How to Get Ballpoint Ink Out of Clothes

Some stains on clothing can be removed with a simple wash in the washing machine. Others, like ink, require additional treatment to remove. Ink often leaves a permanent stain if allowed to set in, but can also be removed with common household items.

Ink can leave a difficult stain.
  1. Wet a clean sponge. Lightly blot the ink-stained area with the sponge, frequently moving to a clean area of the sponge until no more ink is absorbed by the sponge.
  2. Allow the clothing to air dry indoors.
  3. Spray the ink-stained area thoroughly with aerosol hair spray. Place one dry paper towel over the ink-stained area and another paper towel inside the clothing underneath the ink-stained area. Lightly press on the second paper towel with your fingers in short, dabbing motions to soak up the remaining ink stain. Allow hairspray to dry.
  4. Spray the ink-stained area again with the hairspray. Repeat dabbing process with two new paper towels. Allow the area to dry.
  5. Spray the ink stain with a stain-remover treatment. Allow the treatment to soak in to the stain for 15 to 30 minutes.
  6. Wash the garment in a washing machine with laundry detergent and the hottest water that is safe for the fabric.
  7. Remove clothing from the washer and check for stains. If the ink stain has been removed, dry as normal. If the stain is still present, repeat steps.

Things You Will Need

  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain remover
  • Paper towels
  • Sponges
  • Aerosol hairspray


  • Do not dry the fabric in the sun or the dryer while the stain is still present. Applying heat to the fabric will cause the stain to become permanent.
  • Be careful to pat the stain lightly. Rubbing the stain can grind it in to the fabric and cause a permanent stain.

About the Author

Amelia Jenkins has more than eight years of professional writing experience, covering financial, environmental and travel topics. Her work has appeared on MSN and various other websites and her articles have topped the best-of list for sites like Bankrate and Kipplinger. Jenkins studied English at Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

  • Black ink pen on the spiral book image by Elnur from Fotolia.com