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How To Remove Ink Stains

Updated on October 22, 2011

Are you one of those people who are prone to leaving uncovered pens in your front pocket and only when someone points out the blooming flower on your chest you happen to notice that its actually an ink- stain?. Do you have an ink-stain on an expensive garment that you don’t want to discard but the stain is not coming out no matter what you do?

Then despair not, because ink stains, no matter how persistent they seem, are actually removable. There are people who are very careless about the pens that they use and leave them un-covered on surfaces such as tables or put them in bags and forget about them.

There can be any number of miserable things that you might have done with those pens, but before you learn how to remove them stains, you’ll have to learn a few basics about ink- and of course those stains.

Ink Stains on fabric
Ink Stains on fabric

A Few Basics About Ink Stains:

The stains that you get on you’re clothes or other surfaces may be permanent or removable, depending on the type of the ink in question.

Most ball point pens leave unbelievably permanent ink marks so if you are trying to remove one of those marks, you’ll be highly disappointed.

Aside from using bleach, nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol you’ve got very little choice left and worse still if the cloth or material is colored and cannot be bleached or is very delicate and rubbing alcohol cannot be applied on it then you are a certain goner.

But if the stain in question has been caused by fountain pen ink, then you still can remove it effectively.

The most important thing that you need to know about these stains is: if you let the ink stain dry out, you’ll lessen the chances of removing it altogether.

So remember, the first step in optimal ink stain removal is to keep the ink stain wet until you can get to the proper supplies and do something to remove these stains.

 If you are away from home and it’ll take you a while yet to get your hands on something to remove these stains, then get yourself a glass of water and from time to time dip your fingers into the water and touch your wet finger to the stain in question so that it doesn’t dry out.

The stains may be of different types depending on the surface that they are staining and following are some of the ink-stains that you might encounter- and of course the suggestions on how to remove them:

Ink Stains On Cotton & Other Washable Fabrics

Once you have made sure that you did not let the ink stain get dry, it is fairly simple to remove ink stains from cotton and other such washable fabrics. Get a thick wad of kitchen paper and place it under the area of the fabric where the stain is.

Now get your hands on a good quality alcohol based hair-spray (DO NOT confuse mousses with good old fashioned hair spray), and spray on top of the fabric with the stain. This will loosen the ink particles from the fabric. Leave for a while and blot out the stain with another wad of kitchen paper, before you soak the cloth in warm water with detergent.

Wash as you regularly do and before drying make sure the stain is completely out. If not, you may want to try treating the cloth with some rubbing alcohol. Just pour a little rubbing alcohol on an absorbent pad and stroke the inky surface with it slowly. This is sure to get that stain out of your clothes.

How To Remove Ink Stains From Clothes

Ink Stains On Wool, Silk & Other Non-Washable Fabrics

If the stain is on a surface that is as delicate as silk and wool then in no case should you use ammonia or any other cleaning agents that use ammonia.

Your best bet is using a mixture of salt and vinegar. Take a little cleaning solution and add a tablespoon or two of vinegar to it. Also add a tablespoon of salt. Now apply the whole mixture to the stained are and every 5 minute or so use a blotting paper to blot out the effected area.

Make sure the area is kept wet and do not let it dry out. It will take somewhere around 30 minutes for the stain to go out. If the stain persists then you can try the rubbing alcohol method on it as well.

Ink stains on floor.
Ink stains on floor.

Ink Stains On Flooring Tiles Made Of Marble & Other Types Of Stone And Brick Surfaces

If the ink stain is on marble or other such delicate material, then you need to soak a piece of cloth in warm soapy water and rub the surface of the stain. Apply a bit of rubbing alcohol over the surface and once the stain is removed completely, was the surface using water and a cleaning agent.

If the surface is stone, brick or mortar, you will need a good quality detergent mixed in with water. Rub the mixture over the stained surface and using a brush that has soft bristles, scrub the surface of the stain. Once the stain is removed, use water to clean out the detergent.

Whatever the kind of surface that you have stained, make sure you do not let the stain dry out and also make sure you are always using good quality cleaners and cleaning agents. After all, if you do not take care, you might end up doing more damage to the fabric than the ink stain did!

How To Remove Ink Stains From Carpet


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    • profile image

      Deanna Bitd 

      20 months ago

      I like all the information

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Thank you so much! I almost gave up cleaning spilt ink from my marble floor until I saw your article.

    • Elearn4Life profile image

      Darlene Matthews 

      8 years ago

      Helpful tips!


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