Posted on: December 2, 2006 Posted by: Nicole Harding Comments: 18

There’s been an explosion! The top’s come off your pen and there’s colored ink all over your clothes and furniture. Luckily for you there’s no need to panic; you can deal with this situation!

Business workers and artists around the world have experienced a pen explosion at least once in their life. Some write off the clothes as soon as the ink hits the fabric and throw the shirt into the trash. There are actually a few ways you can deal with those ink stains, so read on to find out how to restore your lucky shirt back to its perfect form.

1. Get your shirt wasted.

With rubbing alcohol, that is. Using a simple solution of rubbing alcohol can work out the stain when combined with some old fashioned elbow grease.

Start by soaking the covered area in a good amount of rubbing alcohol, then let it sit for a few minutes for the reaction to take place. Once it’s good and settled, take a cloth or paper towel that’s been soaked in water or alcohol and blot the area as much as possible.

This solution isn’t always guaranteed to work, so move progressively down the list of options here if one isn’t doing the trick for you.

2. Foamy shave-cream.

For the shavers out there, you can use some of the standard foaming shave cream to get rid of the ink stain. It’s important that you don’t use the gel kind of shaving cream, as that’ll actually just make things worse. There are reactions in the foaming creams that work at removing the stains from fabric.

To work at the stain, spray on a generous amount of the shaving cream to the affected area. After letting it sit for 30-45 minutes, pour some cool water over the fabric while gently rubbing with your fingers.

3. Brush your clothes.

Aside from keeping your teeth clean, toothpaste actually has a lot of good cleaning functions; getting rid of ink stains being one of them.

When using toothpaste to clean, you’ll want to find the most basic solution possible that has no other additives for flavor or scent. Apply the toothpaste to the inked up area and let it sit for a few minutes. After that, rinse it with some cool water while brushing the stain very lightly.

4. Kill the nail polish and the ink stains.

Using a basic, unscented nail polish remover can work wonders on ink stains. The only problem with it is that it can sometimes discolor the fabric if it’s a different shade from the piece you’re applying it to. Before using it to clean, try testing it on a smaller area of the fabric first to see what kind of effect it has.

To use it as a cleaning tool, apply a good amount of it to the stained area and then let it sit for a few minutes. After that, take a sponge soaked in cool water and dab away at the spot. This might take a bit of extra effort, so don’t be afraid to get down and dirty with it.

5. Soap and detergent.

Using a standard bar of ivory soap can be a good way of cleaning up the ink stains. This seems like a bit of an obvious cleaning tool, but it’s there nonetheless for you to try out.

Start by soaking the stained area in cool water, then lightly rub the bar of soap into the fabric. You don’t want to press too hard or you might damage the piece more than it was already. Once it’s been rubbed in, let it sit for about 30-45 minutes and then bring out the dish detergent.

Mix a small amount of liquid dish soap into stained area and then rub it gently with your fingers. You’ll want to mix it in as lightly as possible so you don’t create a mess of more stains.

6. Get milk.

Nothing like a cool glass of milk on a hot summer day to get rid of the ink stains on your shirt. Besides being a good source of calcium, this drink has a few cleaning properties as well.

Soak the affected area with a good amount of milk and then let it sit for 30-45 minutes. After it’s sat for a while, use a standard fabric washing method to get out the milk and the stain. You’ll definitely want to clean the milk up as soon as possible or else your place is going to start smelling like stale yogurt.

7. Heavy-duty detergents.

Most of your local superstores will sell some kind of laundry detergent with “extra fighting power” for those hard to clean stains. By doing a standard wash cycle with this detergent, it will probably get rid of the lighter shades of ink stains like red or green, but black and blue will be trickier.

Since black and blue pens are the most common in any workplace, try using one of the other cleaning methods on this list first and then throwing it in the laundry machine to finish the job.

8. Ace in the hole.

Need an ace in the hole to get rid of a pen ink stain? Hairspray; your last hope. This is a chancy option because it usually causes more problems than you had with just the ink stain.

By applying the hairspray, you’re adding a whole bunch of other chemicals to the mix that will have to be removed after dealing with the ink spots. If all other options have failed, try spraying on a bit of hairspray which help the ink separate itself from the clothing. However, if you’ve used this method you might want to check out a guide on how to get rid of hair spray stains after.

As far as stains go, pen ink is a pretty nasty one. You’re going to have to get a bit serious with your removal methods with this one, especially if it exploded all over your white dress-shirt. We don’t need extra stress added to our work day, so try one of these cleaning solutions and solve the ink problem for good!

18 People reacted on this

  1. Hairspray works great! Just spray some on then wash the fabric like normal! really helps for mostly any size ink stain!!

  2. My boyfriend left me a note on the toilet seat (weird I know), but did not think that the permanent marker used on toilet paper would go through. WHOOPS! It did. We flipped because we were staying at his parents’ house, and his mom would not be happy. We tried Lysol wipes and soap and water … but to our surprise, NAIL POLISH REMOVER worked very well on the surface. It may have taken off a bit of the finish, but not enough for the amount we used to be noticable. Good luck if you ever, for some odd reason, find yourself in the same situation. Count on the nail polish remover – not just for manicures anymore.

  3. to remove any stain, including ink, use TSP – what painters recommend to clean walls before painting. It’s the greatest!

  4. I got ink on my mums new sofa 😐 so i didnt know what to do i looked n it said acahol based hairspray so i tried it and it worked 😀 thank you who ever found this out ur a proper legend (Y)

  5. I washed my clothes with a ballpoint pen…ahhh! the clothes werent my biggest problem, however the blue ink splattered dryer was where my worry was focused. I tried all the usual cleaners under my sink then my girlfriend had the great idea of using rubbing alcohol. It worked great! And thats why im with her.

  6. I am refinishing funiture. There was a pattern that was ink based that has soaked into the wood. I have striped and sanded the funiture and am unable to remove the black pen marks. Does anyone have any ideas?

  7. I looked up to see my 3 year old wrighting on sticky notes for pretend movie passes, i thought, “ohh how cute”….boy was i wrong! when i came back in the room a few min later she had circled the “passes” in ink on the hard wood floor. i tryed every cleaner under the sink! windex dulled it but it was still there! so i ended up here, at this site. I am very happy to say, Hairspray saved the day! i sprayed the circle with Hairspray, and very lightly took and SOS pad to the ink cirle! it came off no problem:) THANK YOU SOO MUCH!

  8. USE HAND SANITIZER ON SKIN IT TAKES IT OFF FAST AND EASIER THEN SOAP AND WATER, THIS ALSO WORKS FOR MARKERS & HIGHLIGHTERS!!!!! haha believe me for soemone who writes on there skin i know what works, 😛

  9. I tried all three methods, but none of them seem to work at all. The nail polish remover had a little effect on it and the mark had lighter by 10%. The other two methods did not have any effect at all. I’m so disappointed. I am not sure the dry cleaning can do anything at this point.

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