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How to remove highlighter stains

Updated February 21, 2017

Highlighters are incredibly helpful when you are studying to ace that exam or pinpointing an important passage in a text. Unfortunately, pink, blue, green, orange and yellow stains are an all too common occurrence on clothes and carpet. Highlighter ink seems to be the culprit. Read on to learn how to remove it.

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  1. Take a shower. The most common place to find a highlighter stain is on your body. Whether you woke up to find neon yellow all over your face or were working so diligently you didn't notice the hot pink all over your hands, standing in the shower for ten minutes is the best stain removal system.

  2. Give clothing, walls and carpets a good rub with plain old soap and water. Most highlighters are water-based inks, which makes soap and water a great stain remover. You may have to repeat the process several times to completely remove the ink.

  3. Apply rubbing alcohol to the affected area. However, alcohol will remove latex paint and ruin certain fabrics. Test a small area and be cautious when using this strong liquid.

  4. Use salt water for clothing stains. In addition to using soap and rubbing alcohol, some people soak their stained apparel in salt water and then freeze it overnight. Thaw your clothing the next morning and run it through the washing machine for good-as-new status.

  5. Pour a laundry pre-treatment liquid over the stain and wait 10 to 20 minutes. When the time is up, place pressure on the stain by rubbing your thumbs over the affected area. (Place a paper towel or cloth in between--don't put your hands directly on the pre-treater.) Let the stain soak for another 10 minutes, then repeat as necessary.

  6. Tip

    Cold water works better than hot for highlighter ink stain removal.


    Bleach is not recommended for removal of highlighter stains.

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About the Author

This article was created by a professional writer and edited by experienced copy editors, both qualified members of the Demand Media Studios community. All articles go through an editorial process that includes subject matter guidelines, plagiarism review, fact-checking, and other steps in an effort to provide reliable information.

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