How to Get Ink Out of Cotton

by Kimbry Parker ; Updated September 28, 2017

An ink stain on cotton fabric can diminish the appearance of the entire piece of fabric. Whether an ink pen leaked onto the fabric or someone wrote on the fabric, chances are you want it gone. Removing ink from cotton can be done with common household products. It is important to use the proper products and methods when removing ink from cotton so not to spread it further onto the fabric.

Blot as much ink from the fabric as possible. Use a white paper towel to carefully dab at the stain. Switch to clean parts of the paper towel as one becomes soiled. This step is only necessary for fresh ink stains.

Place the ink-stained portion of the fabric face down on an old rag. This will prevent the ink from seeping through to unaffected areas of the fabric.

Place the ink-stained portion of the fabric face down on an old rag. This will prevent the ink from seeping through to unaffected areas of the fabric.

Blot the stain with a clean rag. Switch to clean parts of rag as one becomes soiled. Continue blotting until no more ink transfers from the cotton fabric to the rag. Apply more hairspray while blotting, if necessary.

Use glycerin on the fabric if the ink stain persists. Saturate a cotton swab with a moderate amount of glycerin.

Rub over the ink stain gently with the cotton swab. Switch to a clean cotton swab with glycerin as one becomes saturated with ink.

Fill a small bowl with warm water. Add a few drops of laundry soap to the water.

Dip a clean cotton swab into the bowl of soapy water. Rub the swab over the ink stain to further loosen the ink. Rub the fabric together to lather the soap.

Wash the garment as usual. If the garment is white, add ½ cup chlorine bleach to the washer. For colored garments, use color-safe bleach.

Inspect the fabric for any traces of ink prior to placing it in the dryer. The heat from the dryer will set in the ink stain. Repeat this entire process if the ink stain remains after laundering.

Tips

  • Acetone nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol can also be used for removing ink stains from cotton. Always test the product you are using on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric prior to applying it to a more noticeable area.

Photo Credits

  • Jason Crowgey/Demand Media

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.