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How to remove newspaper ink

Updated April 17, 2017

Removing newspaper ink stains can be difficult due to the dark colour of the pigments. Newspaper ink usually is soy-based, but it can also have petroleum products in it. This means your chosen stain fighter might need to remove oily residue along with the dyes. The most important thing to remember when removing newspaper ink is to avoid allowing the stain and rinse water to come in contact with unstained materials because the ink transfers easily.

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  1. Consider the material that has the ink on it. If you will be removing the newspaper ink from your skin or delicate materials such as silk, use the least aggressive method first.

  2. Choose your stain remover. You can use water, a chemical stain remover (such as Shout), rubbing alcohol, ammonia, hairspray, milk or Dawn dish detergent. For materials that need to stay dry (for instance, the cover of a book), use tissue or blotting paper.

  3. Apply the stain remover. Make sure to focus on the ink-stained spot, so you don't spread the pigment to the rest of the material. Dry materials can be covered with tissue paper and then ironed on a low setting to transfer the ink to the paper.

  4. Rinse out the stain remover. Carefully blot the stain with paper towels or clean cloths. After blotting, run cold water over the spot with the newspaper ink stain and stain remover. Avoid spreading the inky rinse water to the rest of the material.

  5. Dry your clean item. Once the stain is removed, let the material air-dry or dry it with a hair or clothes dryer.

  6. Tip

    Don't give up after one try. It may take several different attempts, using different removers, to remove a newspaper ink stain.


    Test your stain remover. Some stain removers contain bleach, which can permanently remove colour from clothing and other coloured objects. Apply the remover to a small area before proceeding to check that your material is colour-fast.

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Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Stain remover
  • Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl)
  • Ammonia
  • Hairspray
  • Milk
  • Dawn dish detergent
  • Tissue or blotting paper
  • Scrubbing pad
  • Paper towels
  • Clean cloths

About the Author

Meagan Van Beest took up writing after graduating with a bachelor's degree in English literature. She has worked in advertising and marketing for the past decade. Her writing has appeared in advertising, brochures, newspapers and online magazines. Currently, as creative director of a design firm, she oversees the graphics, copy writing, and creative direction of print and Web design projects.

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