use Lemon Juice + Vinegar

Instead of cornstarch, you can also mix vinegar with lemon juice. Combine an equal amount of lemon juice with vinegar, then apply to the stained area and leave for up to 1 hour. Wash the fabric as usual when done. 

Method 3: Use Baking Soda and Water

Baking soda is a great household ingredient that helps get rid of tough stains like ink. This solution works even if the ink-stained clothe has been washed and dried. Mix two parts of baking soda with one part of water to make a paste. 

Soak a cotton swab in the baking soda paste, then dab on the ink stains. Keep dabbing on the ink stains until it’s gone. Then, wash normally with detergent. 

Method 4: Use Soap and Water

You can use laundry soap, detergent, or shampoo for water-based and semi-permanent inks. If your soap has some alcohol, it will work for oil-based and water-based stains. If not, it will only work for water-based stains. Mix some soap with warm water and soak your fabric for a few minutes. Afterward, scrub the cloth and rinse in lukewarm water. 

Method 5: Use Chlorine Bleach: White Clothes

If you have tried other methods without results, you can consider using bleach. This is best for white fabrics alone, and you should be very cautious to avoid damaging the cloth. Also, not every white fabric can withstand bleach, so you should approach this method with caution. 

Method 6: Use Stain Remover

Whip-It Multipurpose Stain Remover Concentrate
Whip-It Multipurpose Stain Remover Concentrate

Commercial stain removers can work well to remove stains like ink. If the stain remover has alcohol as an ingredient, then it should work for oil-based stains. If it doesn’t, it will only work for water-based stains. 

Soak the stained part of the outfit in cold water, then apply the stain remover to the stained area. You can dab gently with another cloth or a soft brush. Leave for some minutes, and then rinse the area. Wash as usual if the stain is gone, or try a different method if the stain remains. 

Method 7: Use Dry Cleaning Fluids

Cleaning fluids can also help get rid of ink stains. Simply follow the instructions on the label to remove stains. Once the stain is gone, wash the fabric as usual. 

Method 8: Use Toothpaste 


Your toothpaste is also an effective option to get rid of ink stains on your garments. Cover the ink-stained area with a sufficient amount of toothpaste and rub the area until the stain starts disappearing. Repeat the process until the stain is gone, then wash as usual. 

Note: Avoid using gel-based toothpaste for this method. Only use non-gel-based toothpaste. 

Method 9: Use Rubbing Alcohol 

Rubbing Alcohol 

Rubbing alcohol is very effective for oil-based inks and water-based inks. But this method is only great for non-delicate materials. For instance, rubbing alcohol on materials like rayon or silk can be too harsh on the fabric and may damage the cloth. 

Before starting, test the rubbing alcohol in an inconspicuous part of the cloth, especially when dealing with colored garments. If there’s no problem, proceed by soaking a white cloth in the alcohol, then blot the stain. You will notice the ink stain as it starts to lift, then add more rubbing alcohol and leave it for about 5 minutes. Blot them again until the stain is gone, then rinse with cold water. 

Method 10: Use Glycerin


Glycerin is another excellent option for oil-based stains. Lay the fabric flat on a white towel, then soak the stained spot in the water. Next, apply glycerin to the stained area and leave for about 10 minutes. 

You can also add detergent or dish soap for added effect. Next, blot the stained part until all the suds are gone. Wash as normal once the stain is gone. 

Note: Always spot test the fabric before using glycerin. 

Method 11: Using Aerosol Hairspray

Suave Max Hold Aerosol Hairspray

If you have an aerosol hairspray, you can use it instead of rubbing alcohol. Hairspray contains enough alcohol to break down the oil in oil-based ink. 

Method 12: Using Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish Remover

You can use nail remover polish if you are dealing with leather materials or oil-based stains. Mix about 1 tsp of nail polish remover with 2 tsp of water and rub it over the stain using a cotton swab. 

Method 13: Use Hand Sanitizer

Hand Sanitizer

If you have a hand sanitizer in your bag, you can use it to get rid of your ink stains. Hand sanitizer contains some percentage of alcohol that can dissolve ink stains. 

Method 14: Use Sandpaper


If the cloth with ink stain is suede, then you should consider using sandpaper. Suede has so many filaments, so rubbing the stained part with sandpaper should work just fine.

Consider applying glycerin, rubbing alcohol, or any of the methods discussed above over the ink stain before using sandpaper. 

Method 15: Use Milk

This is odd, but milk has some fat content that makes it capable of dissolving pen inks. For this reason, it can only work with water-based ink stains. Soak the stained part of the cloth in milk for about 10 minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water. Afterward, wash normally and repeat the process if the stain persists.  Before you proceed with this method, it’s best to test the milk on an inconspicuous area of the cloth. 

Important Tip: It’s best to put the garment on top of a white towel before treating the ink stain. This is important because, in the case of any color transfer, other parts of your fabric won’t be affected. 

How To Get Rid of Dried Out Ink Stains

It’s best to treat ink stains immediately when you notice them for easy removal. If, for some reason, you are treating the ink stains after you washed or dried it out, then you may still be able to get rid of them. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: 

Consider combining glycerin with dish detergent and applying it to the stain. You can also use ink stain removal or Vinegar + Lemon juice for this. 

Step 2:

Let the solution sit on the stain for up to 15 minutes 

Step 3:

Mix some dish soap or detergent with lukewarm water and wash the garment in it

Step 4: 

Soak a ball of cotton wool in sanitizer, hair spray, or rubbing alcohol and dab the inked area until the stain starts to remove. 

Step 5: 

Rinse with cold water and wash in a machine or by hand. 

If this doesn’t work for your dried-out stains, you may have to get a professional to dry clean it. 

The Type of Fabric Matters!

When it comes to cleaning fabrics, the type of materials you are dealing with matters a lot. It matters whether you are dealing with cotton, linen, jeans, or wool. Always read the manufacturer’s label on the best method to wash a particular fabric. 

Also, ensure you pick a safe stain-removing method for your outfit. 

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