How to Get Ink Out of Polyester

by Mimi Abney ; Updated September 28, 2017

Polyester is a man-made and versatile fabric found in clothing and draperies.

draperies image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com

Polyester fabric is no longer reserved for leisure suits worn by dapper disco lovers in the 1970s. In fact, modern fashion designers use polyester blends to create pants, suits, dresses and tops using this strong synthetic fiber. If your polyester clothing has ink stains however, you’ll need expert advice to remove the ink quickly. No need to panic if you’ve stained your polyester garments. You can remove dye stains from this fabric without stretching or shrinking the fibers or requiring a visit to the dry cleaner.

Sponge the stain with a dry-cleaning solvent to keep the ink from spreading. Follow the directions on the solvent's bottle for the length of time the solution should remain on the polyester fabric. Rinse the stain with water to remove any solvent residue.

Apply a capful of rubbing alcohol to the stain to help lift the ink. Let the polyester garment air-dry in a well-ventilated area.

Pre-treat a stubborn stain with liquid laundry detergent. For hard-to-remove dye stains, pour a small capful of detergent on the stain. Rub the material together to adhere the liquid to the spot. Let the detergent remain on the fabric overnight.

Wash the polyester fabric in warm water. Use a gentle wash cycle with a cold rinse to clean the fabric without setting the stain. For colorfast and white garments, add an all-fabric bleach into the washing cycle.

Tumble dry the fabric. If the stain is no longer visible to the naked eye, place the polyester garment into the dryer. After drying on medium-heat, remove promptly to avoid wrinkles. Iron the fabric at a low setting.


  • Permanent ink may not respond to the washing method described above. If the permanent ink is still visible after step 3, take the fabric to the dry cleaner for professional cleaning. If the polyester is blended with another fabric, follow the cleaning guidelines for the more delicate fiber.

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About the Author

Mimi Abney is a lifestyle writer specializing in online content for women. Her work has appeared in NewsOK.com and "Keepsake Magazine," among other publications. With over 15 years of writing and editing experience for the web and print, Abney is also a contributor to online health, beauty and fashion publications. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology from Spelman College.