Must-know advice for getting rid of ink blotches on clothes

There’s hope of saving your clothes without rushing to the dry cleaners when you know how to get rid of ink stains yourself. Here's some must-know advice for getting rid of ink blotches on clothes.

Must-know advice for getting rid of ink blotches on clothes

Act immediately!

  • Depending on the fabric and colour of the ink, if you allow it to dry, it’s most likely there to stay.
  • Do not rub the stain. This will cause the stain to spread and set deeper into the fibres. Instead, soak up and absorb the excess ink with a clean cloth or paper towels.
  • Powder or aerosol stain removers must be applied directly to the garment; but never apply cleaning liquids straight on to fabric. Instead, squeeze the solution onto a sponge or damp cloth and buff the stain away.
  • Even if you’re using a well-known, time-tested stain solution, never proceed without doing a spot test first.
  • Thoroughly wash the garment according to the directions of the treatment. This will lift the solution from the fabric and avoid possible rings around the stain.
  • Do not put the garment in the dryer until the ink has been completely removed, otherwise you can expect the heat to “bake” the spot, making it permanent.

Try alternative stain-removal remedies

  • Hairspray can potentially be very effective. Simply spray the aerosol directly onto the ink mark, wipe the stain immediately, and then put the item in the wash.
  • Toothpaste and a little water can be gently brushed (with a toothbrush) onto the stain using small circular motions. Rinse and wash as normal.
  • Milk is your friend. Place milk in a small bowl, and soak the stain. If the stain is resistant and doesn’t completely disappear on the first try, add a little peroxide to the mix. Change the milk once it has absorbed the stain. You’ll know when it’s absorbed because the milk will change to the colour of the ink. Repeat this process several times over the course of a few hours.
  • Lemon juice or 90 per cent alcohol: Dampen paper towels or cotton balls with the liquid (dilute the solution for synthetic fibres) and then soak the ink stain.

More specific treatments for particular fabrics

  • Cotton: among other suggested methods, cotton reacts well to placing a slice of fresh tomato on the stain.
  • Wool: requires a mixture of one part rubbing alcohol and two parts water.
  • Jeans: never use 90 per cent alcohol on jeans; instead, opt for lemon juice.
  • Synthetics: diluted ammonia is particularly good for removing ink from synthetics.
  • All fabrics: mustard is effective on red ink.

Getting out stubborn stains

Stubborn ink spots call for more drastic measures.

  • Look for heavy-duty commercial solvents if the stain persists after repeated treatments and laundering.

Finally, if anyone can get you out of trouble, it’s your dry cleaner. Using their industry’s best-kept secrets, they are specialized in removing the toughest of stains.

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