How to Get Ink Out of a Knit Sweater

Lisa Finn

When a stain shows up on your favorite knit sweater, your initial thought is, "Oh, no!" However, today's super-strength, stain-remover products and natural home remedies are sure to get even the toughest stains, such as ink, out of knit clothing.

Stretch the cable knits apart when removing a stain.

With the proper techniques and a little patience, your knit sweater becomes ink free without a trip to the dry-cleaners.

  1. Grab a paper towel, tissue or any disposible cloth immediately within reach. Dampen it with lukewarm water.

  2. Blot the ink gently, making sure to use a clean section of the towel each time. Be careful not to touch any other part of the sweater with the ink-stained towel.

  3. Dip a cotton swab into a bottle of isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Place the swab onto the stain and slowly rub the ink in one direction. Refrain from rubbing the stain in circles. Add more alcohol and change the cotton swab as needed. Other useful cleaning agents include hairspray, ammonia or nail polish remover.

  4. Mix equal parts water and baking soda in a small bowl. Stir the solution together with a spoon. Pour the solution directly onto the stain and wait five minutes. Blot the stain using a paper towel or cloth.

  5. Rinse a clean towel under warm water and wring out most of the water. Squeeze the rest over the stain. Wipe the baking soda solution clean.

  6. Turn the knit sweater inside out. Set the washing machine to a cold, gentle wash. Add detergent to the water. Place the knit sweater in the machine. When the cycle is finished, slip your hand into the sweater and turn it right-side out.

  7. Examine the ink stain spot. If there is any ink left over, spray a commercial ink stain remover directly onto the stain. Let it sit for a few minutes and follow the manufacturer's directions. You may need to immediately wash the sweater again. When the cycle is finished, lay the sweater on a flat, clean surface. Spread out the arms and smooth out the body. Allow it to dry over night.

  8. Tip

    If you can take the sweater off to clean it, place a paper towel inside when rubbing the ink stain. This ensures the ink will not spread to the other side of the sweater. When the ink transfers onto the paper towel, use a new area of the towel every time you rub. This allows the stain to have a clean exit spot.


    Mixing some stain removers together, such as bleach and ammonia, can form toxic fumes. Refrain from putting the sweater in the dryer. Heat will set the stain deeper into the yarn.