How to Remove Printer Ink from Clothes

Have you ever spilled ink on your clothes? It’s not only embarrassing, but it can also be costly to replace the item or dry clean it, especially if it was one of your favorites. Luckily, there are ways to remove printer ink from clothes so you don’t have to buy a new outfit every time you make a mistake at work. All you need are some common household items, and you’ll be able to save yourself from spending extra money on ink and dry-cleaning bills! Continue reading to learn how to remove printer ink from clothes.

Things you’ll need

Rubbing alcohol, newspaper, and a paper towel. Gently blot your clothing with rubbing alcohol using a clean white cloth or paper towel. Apply rubbing alcohol in an even motion over fabric and dab lightly until mark fades. If stain persists, soak garment in soapy water and launder as usual. To prevent stains from setting, iron clothes while still damp (test an inconspicuous area first). Don’t use rubbing alcohol on leather goods or fabrics that may be sensitive to acetone or non-water-based cleaning products. Avoid applying rubbing alcohol directly to garments or other surfaces. Doing so could cause discoloration. Instead, place a small amount of rubbing alcohol into a separate container before dipping cloth into it for application. Repeat process, if necessary, until ink is removed completely. For best results, perform treatment immediately after ink has dried and avoid wearing stained garments for extended periods of time.

Test on an inconspicuous area first

Before you try to get printer ink out of your clothes, make sure that you are dealing with printer ink and not, say, superglue. Check out an inconspicuous area first—the tag of a garment usually works well—and wait a few minutes. If it’s solid white, then it’s probably printer ink (in which case keep reading). If there is any color or stain present at all, then it may be something else entirely and you’ll want to leave whatever solution you try on your clothing alone. Most likely, however, you’ll come across only printer ink and we can move on.

Make sure that you’re working in a well-ventilated area: getting aerosolized printer ink into your lungs is generally considered less than ideal, so don’t forget to open some windows and turn on a fan if you have one. No need to put anyone’s health at risk here. Of course, wear gloves as well; if you’re using bleach (see below), it will absolutely destroy skin tissue, so no taking chances by leaving fingerprints all over everything either. Finally, never mix chemicals together without making absolutely certain they’re compatible: mixing bleach with ammonia creates chlorine gas, for example, so stay safe and find yourself two different bottles for two different processes.

Apply rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol will help loosen and break down ink, making it easier to remove. Use a cotton swab or clean, lint-free cloth and rub gently but firmly in a circular motion for about 30 seconds at a time. This is similar to how you would use lemon juice (in Step 1) and may also cause discoloration of your garment, so be prepared for that when you’re doing it! Repeat as necessary; depending on how much ink there is on your clothing item, you may have to do multiple rounds. Allow it sit for 1-2 minutes after each round of rubbing alcohol; if any black spots remain (which can happen if only one layer of ink has been removed), proceed with washing in laundry detergent. Wash by hand in warm water with gentle soap or by machine. Dry thoroughly, preferably on low heat. Inspect: If you still see some residue from printer ink after drying, repeat steps 2 and 3 until no more remains. When all residue is gone, wash again to ensure thorough removal of all traces of alcohol—this will prevent color loss and damage caused by evaporation during subsequent washes—and allow to dry completely before wearing again.

Rinse with warm water

Although it’s preferable to let your stained clothing air dry, you can use a towel or squeeze out excess water if necessary. Place your garment on a white towel and add warm water that is equal in temperature to that of your tap. It should be cool enough not to set additional stains, but warm enough so that any remaining ink will start bubbling up. Work with one area at a time and wash your fabric using cold water if more ink needs removing. You may need to repeat steps 1-3 for multiple areas depending on how much ink has been spilled on your clothing. Use half of your usual detergent amount because soap can set new stains on top of old ones and could make rinsing even more difficult. Dry your clothes as normal after washing them. Wash all items separately until you are sure all traces of ink have been removed. If there is still some ink left over, try rubbing an ice cube on affected areas before laundering again. If ice doesn’t work, then put some vinegar into a spray bottle and mist onto affected areas before washing again. Let your clothing air dry after each attempt to remove ink stains since heat from drying machines can set permanent stains!

If the stain remains, consult a professional

If your clothing is new, you may want to consult a professional. In some cases, printer ink has seeped deep into fabric. If so, a cleaning service may be able to get it out for you—however there’s no guarantee that they will be able to remove it without damaging your garment. At that point, you might as well just buy another piece of clothing and throw away your old one. It’s better than ruining an expensive item. However, if your clothes are older or not important enough to spend money on, try using a method below. You never know; it could work!


The best way to prevent printer ink from staining clothes is to use a printer with ink that won’t come off in the wash. Most inkjet printers use pigment-based inks that won’t come off in the wash, but some use dye-based inks. To keep dye-based ink from getting on your clothes, you can use protective clothing, use a laser printer, or use a yellow highlighter to mark the areas where you don’t want the ink to go. If you do get printer ink on your clothes, you can follow these steps to remove it.

Hussain Ali
Hussain Ali is a professional blogger, writer, and affiliate marketer who loves to write about the latest gadgets and electronics reviews. He has also worked with a few renowned brands. He regularly shares his knowledge on his blog and also on some other international websites as well.
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