Cleaning Tips, Guides & Resources

How to Get Ink Out of Clothes: Different Methods for Different Fabrics

how to get ink out of clothes custom graphic

If you thought an ink stain on your clothes meant the end of the clothing item altogether, you’re not the only one! Most people believe ink stains on clothing are impossible to get out and therefore, don’t bother to even try removing them. Well, when the piece of clothing in question is an old, shabby t-shirt that probably needs to be tossed anyway, there’s no point in worrying about it. But what happens when you find ugly ink stains on clothes that you love and are not ready to part with? That’s when you find yourself here, looking for the best way to get ink out of your clothes!

Unfortunately, regardless of what colour the ink is, there is no one magical method to remove ink stains from all types of fabrics. This is because a cleaning solution that is effective on one type of material may be damaging to another. So, the first rule of getting out ink stains from clothing is to make sure that the method is fabric-appropriate.

With that in mind, MaidForYou is sharing five cleaning methods to remove ink stains from different types of fabrics. Read on.

How to Remove Ink Stains from Jeans

Ink stain on the backpocket of faded denim jeans

Denim is a pretty tough material but that doesn’t mean you can use just about any cleaning method on it to remove an ink stain. The good news, however, is that getting out ink stains from your jeans is very quick and simple to follow! Take a look below.


  • Start by placing a clean folded cloth or towel underneath the stained area of the denim to prevent the ink stain from spreading to another part of the jeans.
  • Use a bottle cap or dropper to soak the stain with rubbing alcohol (90% isopropyl alcohol).
  • Take a cotton ball or swab, and blot the stain repeatedly until it vanishes.
  • Rinse off the affected area in cold water.

How to Remove Ink Stains from Silk

blue pen on its side dripping ink onto white fabric

As one of the most delicate fabrics used to make clothing, when a pen mark is found on a silk item, it is often looked at as a lost cause. However, this needn’t be the case because, just like denim, ink stains on silk can be removed using the exact same method

Should the stain not come out entirely after dabbing it with rubbing alcohol, dry the patch with a blowdryer, and try the method below to remove the remainder of the stain.


  • Combine 1 part water to 3 parts clear liquid dish soap in a large bowl or basin. Stir it gently to mix the ingredients without creating too many suds.
  • Place the ink-stained part of the fabric in the solution to soak it. Ensure that the stain is completely submerged for 15 minutes.
  • Take the garment out and immediately rinse it under hot running water. Do this until the soap has been thoroughly removed.

How to Remove Ink Stains from Cotton

person with blue rubber gloves writing with a blue pen on a black and white cotton cloth

Keeping clicker or retractable pens in your cotton shirt pocket is never a good idea because at some point, you end up forgetting to click it back up and, low and behold, you’ve got an unsightly ink stain to get rid of! Nevertheless, if you act swiftly, you can get rid of pen marks on cotton clothing in under two minutes! Read on to learn how.


  • Cover the stain with hand sanitiser. 
  • Dip a clean, soft toothbrush in a bowl of cold water, and brush the fabric from side to side and top to bottom using small yet firm strokes. Do this repeatedly until the stain lightens or vanishes.
  • Rinse the brush in the bowl of water at intervals, and repeat the steps if needed.
  • Launder the clothing item in a regular wash cycle thereafter.

How to Remove Ink Stains from Leather

person removing ink stain from khaki coloured leather jacket

From leather jackets to leather purses; an ink stain is the last thing you want to see on this particular fabric because it requires special care and cleaning methods to begin with. Nevertheless, when you need to get ink out of leather clothes, there are many commercial products you can use to get the job done safely and effectively. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the label. 

If the stain is small and relatively fresh, you can try removing it by gently scrubbing it with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. This is especially effective if a leather protectant has been applied over the material which makes it glossier and less prone to permanent stains. 

How to Remove Ink Stains from Suede

blue ink on light brown suede handbag

Like leather, clothing items made from suede cannot be cleaned using just any ordinary method. They require dry cleaning and should never be machine-washed unless the care instructions on the label indicate that it is safe to do so. When dealing with ink stains on suede clothes, you can remove the pen marks by using a dry cleaning solvent, or a specially formulated stain remover for suede. 

Alternatively, a quick, spot treatment that might prove effective if the ink has not had to too much time to sit includes the following steps:

  • Dab the stain with a paper towel to lift some of the ink (if it is still wet).
  • Moisten a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and rub the ink stain very gently. Observe the cleaning tool; if some of the ink has been transferred to it, use a clean side or fresh piece and continue until the stain disappears.

NOTE: Test this stain removal method on an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it does not damage, stain, or discolour the material.

So, before you run over to the dry cleaners in a state of panic over an ink stain on your clothes, do a little research and you will find that, more often than not, there is a simple, much more affordable way to do it yourself! We hope you find these tried and tested cleaning methods to get out ink from clothes as helpful as we did!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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