How To Get Ink Stains Out of Clothes
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Whether you accidentally flicked your sleeve while jotting down a message or your pen-obsessed little one got to your laundry pile before you did, don’t worry: Carolyn Forte, Appliances and Products Lab Director Cleaning Department from the Good Housekeeping Institute, has two easy methods to remove ink stains from clothing, stat.
Different ink stains require different care, so be sure to follow the correct how-to guide depending on whether you are trying to remove the ink from the ballpoint pen or the felt-tip pen.
How to remove ink from the ballpoint pen
The good news is that ballpoint ink is the easiest type of ink to remove from clothing. Follow these instructions to make your clothes look like new again.
- Place a paper towel under the stain and blot it with rubbing alcohol.
- Use an eyedropper to apply the alcohol directly to the stain or, for a larger stain, pour the alcohol into a small dish, submerge the stained area and let it soak for 15 minutes. The ink should start to dissolve almost immediately. Continue to blot and dab the stain until no more ink is released from the fabric.
- Rinse in cold water, apply a prewash stain remover, such as Shout Advanced Gel, and wash the garment in the hottest water with a fabric-safe bleach. Make sure the ink is completely removed before you put the item in the dryer.
How to remove ink from the felt pen
Removing the felt ink takes a bit longer – but not impossible, as long as you follow this guide.
- Rinse the stain under cold water to remove as much ink as possible.
- Fill a basin with hot water and pour in a non-bleach liquid laundry detergent, such as GH Seal Star Tide. The amount you would use to wash a blouse by hand should be enough, plus a few splashes of ammonia. Stir the solution and submerge the garment. Rub the stain with your fingers and let it soak for 30 minutes to an hour.
- If it’s a stubborn stain, let it soak overnight, rubbing it every now and then. Soon you will see it start to fade. To help it, mix in a cool solution or add a little more ammonia. When the stain is gone, rinse the garment, rub in some more liquid laundry detergent and wash as usual. As with any stain, air dry the garment until you are sure the stain is completely removed.
How to extract ink from leather
If your pen cap has fallen into your purse, don’t worry. Just dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and lightly rub the stain to wipe off the marks. If your handbag has a shiny patina or shiny surface, it has likely been coated and will be easier to process. Use a commercial product specifically designed for this purpose, such as Weiman Leather Cleaner & Conditioner. If that doesn’t work, take your item to a dry cleaner that specializes in treating leather.
Can you use hairspray to remove ink from clothes?
Over the years, this product has gained a reputation for removing ink stains, due to the alcohol in its formula. However, many current sprays contain less alcohol, so they are not as effective on ink stains as older formulas. If you really want to tackle ink, stick to the options above.
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