How to wash pen ink out of fabrics

ink stain on fabric top

Whether you forgot to take a nice ink pen out of your pocket, had pen ink leak all over you, or your children drew some abstract art on your clothes — don’t worry!

When you initially see a stain, you might panic and think your item is damaged forever. However, it’s easier than you might think to remove pen ink from fabrics.

In this article, we’ll take a look at why ink spills can be problematic to remove, and how best to remove them for results you’ll be happy with.

Why is it so hard to remove ink from clothes?

All types of ink are hard to remove from clothes and material items; this is due to the chemical composition and what the pen ink contains.

For example, a felt-tip pen contains dyes suspended in water and organic solvents. Other ingredients that can be found in ink include preservatives, resins, and wetting agents.

Ultimately, there are a variety of ingredients added to ink to ensure a smooth flow – and this is also the reason why they can stain clothes and surfaces.

Identifying the type of ink that caused your stain

There are so many ink pens and bottled inks on the market that, before you consider treating your stain, so you need to identify the type of ink that caused it so you can choose the most effective method to wash it out.

The most common types of ink stain come from permanent markers, gel pen ink, washable markers, and ballpoint pen ink.

With the latter, there will be methods that can remove the majority of the ink.

However, permanent markers and gel pen ink are made to be permanent, so it is unfortunately unlikely that you will be able to remove those stains.

pens full of ink

Getting rid of a stain

So, you’ve noticed the stain; it’s time to follow an important set of steps to have a higher chance of removing the ink.

Keep reading to discover some of the best ways to wash pen ink out of fabrics.

Act Fast

Arguably, this is the most critical step. If you’ve noticed a fresh ink stain, act quickly to have a bigger chance of your fabric becoming, once again, stain-free.

If the stain has dried when you find it, don’t fret — there is still a chance you can remove it.

Blot the area

Don’t start wiping, rubbing, or scrubbing the stain, as this will only make it spread.

The best way to begin removing a stain is to blot the area with a cloth. Ideally, use a microfibre or washable cloth and hot water.

Apply rubbing alcohol and your detergent

Next, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the area and continue to blot the stain.

The rubbing alcohol should then begin to dissolve the ink.

Once there is no more ink being released from the fabric, rinse the fabric under cold water to remove any alcohol and excess ink.

Once you have rinsed the fabric, use the same blotting method, and massage your usual detergent or stain remover into the problem area.

Wash the clothing by itself

Now, once you’re blotting is complete, it is time to add the stained fabric to the washing machine on your preferred cycle.

It is crucial to wash the stained fabric by itself! This is because if the ink begins to run, any other material in the wash will begin to stain too.

Don’t use heat

Before you begin to dry the fabric in a tumble dryer, you first need to check the stain has been removed.

If you add heat to the stained fabric while the ink is still present, it could cause the ink to set into the fabric — meaning you’ll never have any success with removing it.

If you have followed all the steps above and your material is still stained, repeat the steps until the material is ink-free!

From a young age, Natalya has been interested in all kind of stationery. From owning an assortment of coloured pens and pencils to buying a new notebook to write in every week. Natalya loves working for The Pen Company as it aids her in continuing her stationery passion as an adult.