How to remove ink stains from clothes

How to remove ink stains from clothes

A pen is made for writing. Generally, though, that means writing on paper, not on your clothes. Yet sometimes accidents do happen. Whether from a leaked ballpoint pen or some misplaced doodles, clothes covered in ink aren’t always the best look. One of the most effective solutions to remove ink stains from clothes is using Ariel powder. Read on to learn how to remove ink and pen marks from jeans and clothes, or watch our instruction video below.

How to remove ink stains from clothing in 6 steps

  • 1

    Prepare a soaking solution

    To start with, pre-treat the ink-stained garment. Fill a sink or bucket with warm water and add half a scoop of Ariel Washing Powder. Mix the solution by hand until the detergent is completely dissolved.

    Prepare a soaking solution
  • 2


    Add your ink-stained garments to the solution and leave them to soak for an hour. If the stained garment keeps floating to the top, place a white towel on top of it to keep it fully immersed in the soaking solution.

  • 3

    Preparing for wash

    Gently wring out the excess water.

    Preparing to wash
  • 4


    Add the detergent based on the instructions on your pack, or read our guide on how to dose washing powder and liquid detergent.

  • 5


    Load your garment into the washing machine with other, similar items and wash on your usual cycle, at the highest temperature shown on the care label.

  • 6


    After the wash cycle is complete, unload the garments immediately.


Ariel’s video guide on how to remove ink stains from clothes

Youtube video image

How to remove ink from shirts

If the ink stain remained on your favourite shirt despite following the above steps to a tee, consider giving the below method a try:


Fill a washbasin with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and cold water


Soak the ink-stained garment for 30 minutes


Gently blot the stain with a sponge every 10 minutes


Wash the clothing as usual with your choice of Ariel detergent

These same steps can also help you to remove ink stains from white clothes.

Ariel logo

FAQs on how to remove ink stains from clothes

If the above guide didn’t answer all your ink-related questions, our FAQ section will most definitely will!

  • To remove stubborn ink stains from your shirt effectively, follow these simple steps:

    • Place a paper towel under the stained garment.
    • Apply rub alcohol on the stained area.
    • Wait for 15 minutes and then blot the stain with a sponge until no more ink seems to come out of the fabric.
    • Rinse the garment under cool water.
    • Wash on the hottest water setting allowed by the garment’s fabric care label.
  • As ink is an inorganic substance, the stain it leaves can be tougher to remove than organic stains such as grass and food. There are three major types of ink that can eventually end up on your clothes:

    • Ballpoint ink: Thick and oily, these stains are a combination of dyes and grease.
    • Water-based ink: Perhaps the easiest to remove, stains from fountain pens and gel pens are thinner and non-greasy.
    • Permanent ink: These are the hardest ink stains to remove, and you often need a special, permanent ink remover to tackle – or a high-quality detergent like Ariel!
  • Removing ballpoint pen ink from your clothes is easy. Simply place the stained garment on a paper towel, blot the stained area with rub alcohol, let it set for 15 minutes, rinse it off, then place the item into your washing machine and launder as usual.

  • Apply toothpaste onto the stained area, then let it set for a few minutes. Next, rinse the stain with cold water and gently blot the toothpaste into the fabric. Clean off any remaining toothpaste residue and wash the garment as usual.

    1. Grab a few sheets of paper towel and lay them on a flat surface.

    2. Place the stained garment with the ink spot facing upward on the paper towels.

    3. Dab a cloth in rubbing alcohol and gently blot the stained part, removing as much of the ink stain as you can.

    4. Rinse the stained area free of the alcohol.

    5. Launder as usual on the hottest water setting indicated on the garment’s care label.

  • Create a 2 to 1 mix of baking soda and cold water. Apply the resulting paste onto the stained area with a cotton ball, then gently blot the ink until it is completely removed. Clean off the paste residue with a paper towel.

  • Milk can help you remove ink stains, but only if you’re combining it with white vinegar. Mix two parts whole milk and one part white vinegar, then soak the stained garment in the solution overnight. Hang dry the item the next day, then launder as usual.

  • Most hairspray products no longer contain the necessary amount of alcohol needed to remove ink stains efficiently, and although spraying the freshly stained parts with a cheaper brand may remove some of the ink, it’s better simply to wash your clothes with a detergent.

Effective stain removal on many stains

Ink stains may be uncommon, but they do happen. Often they’ll happen alongside other more common stains like coffee, wine or curry. When that does happen, don’t worry. Ariel has you covered against many tough stains.