The kids turned their shirts into a coloring book or you forgot to take a pen out of your pocket before throwing your jeans in the wash, and now you're faced with some seemingly impossible-to-remove ink stains. If you know what type of ink you're up against (and you've got an effective all-purpose cleaner), getting ink stains out of clothes can be entirely possible.
Inks are made up of soluble dyes or insoluble pigments, as well as different solvents and lubricants. Water-based ink, often found in washable markers, is the easiest to remove. Ballpoint pen ink is a little more stubborn, as a number of chemical additives are mixed into the ink to improve quality and make the pens easier to write with. Permanent ink is the most difficult to remove because the ink's resin, which is what ensures the ink "sticks" to paper, does not dissolve in water at all.
Regardless of the type, removing ink stains from clothes doesn't need to be done with potentially dangerous chemicals. Depending on the fabric you're treating, both bleach and hydrogen peroxide can often do more harm than good and lead to discoloration. Ammonia can permanently set the stain, as well as release harmful fumes which, if in contact with chlorinated substances, can result in dangerous chemical reactions. Products such as hand sanitizer, white vinegar and rubbing alcohol might not work hard enough to restore clothes to their original color.
Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner is a cleaner, degreaser, deodorizer and stain remover that powers out dirt and grime and removes stubborn stains on washable surfaces, including clothing and fabric. The clean-rinsing, orally non-toxic formula doesn't leave behind harsh chemicals or residue that can be absorbed into skin or cause irritation.
- Prepare. Place an old towel or a stack of paper towels under the stained area to prevent the ink from spreading as you scrub.
- Wet. Dampen the stain with clean water. The key is to keep the area moistened with cold water so it doesn't set. Wetting the stain before cleaning it simply softens it so it's more vulnerable to the effects of the cleaning solution.
- Pre treat the stain. Spray full strength Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner onto the stain until the material is saturated.
- Wait a few minutes. Let the cleaner sit on the fabric for 3-5 minutes to break down the ink's oils.
- Blot the stain. Blot with a dry, clean cloth. This will help transfer the ink out of the garment and into the absorbent cloth.
- Rinse the stain. Rinse the garment with cool water. Avoid hot water throughout the entire process, as it will only make the stain harder to remove.
- Air dry. Always let a stained item air dry to make sure the stain has completely lifted before washing it. If the stain remains, use a clean part of your old towel or new paper towels and repeat the process.
- Wash as usual. Finish the process by washing the item in cold water with your usual laundry detergent. Make sure the stain is completely gone before putting the fabric in the dryer, as dryer heat can set a stain permanently.
TIP: Simple Green also makes short work of removing any ink residue inside your washing machine. Spray full-strength Simple Green All-Purpose Cleaner on a paper towel and wipe the interior clean.