Ink stains, we have all seen pictures of them in the pockets of nice dress shirts.  The shirt pocket is a convenient place to store a pen while going from meeting to meeting.  It can be an expensive mistake to leave the cap off.  Business dress shirts are not cheap.  These stains are common, but the cleanup is not so simple.  You will need to act fast.  So is there a way to remove that unsightly stain?  Yes, luckily there is a way to save that shirt!  The cleanup method will depend on what type is leaked.  Follow the steps below or let your maid service clean it up for you.

Removing Ballpoint Ink

How to Clean Ink Stains on shirtBallpoint pen is a little tricky to remove because it is oil based and thick.  You typically cannot clean it with simple soap and water.  There is an easy way to do it though and the supplies you’ll need are likely already at your house.

You’ll need one of the following chemicals to clean up the ballpoint pen: isopropyl alcohol, shaving cream, hairspray, or non-flammable dry cleaning fluid.  The first choice would be the alcohol because it dissolves pigments.  It is also gentle and will not discolor or damage the fabric.

First dab the rubbing alcohol onto the stain.  Allow at least five minutes for the alcohol to penetrate the fabric and start the reaction with the ink.  Blot the stain using a dry rag or cloth.  If the alcohol doesn’t work, try shaving cream.  If the shaving cream doesn’t work, try hairspray.  If the hairspray doesn’t work, try the dry cleaning fluid.  If none of those work, let your maid service attempt to remove the stain before giving up and discarding the shirt.

Removing Gel Ink

The gel pen has water based liquid in it.  Unlike a ballpoint pen, a gel pen’s ink is made from water and is much thinner.  This should mean that you will have better success in removing the stain using water-based cleaning agents rather than alcohol.

Place the stained shirt or fabric on top of a towel and apply water.  Blot with a clean rag or cloth until the stain begins to fade.  Once the stain begins to fade, apply liquid laundry to the fabric and let sit for at least five minutes.  Wash the shirt in warm water.  Repeat if the stain is not completely gone.

How to Clean Ink Stains on fabric

General Removal Tips

Once a pen begins to spill its liquid, it will start spreading to more of the fabric.  To prevent the spread, start the cleaning process as soon as possible.  This applies to both types, ballpoint and gel.

If you are away from home, try to find something to absorb the stain such as talcum powder or baby powder.  These powders will soak up the stain and reduce the amount that it spreads on your shirt.  Even blotting the stain with a piece of paper will help reduce the spreading in a pinch.

If you have a really stubborn stain and don’t want to give up yet, you can try a product such as Goo Gone, Shout, or OxiClean.  Make sure you test these on an inconspicuous area first.  Remember to give your maid service a chance at removing the ink as well.  They are professionally trained in stain removal!