The Best Way to Remove an Ink Stain

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The Best Way to Remove an Ink Stain

Whether you inadvertently grazed your sleeve while jotting down a message, or your Crayola-toting toddler got to your laundry pile before you did, we've got a strategy for easy clean-up.

  • Ballpoint Pen Ink

Place a paper towel under the stain, and sponge it with rubbing alcohol. An eyedropper might help you apply the alcohol directly onto the stain, but for a larger spot, pour the alcohol into a small dish, immerse the stained area, and soak for 15 minutes. The ink should begin to dissolve almost immediately. Then, continue sponging and blotting the stain with alcohol and clean paper towels until no further ink is released from the fabric. Rinse under cool water, apply a pre-wash stain remover (like Shout Advanced Gel), and wash the garment in hot water. Check that the ink is completely removed before tossing the item in the dryer.

What about hairspray, you ask? Well, the beauty product earned its reputation for removing ink stains because of the alcohol in the formula. Many of today's sprays no longer contain alcohol, so they aren't as effective on ink stains as older formulas were.

  • Felt-Tip Pen Ink

Removing felt-tip ink is a bit more time consuming, but not impossible. First, rinse the stain under cold water to flush out as much of the ink as you can. Then, fill a basin with hot water and pour in some bleach-free, liquid laundry detergent (the amount you'd used to hand wash a blouse) and a couple quick splashes of ammonia. Don't fret over precise measurements. Stir the solution and immerse the garment. Give the stain a quick rub with your fingers, and let it soak for at least 30 minutes to an hour.

If it's a stubborn stain, let it soak overnight, and every so often, give the stain another rub. You'll soon see it starting to fade. To help it along, you may want to mix up a fresh solution or add a bit more ammonia.

When the stain is gone, rinse the garment, rub in a bit more liquid laundry detergent, and wash as usual. As with any stain, air dry the garment until you are certain the stain is completely removed.

Source: Carolyn Forte (Good House Keeping)