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Ink stains on the hands, clothing or on the carpet may be inconvenient; they may even be dismaying if you particularly like that outfit or carpet. However the good news is that in most cases it is possible to get rid of stains fairly effectively using stuff that you have around the home. So here’s what you can do to remove ink stains from pens, markers, newspapers as well as printer ink or toner:

Tip – To maximize your chances of successful stain removal, it is important to get to the stain before it has had a chance to set in. So try and get to work removing the stain as soon as you possibly can.

How to remove ink stains from clothes

There are a couple of ways to do this:
  • If it’s a wet ink stain, first lightly dab at the stain so you soak up the ink without letting it spread. After the stain dries, dab alcohol on to it and then dab the reverse of the stained fabric with a paper towel so that it soaks up the alcohol, along with the ink that it is dislodged by the alcohol. Keep using fresh paper towels to mop up more and more and more of the stain. Tip – in a pinch, hair spray can also work.
  • A hand sanitizer (these are typically alcohol based) will help do the trick as well. Soak the stain in this and then wash the garment in the hottest water that the care instructions allow. Also add bleach to your wash (again check the instructions) and then air dry your clothing. Repeat process if required.
  • For printer ink spills on white fabric, chlorine bleach in cold water typically works well. For colored clothing, use a dilute mixture of ammonia detergent, again in cold water.
Tip – use cold water and not hot; do not mix chlorine bleach and ammonia.

Here is a video showing how to remove ink stains from clothing:

Removing ink stains from carpets

 Tip – if it’s a toner stain (dry powder) get to it with a vacuum cleaner first. This action along with a carpet cleaner with foaming action will probably do the job. For liquid ink stains, you’ll have to reach for the trusty alcohol again:

  • Dab Isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol on to the stain – work from the outside in to prevent the stain spreading. Now blot the stain to mop up the ink that has been dislodged (the alcohol may take some time to dissolve the ink so you may need to be patient). I may be a good idea to rinse out the area with vinegar diluted with water.
  • For persistent stains, you could use shaving foam: leave on for about 15 minutes and rinse with water and vinegar. Hydrogen peroxide may also work on stubborn stains.
Here is a video that demonstrates how to remove ink stains from the carpet:

How to remove ink stains from skin

Ink stains on skin are a simpler matter because you know that they’ll come off sooner or later. However if you don’t want to go around like an inky fingered kid (or visibly sporting the illegible scrawl that your grandchild decided to festoon your leg with) here’s what will get the job done for you:
  • That rubbing alcohol will come in handy again - dab the alcohol on cotton balls and gently apply to the stains on your skin.
  • Baby oil also works well (and leaves for skin soft and happy)
  • Other stain removers for skin that can work include petroleum jelly, nail polish remover, hair spray, vinegar and milk (yes milk!) – dab on to the skin and scrub off with a baby wipe.
  • Wash the stained area of skin with exfoliating soap or scrub to take off residual ink stains. Gritty soaps like Lava work pretty well. 
  • If the rough handling made your skin feel a little dry, smooth on some moisturizer to soothe it.
If you have any ideas to share regarding removal of ink stains from the skin, clothes or carpets, or have a particular method that works well, we would love to hear about them. Feel free to share in the comments below.