How to Use Hair Spray to Remove Ink Stains From White Shirts
Does Your Husband Tuck His Pen in His Shirt Pocket?
Try This Before Throwing Out an Ink Stained Shirt
My husband often wears white shirts to work, and he especially likes the kind with pockets. Frequently over the years, he has absent-mindedly tucked his pens into his shirt pocket without making sure he has clicked the point back inside the pen. In other cases, he has had pens that leaked.
Anyone who does laundry for a guy like my husband has probably known that sinking feeling that comes when you realize that the ink mark has probably become a permanent part of the fabric. At times I've been tempted to simply buy my husband nothing but blue, patterned shirts, so the ink marks will not show! However, I have found a solution that frequently (but not always) has worked for me, and has saved a number of my husband's white shirts.
Since these shirts are ruined, unless you can get the stain out, this solution is certainly worth a try!
The Stain Removal Supplies You Will Need
There are just a few things that you will need in order to try this stain removal system for ink. In fact, you probably have them all on hand, already:
The stained shirt
Soak Ink Stain in Cheap Hair Spray
The first step you should take is to place paper towels under the spot and work at a counter that will not be damaged by ink. (Avoid any porous stone or similar surfaces). If you are not sure if your counter is safe, place a plastic garbage bag under the shirt while you are working on it.
Once you have the surface prepared, spray the hair spray onto the spot, and begin to blot the ink spot with another paper towel, using one paper towel under the spot, and one on top. Continue doing this over and over until you have removed as much of the ink as you can.
Be prepared for the spot to actually spread! Therefore, do not try this spot removal system on a tiny dot of ink that you can live with. Only try this if your only alternative is to throw the shirt out, anyway.
Apply Spot Remover and Launder the Shirt
Once you have removed as much ink as possible with the hair spray, liberally apply a spot remover.
Once the spot remover has soaked in, throw the shirt in the wash machine with some and wash it in COLD or WARM water. You do not want to use hot water because it could set the stain.
After you wash the shirt, there may still be a visible ink spot. Allow the shirt to air dry, because you do not want to apply heat until you have washed it at least one more time.
Make Sure You Have Spot Remover on Hand
Launder Again with Hot Water
Repeat the process, using the hair spray and the the spot remover. This time, wash the shirt in HOT water and add a little bleach, according to the instructions on the bleach and your washing machine.
In most cases, the spot is now completely removed and you can put your shirt in the clothes dryer and handle it as you normally would.
When Two Washings are Not Enough
On a few, rare occasions, there has still been a little ink left, even after two home washings. In these cases, I let the shirt air dry again, then treated the ink stain with hair spray and a spot remover one more time, and sent it to a commercial shirt laundry to be "finished." Fortunately, every time I have done this the shirt has come back looking fantastic.
I only send ink stained shirts to the commercial shirt laundry after I have tried the other two steps, first.
Other Uses for Hair Spray on Ink
Hair spray seems to have the ability to dissolve most types of pen ink. The cheaper the hair spray, the better it works. Consequently, I now keep a can of the cheapest hair spray I can buy in my laundry room.
I have used hair spray to removed ink stains in other situations, too. Once, one of my daughters drew with a pen on a new leather sofa. After trying 409 and other cleaning solutions, I tried the hair spray in a tiny area. The ink began to run, and was easily wiped away. You do need to try the hair spray on the back of the sofa or in an inconpicuous spot, before trying this, however. You do not want to ruin the color or make the spot larger.
I have also used hair spray to dissolve ink marks on a wall. Then, I followed up by washing the wall with plain water.
Do not try this on any surface that you cannot easily wash afterwards. In other words, do not use it on suede leather, fabric purses, silk, etc.
Even when I use it on a shirt, I only try it when I believe that I would have to throw out the shirt otherwise.