How to Clean and Remove Ink Stains


Why is it that pens explode in pockets? Or in handbags? Have you ever seen a pen explode while it’s just lying around, say, on your desk?

For that matter, why is it that I always put a ballpoint pen in my handbag without clicking it shut?

It explains the ink doodles on the outside of my purse. And have you ever found a pen in your dryer?

That’s a story for another article. Okay, I digress.

How To Remove Ballpoint Ink Stains from Fabric

Hair Spray

  • Rub away as much ink as you can with a clean sponge or rag. If that doesn’t help try a baby wipe.
  • Put the stained clothing item on top of some dry paper towels. Dampen the stain with water. Spray the stain with hair spray – the kind that contains alcohol. Blot.

Rubbing Alcohol

  • Apply some isopropyl or denatured alcohol with a Q-tip.
  • Blot, blot, blot.
  • Rinse

If the stain isn’t gone go back to start and try, try again. You might need take the item of clothing to a good dry cleaner, but only if it’s worth the hassle and expense.

How To Remove Permanent Marker Stains from Fabric

Unless you want to do this a lot – never leave permanent makers where kids can find them. Permanent marker is hard to remove from everything, including fabric.

  • Alcohol may work on the stain. Test a little isopropyl or denatured alcohol someplace on the fabric that won’t show just in case the alcohol removes color from the fabric.
  • If the test spot is okay, put the item of clothing on a white towel and blot, blot, blot away with the alcohol. Just keep blotting until the stain is gone.

How To Remove Ink Stains from Leather

To get ballpoint ink out of leather, first put a little water on the leather. If the water beads up, the leather is treated and you can try the ideas above.

If the water doesn’t bead up, the leather is probably untreated and you don’t want to try home remedies unless you don’t mind throwing out the leather item.

They might work and then again they might not. It depends on how the leather was treated at the tanners, how thick it is and the quality and the thickness.

If you decide to try these home remedies, test them in some inconspicuous spot first – on the leather I mean – not in a closet. If the ink is permanent, take the item to a dry cleaner or a shoe repair shop and get the leather dyed. Really.

Congratulations! You got out the stain and learned some new cleaning techniques. What, you still have all the rest of the housework to do? Forget it! Go for a walk, read a book, eat the rest of the Girl Scout Cookies. It’s been a good day!

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