10 Ink Stain Removers To Try

ShirtTips Before Starting:

  • First place a clean cloth underneath the stain before applying any solution. This helps prevent any ink from running through to the piece of garment underneath.
  • Chances are it’s gone through to the other side of the fabric, so after cleaning the top of the garment, make sure to work on the back as well before laundering as usual. Some prefer working on the underside first, then the top.
  • You can use a soft toothbrush to “scrub” the spot a bit with the chosen treatment, but make sure you don’t scrub so hard that you permanently damage the garment’s fibers.
  • Be careful with any method you choose, test a small area first to make sure the formula won’t damage the garment.
  • If you’re finding that one method is not giving you the desired results and wish to switch to another, make sure to thoroughly rinse and wash out (by hand) the residue from the first treatment before moving onto the next. Always use cool water, not hot since the heat can set the mark.
  • If it’s carpet you’re working with, these should work too. Just make sure to test first.

Recipe #1

1 TBS Vinegar
1 TBS Milk
1 tsp Borax
1 tsp Lemon Juice

  • Mix together all the ingredients then apply to spot, leave for about 10 minutes. Dampen a sponge with cool water then dab at it until it’s gone.



  • Spray hairspray over it until it’s well saturated. Wait 30 minutes then dab at it with a sponge first soaked in cool water. You may have to soak it in hairspray a couple times.


Fingernail Polish Remover (plain, unscented)

  • Test a small unnoticeable area of the garment first before using. This could discolor some fabrics. The method is the same as above, saturate the area then dab at it with a cool, wet sponge.


Toothpaste (Plain paste, not gel, no bleach)

  • Just like with the white collars trick and the permanent marker tip, toothpaste can help lift ink from fabric too. Apply, let set for a few minutes, then run under cool water while gently rubbing the toothpaste into the fabric. Repeat as necessary.


Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol)

  • Saturate with isopropyl alcohol, leave for 30 minutes, then try lifting it up with a sponge first wet with cool water.


Vinegar (Regular White Household)

  • Pour a teaspoon of vinegar directly on top and allow to rest for about 10 minutes. Then dab a drop or two of liquid dish detergent onto the area. Rub it in gently with your fingers. Leave to rest for about 5 minutes. Rinse under cool water, gently rubbing the soap into the fabric while the water rinses the area.



  • Spray over area and after a minute or two, rinse off.


Shaving Cream

  • This needs to be the foaming shaving cream, not the gel. Spray a bit of the foam on top, wait 30 minutes, then run under cool water while gently rubbing with your fingers


Ivory Soap (bar)

  • Run the fabric under cool water so it’s good and wet. Rub the Ivory Soap bar into the area (not too roughly or it will damage the fibers), make sure to rub a good amount of soap into the spot. Leave for 30 minutes. Add a couple drops of liquid dish detergent, rub in with your fingers (gently), then run under cool water.



  • Let the item soak in Buttermilk for 24 hours, then rinse under cool water with a bit of Ivory soap or liquid hand soap. If that hasn’t gotten rid of it, soak in Buttermilk again and repeat the process.


After you have successfully lifted out the stain, rinse the item very well in cool water to completely wash away all traces of the treatment you used. Then launder the garment as you normally would.

Print Print    Email Email

What Readers Are Saying: 27 Comments
  1. Stephanie says:

    Resolve Carpet Cleaner:
    My 2 yr old daughter drew on her comforter the day after we bought it. I tried all kinds of products to remove the marker. As a last resort, I used Resolve Carpet Cleaner and it lightened up on the first application and on the second was gone!!! 🙂

  2. Ken says:

    I have a painted(or plastisized) kitchen cupboard that has a persistent lavender smell… how do I remove it?

  3. Bren says:

    This post was a great help! I threw an uncapped black pen in my brand new large-sized COACH bag without thinking, and before I knew it there was black ink all over the cream-colored satin lining. Your suggestion of using nail polish remover worked beautifully!! All i had (and used) was the non-acetone kind; and it got it all out without staining the satin. Thank you so much for your great posting!!!

  4. aj says:

    Any ideas on how to get toner out of clothing? It was a puff of the dry toner powder for our copier…on my new shirt…tried so many things with none of them helping.
    Any help appreciated!

    • Rhonette says:

      Years ago I worked in a copier repair shop. Unfortunately, the only way to remove toner is by vacuuming it out. If you have tried to remove it by other methods, your garment is most likely permanently stained now. Toner is strange stuff and rubbing it makes it worse. Hope this helps in the future.

  5. Joe says:

    I have tried almost all of the different tips for removing ink from a t-shirt and the only one that had a noticeable effect was the rubbing alcohol. It took most of the stain out. Thanks

  6. georgeann stroz says:

    I need help!
    whrn I opened my dryer I saw the cloths full of Ink stains and dry what am I to do! Please help!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Angie says:

      I had the exact same thing hsppen to me, I tried the rubbing alcohol, it did remove a small amount of the stain, but there is still alot of spots. I also tried washing it in Clorox 2 for colors, with no luck. I am going to try other mothods, if I find one that works I’ll let you know. If you come across anything please let me know.

  7. Julie says:

    How do you get Sharpee off the inside of the NEW dryer?

  8. Marlene says:

    I love your daily tips! I need help my husband is a auto mechanic. I need to know the best way to do his laundry, He gets gear and transmission oil on his clothes- how do I get this out of his work clothes?
    Thank you for any tips>

    • amynrichie says:

      My dad who is a farmer/mechanic swears by the addition of Simple Green to the laundry OR a very small amount of Dawn dish soap. They have a regular top loader washing machine, I wouldn’t put the dawn dish soap in a high efficiency front loader.

  9. Happy says:

    I used the rubbing alcohol to get blue ink out of the inside green lining of a new Coach bag. Worked GREAT. Just a bit of rubbing, with a cotton ball soaked with 90% rubbing alcohol and it came right up! the cotton ball was blue when I was done. Put the bag out in the sun to dry and it looks perfect again. THANKS!!

    • Greatful! says:

      Thank you for this tip. This is the exact problem I was looking to cure. The cap came off an ink pen and left a line of ink on the lavender satin liner of a Coach bag.

  10. jaci says:

    How do you remove dark blue jean dye from grey leather car seats and the dryer. Both the car and the dryer are new. I did not expect the dye from the Ralph Lauren jeans to rub onto everything. Help?

    • granny says:

      did you wash them prior to wearing? most jeans have plenty of dye in them and sometimes need to be washed a few times before wearing. washing with vinegar or salt in the rinse water can help set the dye.

  11. Jennifer says:

    How do you get permanent marker out of clothes? Tried vinegar did not work…help!

  12. Linda says:

    Wet wipes have worked very well for me on ink stains, tomato sauce, mustard. Some stains you have to work at but they are very effective. I try to keep some of the packets in my purse for emergencies.

  13. Jody Mullins says:

    On hard surfaces use a magic eraser

  14. steve says:

    How do you get red ink out of a blue north face jacket if the ink has dried?

  15. Jess says:

    My daughter was sorting out her pencil case for going back to school and then one of the spare ink cartridges for her ink pen leaked onto her duvet cover!!!!! We don’t really know what to do and need help. It’s not a very big stain , about the same shape as a 1p coin but there is 3 little blobs of it , again they are all the same shape as a 1p coin. Help please???????

  16. Debi Pratt says:

    I have a simple ink stain on the suede leather visor of my car. What should I try?

  17. Dana says:

    I had chapstick in my pocket that went through washer and dryer, how do i remove stains?

  18. Maybell W. says:

    I had a ink stain in a hot pink uniform. I used rubbing alcohol and let stand for 30 minutes, and then washed it with dawn dish washing solution and all the ink was gone.

*Comments Are Moderated