Gel ink is a pigmented ink that is designed to be permanent, which makes it difficult to remove from fabrics. Available in a wide variety of bright colours, gel ink is especially popular among the younger generation, who sometimes are careless when using gel pens. A mishap with a gel ink pen can leave stains on fabrics, whether upholstery or clothing, but they can often be removed by using one of two methods.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Household ammonia
- Clean white cloths
- Washing powder
- White vinegar
- Rubbing alcohol
Measure out 1 tsp of household general purpose ammonia and mix it with 1 gallon of water.
Add 1/4 cup of a protein-based washing powder. Uni-ball, a leading maker of gel pens, recommends ERA washing powder.
Dip an old toothbrush in the ammonia/detergent mix and scrub the stain on the fabric. Use a circular motion, rotating first in one direction and then the other. Keep scrubbing until you break through the stain.
Rinse the fabric with warm water, and then wash according to fabric directions.
Using Ammonia and Detergent
Mix 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of rubbing alcohol in a bowl.
Dip a clean, white cloth into the mixture and then moisten the stain well with it. Let the mixture sit on the stain for five minutes.
Sprinkle table salt on the stain and then let it sit for another five minutes. Use a toothbrush to scrape the salt off the stain.
Wet a clean cloth with hot water, and blot the stain. Repeat the blotting until the stain is removed. Add a drop of washing powder to the stain if it is not lifting very easily.
Rinse the detergent and stain one more time with plain water and a clean damp cloth. When the soap and ink are rinsed clear, allow the fabric to dry.
Using Alcohol and Vinegar
Tips and warnings
- Treat gel ink stains as soon as you discover them. The longer they set, the less chance you have of removing them.
- Never mix an ammonia based cleaning product with a product containing bleach, as the mixture produces toxic fumes and can be deadly.
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