Need to remove ink stains? Pens, markers, and bottles of ink are all at risk for accidental spillage, especially for avid pen and ink artists!
First: be aware that there is no “one size fits all” technique for removing ink stains, because the composition of the ink will vary depending on what type of pen or marker caused the stain. A Copic marker stain will differ from a fountain pen ink stain, an Indian ink stain or a gel pen stain, for example. Additionally, ink stains react differently depending on the type of fabric that it’s spilled onto - cotton, rayon, polyester, etc. For that reason, I’ve listed several different methods for ink stain removal on this page. Here we go!
Tip: Always try to remove ink stains right away, before the ink has a chance to dry. Wet ink is far easier to remove than dried ink, but both can take a lot of elbow work.Here's how to remove ink stains from your clothes or other fabrics:
Tip: Before trying any of the following ink stain removal techniques, always apply a small amount of the cleaning product to an obscure area of the fabric to ensure that the remedy itself doesn’t cause a stain!
Whatever you do, don’t soak the stain in hot water, even if you add detergent, because this will embed the ink stain even further into the fabric. It is better to dab and blot the stain using one of the above methods. Also, don’t put the garment into the dryer until you are sure all the ink is gone, because the heat from the dryer will also set the stain into the fabric.
Be patient and persistent when tackling those pesky ink stains – it may take several applications, or several techniques, before the stain comes out.
Water-based ink stains are the easiest to remove if caught early. Permanent ink, on the other hand, is called “permanent” for a reason – it is very difficult to remove. You can try, and depending on the amount of permanent ink that was spilled and the type of cloth, you may be able to remove it… but in many cases, the best you’ll be able to do is lighten it.
If the stain still doesn’t come out, take it to a professional cleaner who has specialized products and techniques to remove ink stains... or try a commercial ink stain removal products, such as Kiss-Off Stain Remover to remove ink stains. In fact, Kiss-Off Stain Remover is handy to have around if you are an artist, because it can be used to clean ink stains, paint stains, and more.
For general studio clean-up, environmentally-friendly cleaning products such as EZ Air Studio Cleaner or Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner are also handy for removing ink stains, as well as other cleaning uses.
Tip: It's best to wear old clothes when you work with pen and ink or markers. You could also wear an apron or a smock. That way the damage isn't nearly as critical if you get a bit messy.