Tattoo ink looks best on your skin, not on your white jeans or your favorite concert T-shirt. But a new tattoo can "seep" a bit until the skin heals over -- or a random accidental brush-up in the tattoo shop might transfer some of that ink to your clothes. Colored or black, the ink is meant to be permanent on your body, but that's not the case when you get it on your clothes. Before the pigment has a chance to bond with clothing fibers, you may be able to remove the stain. Try an oxygenated cleaner to safely restore your garments to pre-tattoo condition. "Fake" tattoo transfers, beloved by kids at birthday parties everywhere, can also be removed from clothing, using the same method that works for the real deal.
O2 to the Rescue
Soak It Up
Soak up any wet ink (from a spill) with a clean rag or towel you don't care about. This won't remove the stain but the more ink you blot up, the easier it will be to tackle the remainder.
Oxygenate the Stain
Cover the stained area with a gel stick of oxygenated cleaner, rubbing it into the entire stain, or soak the stained fabric with liquid oxygen bleach. The cleaner will release oxygen bubbles that loosen and lift the pigment from the clothing fibers. Let the cleaner sit on the stain for about five or 10 minutes.
Rinse the Loosened Stain Away
Run cool or tepid water over the ink stain area to wash away the pigment. Then wash the garment normally, adding both oxygenated cleaner -- can be called oxygen bleach or all-fabric bleach -- and your usual laundry detergent to the water.
Tackle Temporary Tattoos
Use an oxygenated cleaner to remove temporary transfer tattoo ink from kids' clothing. Or try dabbing the area with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol or soaking it with alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If you've stained clothing with henna while creating a traditional mehndi, a ceremonial skin decoration, work quickly to get the stain right out or it will permanently discolor the fabric.
Hurry to Remove Henna
Make a thick paste from 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and just enough water to moisten it. Apply the paste to the stain and let it dry. If the stain doesn't brush off with the dried paste, mix baking soda and white vinegar to paste consistency and apply that to the stain. Let the paste dry, scrape it off and rinse the now-clean fabric with plain water. This only works immediately after a spill because henna is a dye that soaks into the fiber and sets rapidly.
Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in USA Today, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has a degree in theater, is a certified Prana Yoga instructor, and writes about fitness, performing and decorative arts, culture, sports, business and education .