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How to remove ink stains

Ink is a pesky stain to remove from clothes, bedding and upholstery – but it’s not impossible!

Suss out the situation

Ink stains are a pain – but they don’t have to be permanent. If you need to know how to remove ink stains, establish what material you’re dealing with, then there are a few methods to try.


Ink on fabric

To remove pen from fabric, check whether the material is washable. Cotton, linen, nylon or polyester should be fine to pop in the machine, but check the care label first. Before you put the stained fabric in the machine, soak it for 30 minutes in a solution of warm water, 1/2 teaspoon of detergent and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar (if you’re treating cotton and linen, use a teaspoon of vinegar).

Tip: Soaking washable fabric in milk overnight is another trick you can try to remove ink from fabric.

Ink on carpets and upholstery

Several household products can help to remove ink stains from these tricky areas. Hairspray should be your first port of call: use it to dampen the stain and then blot it with a clean white cloth. The ink should transfer quickly and easily. Another tip – and this works well with water-based ink stains – is to mix a teaspoon of washing up liquid with some lukewarm water and then dab the stain with it, using a clean towel. 


Tip: Never try to rub the stain off – always dab it. 


Ink on leather

Ouch. Was it your coat or your sofa? To remove pen ink from leather check if the leather is finished: to find out, pop a drop of water onto it. If it stays on the surface, the leather has been finished; if it soaks in, it’s unfinished and you’ll need professional help to remove the stain. If your ink-stained leather is finished, try removing the blemish using simple household soap. If that doesn’t work, a non-acetone nail polish remover – applied carefully with a cotton swab – could do the trick. 


Tip: Once the ink stain is off and the leather is dry, treat it with a leather protector spray to shield against future stains.


Ask the experts

If you need professional help with your ink stain, Laundrapp has decades of experience, always cleaning in the most appropriate manner.


Tip: You can add cleaning instructions when placing your order with the Laundrapp app (available for iOS and Android) – and right up until the moment your order is collected.




Guest written by,

Johanna Payton

Editorial Image Credits / Shutterstock.com 

Written by Johanna Payton

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