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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How to Remove Ink Stains

If you're the unlucky recipient of an ink stain don't toss the garment or cover the chair until you've given our cleaning methods a try.

You just might find some success trying one of the techniques below. Before cleaning ink stains, you’ll want to keep the stain from spreading to a larger area. This will make your task much easier and if you've ever tried to clean an ink stain before - you know how it can spread.

Make a Mixture to Contain the Stain

For this step mix together a 50/50 mix of regular non-scented ammonia and 3% hydrogen peroxide. Depending on the size of the ink stain you can start with 1 teaspoon each to 1 tablespoon each or more depending on your needs.

Ammonia is strong, use in a well ventilated area and don’t mix with chlorine bleach.

Containing the Stain and Creating a Barrier

To contain the stain, use a dropper or a spoon and start with just enough to wet around and into the ink stain. Don’t get rid of the extra because you will want to keep the ink stain wet with this mixture to push the ink back to the middle and keep it from spreading.

I add a little after each time I apply a cleaning solvent.

Don’t use ammonia on silk or wool – just use the hydrogen peroxide to create the barrier.

Always test in an inconspicuous spot first.

Place Something between the Stained Fabric

If possible, place something like paper towels or a clean cleaning rag between the stain and the rest of the fabric to keep the ink stain from transferring to another spot.

Change this as the ink transfers and soaks into it. I typically move the paper towel to a clean spot after each time I apply a cleaning agent, replacing with new as needed.

Water-Based Ink

Water based inks will pretty much wash away with plain ol’ water. If you rinse with water and some staining remains, try applying your regular laundry detergent to the stain.

Never rub at the stain, dab or tamp!

Let the laundry detergent sit on the stain a few minutes then rinse or wash on the warmest water possible (the warmest water the item can take, check the tag).

Let air dry and check for any remaining stain before drying.

Permanent Ink

Ballpoint pens use permanent ink – which means the ink is non-water based ink. These ink stains can be hard to remove – but not altogether impossible.

With permanent ink stains you will need to use some kind of solvent to help get the stain out.

Cleaning solvents can be:
  • Nail polish remover
  • Hairspray
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • OxiClean
  • Goop
Only apply one solvent at a time. If you try one and move on to another, let them evaporate or rinse clean before using another solvent.

Removing Permanent Ink from Clothing

  1. Surround the ink stain with the containment mixture you made above.
  2. Apply the cleaning solvent.
  3. Dab or tamp the ink stain with a clean, wet paper towel or rag.
Repeat these steps until the stain is gone.

If you have repeated these steps and there is still a small amount of staining left, try an OxiClean type pre-treatment stain remover and wash as you normally would.

Do not place in dryer until you know the stain is gone.

Removing Permanent Ink from Silk or Wool

Place absorbent material under the ink stain. Saturate the stain with hairspray, blot, dab, or tamp the stain with another absorbent piece of cloth, paper towel, etc. Repeat until the ink stain is gone.

If you are not comfortable with removing an ink stain on your own, you can always take the item in to the dry cleaner.

Removing Ink from Carpets and Upholstery

  1.  Apply the mixture to create a barrier and contain the stain.
  2. Saturate the ink stained area with any kind of hairspray.
  3. Dab, tamp, blot using a clean, damp paper towel or clean rag.
  4. Repeat all steps as needed until stain has been removed.
Remember that stain removal involves removing a little of the stain with each application applied.  Repeating the process may need to be done a few times before you see successful results.

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