Life is full of surprises, and we’re bound to make a mess every now and then. This is especially true when it comes to ink, which can be pretty tricky to clean. You might be wondering if there are any effective ways to remove these tough stains with products you already have lying around the house.

Here’s how to get ink out of clothes using home remedies:

  1. Apply toothpaste to the affected area
  2. Use an alcohol-based hairspray
  3. Use rubbing alcohol
  4. Give your clothes a milk bath
  5. Dissolve the stain with white vinegar
  6. Use baking soda
  7. Rub the stain with hand sanitizer
  8. Scrub the stain’s surface with sandpaper
  9. Use lemon oil
  10. Scrub the fabric with baby wipes
  11. Use makeup remover wipes
  12. Use a mixture of cornstarch and milk
  13. Apply butter to the ink stain

Ink stains can be obnoxious, but they shouldn’t be a reason to toss out your favorite clothes. The rest of this article will take you through everything you need to know about these highly efficient home remedies so you can save your favorite outfits in confidence.

1. Apply Toothpaste to the Affected Area

Toothpaste is a classic home remedy for removing tough dye and pigment-based stains.

This is because it’s often made with baking soda and other abrasive ingredients that are used to remove stains in your teeth. For this reason, most toothpaste is also effective in removing ink from most fabrics.

To remove ink stains from your clothing using this method, you should apply a generous amount of toothpaste onto the affected area and gently rub the site with your finger or an unused toothbrush until the stain disappears.

2. Use an Alcohol-Based Hairspray

Hairspray is another standard method for ink stain removal. However, not every hairspray does the trick.

This method has been proven effective because most hair sprays contain alcohol, which helps break down stains. Just make sure that you use alcohol-based hairspray only for this technique. It’s also important to remember that hairsprays containing high amounts of oil might worsen the stain.

For this method, you should spray the affected area with a generous amount of hairspray and let it soak for a minute or two before softly scrubbing out the stain with a wet rag.

3. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Another excellent technique for removing ink stains is to use rubbing alcohol. It’s really efficient for removing stains, especially ink-based ones. This is because rubbing alcohol is a solvent, which means that it’ll actually dissolve the stain.

For minor stains, use a dropper or teaspoon to pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol directly onto the ink stain. More prominent stains can be soaked for a few minutes for maximum efficiency. Eventually, the alcohol should dissolve the pigment and leave your clothes looking fresh. However, you might have to support this method with a bit of scrubbing.

If you’re looking for safe rubbing alcohol to use for ink stain removal, I recommend this 91% Pure Isopropyl Alcohol (Amazon). This option is ideal because it’s diluted with water to ensure that it isn’t too harsh on your fabrics. Additionally, it’s also affordable and premium grade.

4. Give Your Clothes a Milk Bath

Believe it or not, milk can be an easy solution to your ink stain problem.

Using milk is an excellent way to remove ink stains. It’s also very accessible and affordable, and chances are that you probably already have a gallon or two of milk lying around in your fridge.

Giving your stained garment an overnight milk bath is a great way to rid your clothing of any ink. You should still run the affected piece of clothing through the wash afterward to remove the milk and any remaining ink blotches. I’ll talk about some of my favorite all-natural stain-removing laundry detergents later on in this article.

5. Dissolve the Stain With White Vinegar

Using white vinegar is another excellent way to say goodbye to those pesky ink stains.

You can either add a generous amount of the substance to your wash cycle or let the affected piece of clothing soak in white vinegar overnight. An overnight soak will be the most effective solution, but you can also try soaking it for four to five hours if you’re pressed for time.

After soaking your clothes in vinegar, you might have to do a bit of scrubbing to rid the fabric of whatever ink remains. However, some people have found that the soak will remove the ink entirely. Either way, you should still run the clothes in the wash after being soaked to remove the vinegar from the textile.

In addition to being highly effective, white vinegar is also very budget-friendly and widely available at most grocery and home supply stores.

6. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is your best friend when it comes to home remedies. It has so many different functions that can be utilized to keep your home naturally clean. It works wonders for removing odors, mold, mildew, and of course– ink stains.

Baking soda is another highly-affordable home remedy, and you probably already have some lying around your house. It’s one of the most effective methods on this list because it creates a strong chemical reaction that breaks down the stain.

There are quite a few ways to remove ink stains from your clothes using baking soda. The first one is to make a paste using baking soda and water. You can then follow the steps for the toothpaste technique to scrub out the ink with a cotton ball, damp cloth, or toothbrush.

You can also try soaking the clothing in a baking soda and water mixture, but this will take more time and will probably still need to be scrubbed and thrown in the wash afterward.

7. Rub the Stain With Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is another surprisingly effective technique for ink stain removal.

Many hand sanitizers contain alcohol, which works wonders with challenging stains. For this method, you can use either gel or spray hand sanitizer. You should just make sure that it is fragrance-free and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals or greasy oils that can worsen the stain.

After double-checking whether your hand sanitizer contains alcohol, you can apply it directly to the ink stain and wait for the reaction to occur. The stain will begin to dissolve after a few minutes of soaking. Afterward, you can scrub out the remnants and rinse out the hand sanitizer with water. You can also throw the clothing in the washing machine to remove any residue.

8. Scrub the Stain’s Surface With Sandpaper

Sandpaper is an excellent tool for removing ink stains. This approach works best for situations where the ink has already dried.

The idea is that you scrub the surface with sandpaper (fine grain, not coarse) to rub off the majority of the ink. After you’ve buffed the surface, you can use a toothbrush, rag, or dish brush to rub it with vinegar and thoroughly remove the stain.

9. Use Lemon Oil

Lemon oil is another surprisingly effective method for getting rid of ink-based stains.

For this particular trick, all you have to do is apply the oil to the stain and scrub it out. You should start to see the oil dissolve the dye. Afterward, you can work it out using the scrubbing tools I’ve covered above.

10. Scrub the Fabric With Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are another product known for their multifunctionality, but few know that they are surprisingly good at removing stubborn stains from all kinds of surfaces.

Baby wipes are an excellent choice for removing ink stains on the go. They’re also really easy to use and don’t require much effort on your part. To utilize this method, simply scrub the affected area with a baby wipe until the stain has been removed.

11. Use Makeup Remover Wipes

Makeup remover wipes work similarly to baby wipes. However, they might be more effective because they’re designed to clean things like mascara and liquid eyeliner, which are very similar to ink stains.

You can use a makeup wipe at home or on the go to remove an ink stain from your clothing. This method is as easy as the baby wipe method; it just requires a different kind of wipe.

I recommend using these Honest Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes (Amazon) for stain removal, they’re not only my personal favorite but highly reviewed as well. They’re non-toxic, free of synthetic fragrances, and can work wonders on any pigment-based stain. I’ve used these to remove ink stains myself.

12. Use a Mixture of Cornstarch and Milk

The cornstarch and milk method is another tried and true technique for getting rid of ink stains. Surprisingly, it works really well for dry ink.

This technique is simple, but it does take a bit of time out of your day. First, you should create a paste using cornstarch and a small amount of milk. Like the toothpaste method, you should rub a generous amount of the substance onto the affected area. However, you need to let it dry for a few hours instead of scrubbing it away immediately.

After it has dried, you can scrub away the mess and run the garment through the wash to clean out any remaining ink, milk, or cornstarch.

13. Apply Butter to the Ink Stain

Butter is probably the most shocking out of all the remedies I’ve discussed so far. However, some people claim that it works really well for ink stain removal, especially when the ink has already dried and is set into the clothing. It’s effective because the oil and salt work together to remove the stain.

To implement this method into your laundry routine, all you have to do is grab a stick of butter from the fridge and rub it straight onto the fabric like glue. Afterward, you can scrub it out with a brush or rag. You also want to run the clothing in the wash afterward to eliminate the greasy residue that butter can leave.

Choosing the Right Home Remedy to Get Ink Out of Clothes

The reason why stains are so tricky pretty much boils down to chemistry. Different pigments are composed of different chemical makeups, which means that removing stains is often heavily reliant on trial and error.

When attempting to remove ink stains, some methods may work better than others because many inks, dyes, and other pigments are composed of different ingredients that vary from product to product. For this reason, some inks will react differently depending on the stain removal method you choose.

When testing out these home remedies, here are some tips you should consider:

  • Use what you already have at home. You never know which methods will have the most effective chemical reaction because it depends on variables that are often unknown, such as the ingredients of the particular ink, the makeup of your fabric, and the reaction the method will cause. Your best bet is to start with what you have and narrow it down from there.
  • Try different methods if one doesn’t seem to be working. If you only tried one of the previous techniques and discovered that it didn’t work, don’t fret. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your efforts. Just try a few of the other approaches and see what reacts best with your particular fabric and stain.
  • Ink is trickier to remove once it dries, so try to remove it while it’s still wet. Ink is a lot more challenging to remove from your clothes when dry. This is why it’s essential to try and attack the stain as soon as possible to ensure maximum efficiency. However, it’s not the end of the world if the ink does dry– as you’ve read several methods that can work wonders on this situation.

What Is the Best Ink Stain Remover?

I’ve gone over quite a few different options for removing ink stains. But which one is the best out of them?

The best ink stain remover is rubbing alcohol because it is a solvent. This means that the alcohol chemically reacts with tough stains and works to dissolve them. It’s one of the most effective ways to tackle ink stains at home without using harsh detergents or toxic stain removing sprays.

Every circumstance is different, and certain methods might work better than others, depending on the variables of your situation. However, generally speaking, rubbing alcohol is your most reliable bet for ink stains and can be a lifesaver when it comes to saving your favorite clothes.

Can You Get Ink Out of Clothes After It Dries?

You can get ink out of clothes after it dries. While it might be tricky to do so, it is possible with the right method. I recommend scrubbing the dry stain with sandpaper or a toothbrush before applying rubbing alcohol to dissolve the stain.

Rubbing alcohol is your best bet for dry stains. However, you can also use white vinegar if you don’t have rubbing alcohol at home. You can reference the sections above for our rubbing alcohol and vinegar tips.

The Best Natural Laundry Detergents for Getting Rid of Ink Stains

All of the listed methods that I suggested have been tried and tested for years. However, sometimes a machine wash can also be an effective solution for removing ink stains from clothing. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to resort to buying toxin-heavy detergents to get rid of stains.

After you’ve tried as many home remedies as you can, you may want to consider running your stained laundry through the washing machine. Fortunately, the approaches I suggested may facilitate the stain’s removal and make it easier for the detergent to do its job. Try to remove as much of the ink as possible before throwing it in the wash.

Here are some of the best laundry detergents for getting rid of ink stains:

  • Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent
  • Biokleen Free & Clear Laundry Detergent
  • 9 Elements Liquid Laundry Detergent

Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent

This detergent is one of my favorites because it’s much more natural than other options on the market. The Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent uses plant-powered and triple-enzyme technology to tackle stains and effectively break them down.

I love this detergent because it’s free of harsh synthetic fragrances. It’s also hypoallergenic, meaning that it’s designed to be suitable for sensitive skin. However, its gentleness doesn’t take away from its concentration, which means that you’re paying less money for a longer use cycle.

Biokleen Free & Clear Laundry Detergent

The Biokleen Free & Clear Laundry Detergent is another one of my all-time favorites. This product is free of harsh chemicals and extremely effective at the same time.

Biokleen uses plant-derived ingredients to rid your clothes of unwanted stains and odors. This one is also fragrance-free and doesn’t contain hazardous toxins that many other detergents do. In addition to being free of unwanted chemicals, it’s also highly concentrated and supports up to 300 loads of laundry.

9 Elements Liquid Laundry Detergent

Another excellent choice for all-natural laundry detergent is the 9 Elements Liquid Laundry Detergent. I personally love this detergent because it only uses 9 disclosed and plant-based ingredients to boost your laundry and stain-elimination routine.

This detergent runs on the power of natural vinegar to react with your stains and break them down. It’s also free of synthetic fragrance and is scented with 100% pure eucalyptus essential oil to freshen up your favorite fabrics. Eucalyptus smells great, but it’s also highly effective when it comes to stain removal.

Final Thoughts

You can’t experience life to the fullest without making a few messes along the way. However, it’s not the end of the world if your clothes are subjected to ink stains.

Household products like toothpaste, hairspray, rubbing alcohol, and more are your best friends regarding ink stain removal. By following this list of tips and tricks, you’ll be able to save your favorite outfits from ruin and keep wearing what you love. Therefore, don’t be afraid of making a mess every now and then!

Related: How to Get Chewing Gum Out of Clothes

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