The methods by which one would remove ink stains can differ greatly depending on the severity of the stain, type of ink, how long it has set and many other factors. Tactics to remove an ink stain are different than many other stain removal processes. Additionally, a specific type of ink on a specific type of fabric may require a different cleaning method than another type of ink on another type of fabric. The universal rule for removing ink stains, however, is that the sooner the process begins, the greater the likelihood is that the stain may be removed permanently. Some ink stains, however, may be impossible to remove, yet they can usually be diminished.
Before removing an ink stain, it is recommended that one tests the particular solvent or chemical on the fabric. In order to do this, a less-noticeable area on the fabric should be chosen. If a certain chemical or even a certain cleaning method appears to damage this area, one may be able to avoid damaging the area in which the ink stained the fabric by choosing different chemicals and cleaning methods.
The most common ink stain comes from the ink of a ballpoint pen. Unfortunately, complete removal of such a stain may be difficult due to the fact that ballpoint ink often consists of several different types of chemicals. The stain may still be significantly faded or lightened, but this may require some persistence and the use of several different chemicals or solvents.
For the most part, one can remove ink stains by taking a particular chemical or solvent and blotting it on the affected area with either a clean cloth or cotton ball. The affected area should then be rinsed with water. Most solvents should not be applied directly on a fabric's surface. Doing so may cause the solvent to soak deep into the affected fabric and potentially cause irreversible damage.
Glycerin, a chemical available at most pharmacies, is commonly used to remove ink stains. If unavailable, glycerin can be replaced with common hair spray, which may in fact be applied directly to the fabric. Other products that may be employed for ink stain removal include rubbing alcohol, a mixture of water and baking soda to be applied as a thick paste, or a mixture of water and a gentle laundry detergent to be lightly rubbed into a lather on the affected fabric. These products and methods generally prove successful in removing most ink stains from cotton clothing.
Some ink stains are very difficult to remove and require stronger chemicals or solvents. After attempting the aforementioned methods and products, one may try blotting the affected area with acetone nail polish remover. This is a fairly astringent product, but it is considered safe to use on clothing. Additionally, potent commercial stain removers are available on the market in most countries.
White shirts may be the most difficult to remove ink stains from. If other methods fail, one may apply a small amount of bleach mixed with water to the fabric, using a clean cloth or cotton ball as usual. The fabric must then be immediately and thoroughly rinsed in order to avoid damaging the fibers of the clothing.
After attempting these various methods to remove ink stains, it is recommended that the then-cleaned fabric is machine washed in cold water. Before moving the fabric to the drier, one should ensure that the stain has been successfully removed or diminished. The heat from the drier may cause a lingering stain to set and potentially become permanent.