How to remove ballpoint pen ink stains from fabric

Updated February 21, 2017

Ink stains on clothing is something most people have to deal with at one point or the other. Ink can be pretty tough to get out, but most ballpoint pen ink stains come out with lots of persistence and patience. Test on similar scraps of fabric before proceeding.

Sponge the stain with water to remove as much ink as possible.

Allow the spot to dry.

Set the affected area face down on a clean cloth or paper towels.

Spray the back side of the stain with hairspray, or apply rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover.

Blot the back side with a clean terry cloth washcloth to further remove as much ink as possible.

Apply laundry pretreatment.

Wash in warm water.

Air dry.


If you're left with only traces of a stain, consider using bleach to get it out.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Clean cloth
  • Hair Spray
  • Terry Cloth Washcloths
  • Sponges
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Laundry Pretreatment
  • Liquid Bleach
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