our everyday life

How to Get Ink Off a Toddler

by Nadia Haris , studioD

Your adorable infant has turned into a precocious toddler, who is busy exerting his sense of self and exploring the world around him. This means investigating what is inside your handbag, briefcase and desk. If your toddler has grabbed a hold of pens he's likely seen you use, he will likely test them out on himself, scribbling on his legs and arms and sucking on the tip. Use natural, chemical-free methods to remove pen and other types of ink from your toddler.

Soak the area in warm, soapy water. Any type of perfume-free handsoap should be strong enough to remove most stains and gentle enough for your toddler's skin. If the ink stain is on his face, lather up soap on a wash cloth and gently scrub away the marks.

Wet or spray the ink marks on your toddler with white vinegar. This kitchen ingredient is a solution for many common stains on clothing and other surfaces. Wipe off the vinegar and the ink with a damp rag or towel. For tougher ink marks, Reader's Digest recommends gently rubbing your child's skin with a paste made from 2 parts white vinegar and 3 parts cornstarch. Let the paste dry as much as possible before washing off. The vinegar is slightly acidic, while the cornstarch provides an abrasive action to lift the ink.

Spray or smear shortening over the ink on your child. Although a greasy toddler may not sound like a good idea, the oils in shortenings such as cooking spray and butter help to break down the ink. Wipe away the shortening and ink with a soft, dry rag or paper towel.

Rub non-gel toothpaste into the ink on your toddler's skin. The toothpaste contains baking soda that helps to lift stains from surfaces. Rinse off with water or wipe with a damp cloth. Repeat as needed to remove the marks completely. You can also use this method for ink stains on clothing.

Wash the ink marks with water as much as possible. Spray a small amount of window cleaner onto a soft cloth or paper towel and rub it onto the ink stain. Wash your toddler's skin thoroughly to remove any traces of window cleaner. This method is not recommended for the face as the cleaner may get into the eyes or mouth.


  • Keep a resealable pack of baby wipes handy in your purse for toddler spills and accidents while you are out and about.


  • If you need to clean ink marks off your toddler while you are out, hairspray might do the job. Just spray and wipe. However, avoid this method if you can, as chemicals in aerosol sprays may irritate your child's tender skin.
  • Nail polish remover is a common remedy to remove ink from skin and other surfaces. However, the chemicals in it can be toxic for your child and should not be used.
  • If your child has ingested any type of ink or his mouth or eyes are stained with leaked ink, seek immediate medical attention. Some types of inks may be toxic for small children.

About the Author

Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.

Photo Credits

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