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How to Remove Ink Stains from Clothes

Has this, or something similar, ever happened to you?


You put on a nice, fresh shirt and head out the door. When you arrive at your destination and are chatting with friends or colleagues, someone points at your shirt and asks, “What’s that?” You look down, and a small blue or black spot is starting to grow. That’s right, the ink pen in your pocket is leaking.


Or perhaps your nice, fresh shirt or other item of clothing has a small spot on it, and you learn it was from simply touching an ink pen to your shirt and the ink transferred to it. It’s small, but everyone sees it.


An embarrassing moment, one you wish you could have avoided.


This type of stain doesn’t just wipe off. It takes a lot of effort to remove an ink stain, and if you don’t do it right, you will just make the situation worse. Ink spreads and migrates out, creating a bigger stain as you work on it.


While not an easy task, here are some tips to make ink stain removal a little easier for you. But remember, this isn’t typical cleaning, it’s aggressive, so there is always the chance of damaging the fabric.


Hair spray: Using an aerosol version, alcohol-based, apply liberally to the stain. Work it in and dab at it with a white paper towel. Hair spray sometimes works because the alcohol disperses some inks. Wash immediately.


Acetone: The ingredient in traditional nail polish removers, acetone is a very dry solvent that will work on ink. When you saturate the ink stain, it will dissolve and migrate so be ready for that, working your way from the outside in, to limit spreading. In addition to acetone, other liquid dry solvents, such as rubbing alcohol, can be used. After application, wash immediately.


Detergent treatment: Use a product meant to pre-treat laundry and apply to the ink stain liberally, work it in, from the outside in to limit spreading, and then wash immediately.


No matter the type of treatment you use, washing the garment will help remove more of the ink. Be sure to wash separately, and do not dry the garment until you are satisfied with the ink removal results. When you dry an item of clothing, attempting to remove more of the stain is often futile.


And remember that true fabric cleaning experts know how to remove ink stains. When you have a challenging cleaning situation, do the right thing. Call your favorite cleaning company. After all, it pays to call a pro!

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