If you’re too cool for a pocket protector, chances are you have or will soon suffer from the dreaded ink stain. Most of us have experienced an ink stain before, whether it’s from a pen exploding or simply forgetting to put the cap back on. No amount of washing will ever remove an ink stain from clothing, no matter how strong or advanced the washing machine or detergent. What’s the point then, right? If you can’t wash it out, why not just throw the shirt away?  Before you toss that shirt or pair of jeans into the trash, there are a few ways that you can rid your clothes of tough ink stains.

Everyone has a stain removal method that they absolutely swear by. But will it work on stubborn, hard to remove ink stains? We’ve researched the best ink stain removal methods and here’s what we found. The best thing about these methods – they all involve ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen or bathroom.

5 Simply Ink Stain Removal Solutions

To remove ink from cloths you will need one of the following:

  • Milk
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Salt
  • Hair Spray
  • Cream of Tartar


Soaking your stained garment overnight in a bowl of whole milk may be enough to remove the ink. White vinegar can be added to the bowl to increase the effectiveness of this method. Simply mix two parts whole milk with one part white vinegar in a large bowl.

Allow the stained garment to sit in the solution for at least a few hours, but overnight guarantees the best results. The next day remove the stained garment and wash as usual.

Rubbing Alcohol

Isopropyl, or rubbing alcohol, can be used to remove ink stains from clothing. All you need is rubbing alcohol and a clean towel or rag. If the ink stain is fresh, blot as much ink away as you can with a clean, white cloth or rag before proceeding.

Next, wet a corner of a clean rag thoroughly with rubbing alcohol and use it to blot at the stain. Be careful not to wipe or rub at the stain, which will cause it to spread. Continue blotting until the stained area is thoroughly saturated with alcohol. If possible, immediately wash the stained garment in hot water and it should be as good as new.

If the ink stain is old, you may want to soak the stained area in rubbing alcohol for 15-20 minutes before washing.


Salt is one of the best ways to remove fresh, still wet ink stains. For this method, all you need to do is cover the wet ink stain with salt and blot at it with a clean, damp paper towel before brushing away the salt. If the stain remains, continue the process until it has been removed and wash the garment as usual.

Hair Spray

Don’t have rubbing alcohol on hand? Not a problem. Aerosol hair spray can be used in place of rubbing alcohol to remove ink stains from clothing. Just shoot hair spray on the stained area until it is completely wet and blot it with a clean paper towel or rag before throwing the stained clothing into the wash.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar is usually used in cake and meringue recipes, but we’ve found another use for the strange white powder – ink stain remover. Combine 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to form a paste. Cover the ink-stained area with the paste and let sit for at least 3 hours. Brush off the dry paste and wash the garment as usual and all signs of ink should be removed.

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