Horror of household horrors! What a little ink can do to ruin an entire sofa, floor or outfit. Ink stain removal is one of lifes tricky tasks and the key to doing it successfully is identifying the material that has been stained. There is no single solution for ink stain removal so it is a good idea to be wised up in advance.
The stains themselves can be categorized by water based and permanent inks. Water based ink stains are always easier to eradicate but unfortunately, the permanent variety is not so-named without reason. In any case, try the following solutions.
Take the garment to the sink and allow cold running water to dilute the stain for as long as possible. Dab some liquid dish soap to the back of the stain and then hold it under running water again to rinse.
If some of the stain remains, treat it with a mixture of equal amounts of lemon juice, ammonia and cold water then was as per normal.
For non-washable fabrics, you will really need to talk to your friendly neighborhood dry cleaner because ink stain removal can be just as troublesome as the stain itself if handled incorrectly.
Carpets and soft furnishings
Firstly, blot off the excess ink. Next, try dabbing with either methylated spirits or a commercial stain remover. Or, fill a clean spray bottle with plain soda, spray it over the carpet then blot dry before dabbing with the methylated spirits. Follow with commercial carpet shampoo.
Ballpoint ink on fabric
Sometimes you can successfully achieve ballpoint ink stain removal by using rubbing alcohol to sponge clean. If it still will not budge, you can try acetone, but never on acetate. If that fails too, give amyl acetate a try.
Ballpoint ink on leather
If your leather coat, handbag or sofa has been marred by ballpoint ink, rub some petroleum jelly on the stain, leave it for a few days and it should wipe clean. This is one of the easier ink stain removal solutions but it cannot hurt to cross your fingers all the same!
The Hairspray Treatment
An odd treatment for ink stain removal is to place an absorbent paper towel or an old rag directly under the stain. Spray a liberal dose of alcohol-based hair spray on the stain, blot it with more paper towel or another rag and repeat until the stain is gone.
Then wash the garment as you normally would. Note: this method is significantly less successful if the garment has been ironed or dried on the hot setting in the clothes dryer.
Do not use Milk!
You may have learned that milk can assist with ink stain removal. Wrong! What you end up with is an added protein stain and no real diminishing of the ink.
If your clothes regularly suffer from ink stains, then perhaps you should consider investing in a commercial ink stain removal product. It does not mean you will be guaranteed 100% results but at least you will not have to try and remember the methods you learned here.
Every good laundry cabinet should have a variety of different stain removal products in its arsenal, and if you and your family are frequent offenders, and there is often a pen left behind in shirt pockets, then you will be very glad indeed that you have the right tools at your disposal.