How Do You Get Permanent Ink Out of Clothing?

by Kimbry Parker

Treat permanent ink stains on clothing at first sight for the greatest chance of removal.

marker on dotted background image by .shock from

A permanent ink stain does not have to hold true to its name. Contrary to popular belief, permanent ink stains can be removed. Whether the permanent ink stain is on a shirt, pants or any other article of clothing, removing the stain can be done by using the proper products and methods. It is important to treat permanent ink stains on clothing promptly for best results.

Items you will need

  • Paper towels
  • Rags
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton balls
  • ½ cup chlorine bleach or ½ cup oxygen bleach
Step 1

Blot the permanent ink stains with paper towels to remove as much of the wet ink as possible. Switch to clean parts of the paper towel as one becomes soiled with ink. Continue blotting until no more ink is transferred from the clothing to the paper towels. Avoid rubbing or the ink will spread further. This step is only necessary for fresh permanent ink stains.

Step 2

Place the ink stained portion of the clothing face down onto a stack of paper towels. This will allow you to work from the back of the stain, forcing it out of the clothing.

Step 3

Saturate a clean rag with rubbing alcohol. Dab the alcohol directly onto the permanent ink stain. Switch to clean portions of the rag and add more alcohol as one part of the rag becomes soiled. Change the paper towels underneath frequently. Continue this process until no more ink transfers from the clothing to the paper towels.

Step 4

Rinse the clothing in cool water. Inspect the garment for any traces of the ink stain.

Step 5

Saturate a cotton ball with alcohol if the ink stain persists. Sit the alcohol-soaked cotton ball directly over the ink stain. For larger ink stains, it may be necessary to use more than one cotton ball.

Step 6

Allow the cotton ball to remain on the garment for a few hours. Remove the cotton ball and rinse out the garment in cool water.

Step 7

Launder the clothing as usual. Add ½ cup of chlorine bleach to the wash cycle if the clothing is white. Add 1/2 cup of oxygen bleach to the wash for colored clothing.

Step 8

Inspect the clothing for any traces of the permanent ink after the wash cycle is complete. If the ink remains, repeat the process above. Do not place the clothing in the dryer until all of the ink has been removed. The heat from the dryer will only set in the stain.


  • Soak the stained area of clothing in a dish filled with milk for another method of removing permanent ink stains. Allow it to soak for several hours; then launder as usual.

Photo Credits

  • marker on dotted background image by .shock from

About the Author

Kimbry Parker has been writing since 1998 and has published content on various websites. Parker has experience writing on a variety of topics such as health, parenting, home improvement and decorating. She is a graduate of Purdue University with a Bachelor of Arts in organizational communication.