Easy Ways to Remove Old Ink Stains from Clothes

If you have ever accidentally spilled ink on your clothes, you know how difficult it can be to remove the stain. Traditional methods like washing with detergent or using bleach can sometimes make the situation even worse. However, there are some effective ways to remove old ink stains from clothes that you might not be aware of yet.

Understanding Ink Stains – Types and Risks

Before starting the process of removing the ink stain, it is essential to determine the type of ink that is on the fabric. Ink can mostly be categorized into two: water-based and permanent ink stains. While water-based stains can be removed using water and a little detergent, permanent ink stains can be quite challenging to deal with, as they penetrate deep into the fibers of the fabric. Therefore, the removal of permanent ink stains requires more time and effort.

Another crucial factor to consider when removing ink stains is the risk of damage to the fabric. Stains that have been in the clothes for long can harden and cause fabric damage when removed improperly. For instance, rubbing too hard to remove a stain can cause the fabric to tear and form holes, and the ink can spread to other areas. Therefore, it is important to choose methods that are gentle on the fabrics to avoid damage.

Tools and Chemicals Required for Removing Ink Stains

Before starting the process of removing the ink stain, it is essential to gather all the necessary tools and chemicals. Here are some of the tools and chemicals that you should gather:

  • Clean white cloths for blotting stains
  • Warm water
  • Mild detergent
  • White vinegar or ammonia
  • Methylated spirit/aerosol hairspray
  • Baking soda or cornstarch
  • Butter knife or spoon
  • Old toothbrush or soft-bristled brush
  • Iron box

Steps to Follow When Removing Ink Stain from Clothes

Here are the steps to follow when removing old ink stains from clothes:

Step 1: Blot the Stain

The first step to removing ink stain from clothing is to blot the stain immediately you notice it. Take a clean white cloth, preferably a paper towel, and place it underneath the stain. Then, take another clean cloth and blot the stain gently from the top. Never rub the stain, as it can cause it to spread and penetrate deep into the fibers of the fabric.

Step 2: Apply Hairspray or Methylated Spirit

If the ink stain is still fresh, the best way to remove it is by using hairspray or methylated spirit. Spray the stained area with hairspray or methylated spirit and wait for a few minutes. Then, take a clean cloth and blot the stain gently. Repeat this process until the ink stain is gone.

Step 3: Use Baking Soda or Cornstarch

If the ink stain is old and has existed for a while on the fabric, then it is probably hardened. In this case, you should apply a paste of baking soda or cornstarch and water instead of the hairspray. Apply the paste on the stain and let it sit for an hour or two. Then, remove the baking soda or cornstarch by brushing it off with a soft-bristled brush. Finally, rinse the area with warm water.

Step 4: Apply Detergent and Vinegar

After removing the ink stain, it is recommended to wash the clothes using mild detergent and white vinegar. Add a little vinegar to the washing machine’s rinse cycle to eliminate any remaining stain particles and odor. Wash the clothes as you usually would and let them air dry.

Step 5: Iron the Clothes

If the ink stain was on a cotton shirt, the chances are that it left an iron-shaped stain on the fabric from the previous ironing. To remove this stain, place the shirt on an ironing board, with the stained area facing downwards. Then, place a white cloth over the stain and iron over it with a hot iron box. The heat will loosen the ink stain, and the cloth will absorb the dislodged color. Do not use steam, as it can set the stain permanently on the fabric.


Removing old ink stains from clothes can be a daunting task, especially if you are not familiar with the proper techniques. However, with the right tools and chemicals and by following the steps outlined above, you can get rid of ink stains easily. Remember to be gentle on the fabric, avoid rubbing the stain, and wash the fabric properly after cleaning.

With these tips, you are now equipped with the knowledge you need to remove old ink stains from clothes with confidence.

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