Tips for Removing Pen and Marker Stains

Say goodbye to being overwhelmed by those ink stains on clothes and know what all our tricks are to get rid of them.
Tips for Removing Pen and Marker Stains

Last update: 02 August, 2022

It’s normal for pen and marker stains to appear at some point in our lives, but when we have young children, the chances increase considerably. For this reason, below, we’ll tell you what you can do to remove these stains from fabric.

Ballpoint ink is the most difficult to remove. Unlike crayon stains, which tend to disappear easily with a little water and common detergent.

Aspects to consider

When it comes to removing pen and marker stains from clothing, it’s important to take into account certain issues to ensure we execute the appropriate solution:

  • The type of fabric.
  • The size of the stain.
  • Is the stain on another stain? For example, did ink get on a food stain?
  • The time since the stain was made (This is very important, as the longer it’s been since the fabric was stained, the more difficult it will be to remove).

Basic tips regarding pen and marker stains

The first tip for removing ink stains (of any kind) is speed. Acting quickly will help you undo your child’s accident or mischievous act.

To remove permanent marker stains, you can use alcohol. You can even look for some liquor. Any liquor over 80 proof will do, but ethyl alcohol will be more effective. Apply it to a clean towel and use the impregnated part to rub the permanent marker-stained surface.

You can also use toothpaste mixed with baking soda. Mix one part baking soda with one part toothpaste in a small cup. Apply the mixture directly to the ink stain and let it sit for a few seconds.

After that, take a clean, slightly damp cloth and rub the mixture in a circular motion over the stain. This method can be somewhat cumbersome, but it’s usually effective in removing ink stains (from markers, ballpoint pens, crayons, etc.).

Clothes hanging on the line outdoors.

Some tricks to remove stains

You can also use a pencil eraser. In some cases, marker stains can be removed by rubbing the fabric with a regular eraser.

Remember to take care of the stain as quickly as possible. Acting quickly is important, as ink stains are very stubborn and difficult to remove once they’re set. If the accident just happened, grab a paper napkin and press firmly on the fabric for several seconds.

There’s another trick to removing marker stains: Use acetone. You just have to apply a little acetone directly on the stain and blot with a clean paper towel until you see the stain disappear completely.

Later, you can wash the clothes in the washing machine with a cup of salt, cold water, and no detergent. Avoid using acetone on plastic surfaces, such as a toy, because it will fade the color of the object you’re using it on.

How to remove pen stains?

Never pat or scrub hard, as you may spread the ink rather than wipe it away. Paper towel, on the other hand, will absorb the ink that’s still wet, which will help make the stain less obvious and easier to remove.

Use alcohol or denatured alcohol. Rubbing alcohol and denatured alcohol that you can find at drug stores or hardware stores are great for removing ink stains (as long as the stain hasn’t set).

Alcohol neutralizes the pigment in the ink and, therefore, it disappears. Either put the garment in denatured alcohol and wash it or use the following process:

  1. Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol.
  2. Put it on the ink stain.
  3. Repeat with a clean cotton swab several times.
  4. Put another cotton swab or towel on the cloth to remove the alcohol.
  5. For best results, let the fabric dry before trying to remove the ink stains again.
  6. Rubbing alcohol works best on a dry cloth, but after each application, you should rinse it off with water.
  7. The heavy ink stain removal process is long and cyclical and involves applying, rinsing, and drying over and over.
  8. Let the area dry. Wash the garment as normal.
Markers, crayons, colored pencils, and other craft supplies.

Another home remedy

You can also use a little cow’s milk to remove ink stains. In fact, it’s often used as follows:

  • Use cold milk after drying the ink with a paper towel as marked in other steps, soak the ink stain in the milk for half an hour. Wash as usual afterward.
  • Use hot milk. Heat the milk until it’s lukewarm. Pour it into a suitable container and soak the stained part of the garment as soon as possible. Rinse after soaking and wash.

Although it may seem incredible, butter can also help you get rid of ink stains. If you want to remove a pen stain from a piece of plastic, such as a plastic doll, you simply have to apply a little butter on the ink stain, put it in the sun for a day, and then remove the remains of butter with a cloth dampened in soap and water.

Now, if the problem consists of pen ink stains on carpets: You can prepare a mixture of milk with cornstarch and form a solid paste. Then, you apply this paste on top of the stain and let it sit for a couple of hours. After two hours, brush the dry remains with the help of a toothbrush.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.