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How to remove printer ink stains from clothes

Updated April 17, 2017

Printer ink stains are a common problem. They’re just as difficult to get out of clothing as any other type of ink stain, plus they’re probably more likely to happen. But there’s hope for your bright white button-downs and perfectly dry-cleaned slacks. There are a few sure-fire methods to blast out printer ink stains easily. And if the stain happens at the office, you can even continue your work day without cloaking yourself in a cardigan. Here’s how:

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  1. First, in short motions, dab the stain with a clean, damp towel or sponge until no ink is lifted from stain.

  2. Let the stain air dry.

  3. Next, spray the stain with hairspray or dab it with alcohol, whichever you have on hand.

  4. Take two paper towels and sandwich the stained fabric between them.

  5. Now just blot the backside of the stained fabric. This will force the stain out of the fabric and into the other paper towel.

  6. Continue pressing, but as the stain is being transferred to the other paper towel, move that paper towel so that a clean segment of the towel lifts the stain. Continue pressing and moving the paper towel so that the stain does not retransfer back into the fabric after you’ve got it out and into the towel. When the stain, is lifted, you’re done.

  7. Now just follow up by applying laundry pre-treatment (stain remover) before tossing the garment in the wash.

  8. If the printer ink stain has dried or set for some time, it requires a bit more effort to remove. Begin by dabbing a little liquid detergent on the stain.

  9. Now gently scrub the spot with a toothbrush or towel. You should see the stain beginning to lift.

  10. If the stain does not lift, mix 1 part bleach and 1 part water in a cup, dip the brush or towel into the cup and continue gently brushing the stain. This should definitely lift the printer ink from the garment.

  11. Then immediately wash the garment. Do not allow it to dry between scrubbing and washing, otherwise or the ink you loosened from the fabric will just set right back into the fabric.

  12. Tip

    If you have the misfortune of getting printer ink on your clothes while at work, or somewhere else where you have to clean the stain without getting undressed and immersing the garment in water, try using a stain stick. It’s convenient to carry this handy little product in your purse or to keep one in your desk. They’re easy to find in the cleaning isle at most stores and many companies make them. The stain will still require the aforementioned treatment (as a fresh printer ink stain, not a dry one) when you get home, but the stain stick will at least keep the stain from setting terribly and should lighten the ink considerably, as well.

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Things You'll Need

  • Towel or toothbrush
  • Bleach (optional)
  • Stain stick
  • Liquid detergent

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