How to remove ballpoint pen stains from fabric

Ballpoint pen stains on fabric create a permanent ink stain that soaks into the fabric fibres, when left unattended. Permanent ink is made in such a way that it adheres to the surface to which it's applied. Quick removal of ballpoint ink stains on fabric make the job easier but even older ballpoint ink stains can be successfully removed with the use of supplies found at home.

Mix a 50/50 solution of household ammonia and hydrogen peroxide. Stir the mixture well with the end of your eye dropper.

Lay your ballpoint ink-stained fabric on a flat work surface. Fill the eye dropper with the ammonia and peroxide mixture. Drop the solution in a circle around the ballpoint ink stain to keep it from spreading further into the fabric fibres.

Place a paper towel underneath the fabric and another paper towel on top of the ballpoint ink stain. Fill the eye dropper with rubbing alcohol. Wet the ballpoint ink stain with the rubbing alcohol by dropping the liquid through the paper towels on both sides of the stain.

Allow the ballpoint ink stain to transfer to the paper towel on both sides. Change to clean paper towels and continue to add rubbing alcohol to further transfer the ballpoint ink to the paper towel.

Hold the fabric under running cold water and allow the water to flush the cleaning fluids from the fabric.

Rub a nickel-sized amount of washing powder into the site of the ballpoint ink stain on your fabric. Allow the detergent to remain on the fabric for 15 minutes to loosen any residual ballpoint ink.

Launder your fabric, according to the care label instructions, using washing powder and the recommended amount of all-fabric bleach to remove any last traces of ballpoint ink stain on your fabric.


Hang-dry your fabric after washing. Check to make sure all the ballpoint ink stain has been removed prior to drying the fabric in the dryer as the dryer heat will set the stain. Spray aerosol hairspray on ballpoint ink stains to lift the stain. Bring ballpoint pen ink-stained fabric that's not washable to the dry cleaners for stain removal.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • 50 per cent ammonia
  • 50 per cent hydrogen peroxide
  • Eye dropper
  • Paper towels
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Washing powder
  • All-fabric bleach
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.