How to Remove Ink Stains: 12 Household Solutions

Simple at-home tips to deal with ink stain removal.

View as Slideshow

Cornstarch

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Ink on the carpet! In this case a little spilt milk might save you from crying. Mix the milk with cornstarch to make a paste, and apply the paste to the ink stain to remove it. Allow the concoction to dry on the carpet for a few hours, then brush off the dried residue and vacuum it up.

Milk

iStock/Thinkstock

To remove ink stains from colored clothes, an overnight milk bath will often do the trick. Just soak the affected garment in milk overnight and launder as usual the next day.

Salt

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Pour salt on an ink stain that’s still wet, gently dab with a wet paper towel, and then remove and brush off the salt. Repeat until the stain has completely lifted.

Content continues below ad

Cream of Tartar

iStock/Thinkstock

Pen burst on your shirt? Make a paste by mixing 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Cover the ink stain with the paste for 3 to 4 hours, then brush off the paste and wash the shirt.

Hair Spray

iStock/Thinkstock

Your toddler just went wild with a ballpoint pen on your new white coat. Squirt the stain with hair spray and the pen marks should come right off.

Nail Polish Remover

Hemera/Thinkstock

If the ink stains on your skin won’t come off with soap and water, they are probably not water-soluble. Try using nail polish remover instead. Take a cotton ball and wipe the affected areas with the solution. Once the ink stains are gone, wash skin with soap and water. Nail polish remover can also eliminate ink stains on the drum of your clothes dryer.

Content continues below ad

Toothpaste

Hemera/Thinkstock

This may or may not work, depending on the fabric and the ink, but put non-gel toothpaste on the stain and rub the fabric vigorously together. Rinse with water. Were you able to remove some of the ink? Great! Repeat the process a few more times until you get rid of all the ink. Note: The same process works for lipstick.

Butter

iStock/Thinkstock

One of the kids use a pen to draw a new smile on that favorite doll’s face? Try eliminating the kiddie graffiti by rubbing butter on it and leaving the doll face-up in the sun for a few days. Wash it off with soap and water.

Rubbing Alcohol

iStock/Thinkstock

Did you get ink on your favorite shirt or dress? Try soaking the spot in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes to remove the ink, before putting the garment in the wash.

Content continues below ad

Vinegar

iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Treat an ink stain on a shirt by first wetting it with some white vinegar, then rub in a paste of 2 parts vinegar to 3 parts cornstarch. Let the paste thoroughly dry before washing the item.

Sandpaper

iStock/Thinkstock

A little fine-grit sandpaper and a gentle touch is great for removing or at least minimizing an ink stain or small scuff mark on suede clothing or shoes. Afterward, bring up the nap with a toothbrush or nailbrush. You might avoid an expensive trip to the dry cleaner.

Shortening

iStock/Thinkstock

Next time a leaky pen leaves your hands full of ink, reach for a can of shortening. To remove ink stains from your hands and also from vinyl surfaces, rub on a dollop of shortening and wipe the stains away with a rag or paper towel.


Content continues below ad

Become more interesting every week!

Get our Read Up newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you this newsletter. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Funny Jokes
Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane. Dennis Miller
Funny Jokes
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.” Kevin Nealon
Funny Jokes
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram @kristencarney
Funny Jokes
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water. Comedian Greg Davies
Funny Jokes
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous. @sixthformpoet
Funny Jokes
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral. From clientsfromhell.net
Funny Jokes
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.” @NicCageMatch
Funny Jokes
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol @yoyoha (Josh Hara)
Funny Jokes
My parents didn't want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that's the law. —Jerry Seinfeld
Funny Jokes
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse's mouth? A: A mechanic.