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How to remove ink stains

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Ink stains are a potential outfit ruiner. Whether you’ve accidentally ran a ball-point pen over the sleeve of your best white shirt, or your children have decided to give your favourite skirt a new design, ink stains can be incredibly difficult to remove. Try these methods for removing them.

  • Cover in Salt
  • Apply liquid laundry detergent 
  • Blot with rubbing alcohol 
  • Spray with hairspray 
  • Soak in milk
  • Spread over with vinegar and corn starch

Cover in salt 

If you catch your ink stain before it has dried you are incredibly lucky because they are easier to remove than dried stains. To remove fresh ink stains, cover the stain in salt and dab gently with a wet paper towel. Brush off the salt and check to see if the stain has been removed. If the stain hasn’t been removed, repeat the process, or try an additional method explained in this post.

Apply liquid laundry detergent 

For a dried, water-based, ink stain a liquid laundry detergent is best to use. Begin by laying your stained item of clothing on a clean towel. Apply water to the stain and blot with a clean cloth. As you blot you should begin to see the ink transferring from your stained clothing onto the cloth. Once no more ink is being transferred onto the cloth, apply a small amount of liquid laundry detergent on what’s left of the ink stain. Leave it to soak in for three to five minutes. After three to five minutes, wash your clothing on the hottest setting advised on the care label. Before drying, check that the stain has been completely removed and, if not, complete the process again. 

Blot with rubbing alcohol 

Before beginning with this method you need to check that your clothing won’t be stained further by the rubbing alcohol. To do this, dab some rubbing alcohol onto the seam of your garment and wait to observe if a reaction occurs. If nothing happens, you are safe to begin.

Firstly, lay your stained item of clothing on top of a clean towel. Using a clean cloth blot your ink stain with rubbing alcohol, this will begin diluting the stain. Be aware that the towel underneath your garment may become wet with rubbing alcohol and stained with transferred ink. If this happens, replace the wet and stained towel with a fresh one to ensure that no ink is re-transferred on to your clothing. Continue dabbing your stain with rubbing alcohol until no ink is transferred onto the cloth. Once you’ve reached this point, wash off any rubbing alcohol residue. 

If you are treating a ball-point pen stain, rub a small amount of liquid laundry detergent on to the stain and leave it for three to five minutes. Wash off the detergent and observe whether the stain has been removed. 

Before moving forwards, observe whether the blotting and liquid detergent has been successful in removing the ink stain. If so, wash your garment on the hottest wash suggested on your clothing items care label. If the stain has not been successfully removed, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach and cool water. Completely submerge your clothing in the solution and leave it to soak for 8 hours. If your stain has still not been removed, make a new solution, and leave your clothing for another 8 hours. This should remove the stain, and leave your clothing ink free.

Spray with hairspray 

Most hairsprays contain alcohol which is incredibly useful when dissolving ink and removing ink stains. The higher the alcohol content in the hairspray, the more effective it will be in removing the stain- often the cheaper hairsprays have the highest alcohol content.

Lay your stained garment on a clean towel, and thoroughly spray the stain. Blot the stain with a clean cloth until the stain has been removed. Once removed, wash your clothing according to the advice on your garments care label. If the stain has not been removed, repeat the process.

Image by Andrew Magill

Soak in milk

If you have time for a more time-consuming ink stain removal method this could be the solution for you. Fill a bowl with enough milk to completely submerge your ink stain. Place your stained clothing in the milk and leave it overnight to soak. Remove your clothing in the morning and observe whether the stain has been removed. If your stain has been removed, wash your garment as normal. If your stain has not been removed, repeat the process, or perhaps try one of the other methods suggested in this post.

Spread over with vinegar and cornstarch 

Begin this process by laying your damaged item on a clean towel and soaking your stain with vinegar. Whilst the vinegar begins breaking down the ink, mix two parts vinegar with three parts cornstarch until a paste has formed. Once you have reached paste consistency, spread it over the ink stain and leave it to completely dry. Once your paste has dried, wash your item as you normally would. 

If these methods aren’t successful in removing your ink stain, leave it to us to remove. Book your slot by visiting the Laundryheap website or by downloading the Laundryheap app.  

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