How to Get Ink Out of Clothes With Hairspray

by Andrea Cespedes

When ink stains clothing, it is tricky to remove. Hairspray can be a magical ink remover, but only if it contains high levels of alcohol. Expensive hairsprays and ones that claim to not dry out your hair won't be helpful, because they likely do not have this ink stain-lifting ingredient.

High-alcohol hairspray works best on clothing made of polyester or a polyester blend. Even if your hairspray doesn't remove all the ink, rinse the area treated with hairspray thoroughly afterward, to prevent further staining.

Step 1

Place the stained garment on a flat surface. Put an absorbent cloth or paper towel underneath the ink stain to catch any drips and help soak up the wet ink before it spreads.

Step 2

A pump, rather than aerosol, version of hair spray is preferable. Pump once or twice to saturate a cotton ball with the hairspray and press against the stain.

Step 3

Blot at the ink with the hairspray-covered ball. As you blot, the ink should transfer from the garment onto the item with which you're blotting.


  • Do not rub as you attempt to remove the stain. This only encourages the stain to spread.

Step 4

Repeat the blotting process as many times as necessary to remove the stain. Always start with a clean cotton ball or paper towel to encourage the stain to lift.


  • Because of the woven fibers, ink can be challenging to remove from knitted wool or cotton.

Step 5

After you've removed the ink stain, wash the garment in cold water and dry it as usual

Nonwashable Garments

For dry-clean-only garments, proceed with caution. Test a small squirt of the hairspray on an inside hem before applying to the stain to ensure it won't cause an additional stain. If you aren't sure how the clothing will react to the hairspray, you're best off bringing the garment to a professional dry cleaner who may have more experience with stain removal.


  • If you have an ink stain and don't have any hairspray, don't buy some just to remove the ink. Plain rubbing alcohol will work in the same way, and may even do a better job.

About the Author

Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.