Ink stains are one of the hardest stains to get out of clothing and other fabrics, especially if you’re trying to get that last bit of stain out after the clothes have been washed once or twice. Whether it’s marker or gel pen ink, it’s important to approach ink stains as soon as possible and treat them carefully so you don’t end up with indelible marks on your white shirts! Read on for five great approaches to getting ink stains out of your clothes, plus tips on how to prevent new ones from happening in the future!
1) Hydrogen Peroxide
This multipurpose cleaner can be used for all sorts of stain-removal jobs, including ink stains. Just mix a solution that’s one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts water in a spray bottle and mist away any stubborn ink stains. Peroxide is an effective stain remover because it breaks down oily substances—the type that cause many common stains like food and hair dye—by oxidizing them (that is, it converts their chemical structure into something more inert). Once applied, allow it to sit on your clothes for 15 minutes before laundering as usual.
2) Commercial Products
Commercial products are an easy option when you want ink stains out of your clothes as quickly as possible. Products like Shout, Zout, and Resolve work wonders on getting even old stains out. The trick is figuring out which product works best for your particular stain. If a brand doesn’t work well for one type of stain, chances are it won’t be effective for other stains either. Before using commercial products to get ink stains out of clothing, test each one individually on a hidden part of your garment and wait for at least 24 hours before determining if it was effective or not.
3) Baking Soda
A lot of ink stain removers contain chemicals that can damage your clothes over time, but baking soda is gentle enough to use on any fabric. Put a generous amount on an ink-stained spot and let it sit for 30 minutes or so; you should be able to scrape most of it off with a plastic spoon or even just your fingernail. Baking soda also makes a great pre-wash treatment for dirty clothes; when mixed with laundry detergent, it gets clothes clean and helps stop them from getting dingy in between washes.
4) White Vinegar
It may smell like salad dressing, but white vinegar is a great ink stain remover. Simply soak a paper towel in vinegar and apply it to your soiled garment. Rinse with warm water when it’s saturated with ink and launder as usual. (Just don’t use white vinegar on colored fabrics, as it can make them appear dingy.) You can also try soaking your clothes in distilled white vinegar or adding two cups of white vinegar to a load of laundry along with detergent. Be sure you have rinsed out all traces of ink before drying your clothes, since that can set stains permanently. Do not soak light-colored clothing; its color will run onto other garments.
5) Dawn Dish Soap
Dawn is a great way to get ink stains out, especially when there’s minimal discoloration. Start by taking your wet clothes and putting them into a warm bath filled with 4 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of Dawn dish soap, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Soak your clothes for 30 minutes or until completely saturated before rinsing in cold water. Dry as normal after removing from bath. In some cases, when an ink stain doesn’t wash away easily use rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball or Q-tip instead; dab lightly and do not rub fabric too vigorously because it can break down fibers.
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