How to remove ink tags from clothes

Written by regina paul
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How to remove ink tags from clothes
A thin flathead screwdriver can help remove an ink tag. (screwdriver image by Maciej Mamro from

Ink tags are the tags that stores put on their clothing to prevent shoplifters from being able to grab an expensive item and sneak out the front door with it. If a shoplifter does make it out the door with something and manages to make it home, when he tries to get the tag off by himself, it will leak ink when the tag is broken and will stain the item so that it is unusable. Occasionally, you may purchase a clothing item and the checker forgets to take off the ink tag and for some reason the alarms don't go off when you leave the store. Here are a few methods for taking off the tag yourself.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Lighter
  • Knife
  • Thin-headed flathead screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Take a lighter and melt the top part of the cone on the ink tag. It takes about 15 seconds.

  2. 2

    Scrape the melted part of the cone off with a knife.

  3. 3

    Take the knife and pop the first ball bearing out.

  4. 4

    Carefully pop out the rest of the ball bearings. After the first one comes out, the others should easily pop out.

  5. 5

    Slide apart the two pieces of the security tag. Once the ball bearings are gone, the tag should come apart easily.

  1. 1

    Put the clothing on a table or the floor with the rectangular piece pointing up.

  2. 2

    Place a thin-headed flathead screwdriver along the edge of the raised area of the rectangular piece of the security tag.

  3. 3

    Press down hard so that you pierce the plastic where the head is located.

  4. 4

    Repeat Steps 2 and 3 all the way around the raised area of the rectangular piece of the security tag until you can remove it.

  5. 5

    Remove anything that is in between you and being able to see the metal plate inside.

  6. 6

    Take the screwdriver and lift up one of the metal arms that you can see keeping the pin in place.

  7. 7

    The pin should slide through the hole at this point, allowing you to part the two pieces of the security tag safely.

  1. 1

    Get a large rubber band, such as the kind used by the post office.

  2. 2

    Find where the pin is on the inside of your clothing next to the ink-cartridge part of the security tag.

  3. 3

    Wrap the rubber band around this pin several times until it is tight there.

  4. 4

    Add a second rubber band if the first one doesn't pop the two pieces apart.

  5. 5

    The two pieces should automatically pop apart once there is enough pressure from the rubber bands.

Tips and warnings

  • If you can return to the store and have the tag removed in the traditional way, remember to bring your receipt.
  • Before doing the lighter method, freeze the ink cartridge. Otherwise there is still a possibility of the ink cartridge breaking and getting ink on your clothing item.

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