How to Remove Pen Marks from Clothes

Whether a new ballpoint pen leaked in the front pocket of your dress shirt, or a fancy ink pen exploded under the pressure changes on an airplane, splattering your slacks, pen marks can appear sloppy and unsightly.

Pen marks are unsightly but relatively easy to remove.Pen marks are unsightly but relatively easy to remove.
As long as your pen wasn't filled with permanent ink and the stained garment isn't silk or leather, pen marks can typically be removed with a few simple household ingredients.
Use a scrap piece of cloth to soak up the ink as you clean the stain.

Place your stained garment on a flat surface. Slip a piece of clean cloth, such as a discarded handkerchief, an unmatched sock, or a sewing scrap, under the stained area.

Apply glyercin to the stained area with a cotton swab.

Apply glycerin to the stain with a cotton swab. (You can substitute hairspray for glycerin.) Rub the glycerin into the fabric gently, covering the stained area. Mix a few drops of gentle laundry detergent with a small amount of water in a bowl. Daub the solution onto the stain with a fresh cotton swab. Continue to swab on the solution until a small lather builds.

Wash the treated garment in cold water with an enzyme-based detergent.

Set your washing machine on a cold cycle. Add an enzyme-based laundry soap and launder the treated garment. Check the garment after the wash cycle to make sure the stain has been successfully removed. Repeat the process if the stain is still evident.

Things You Will Need

  • Scrap cloth
  • Glycerin or hairspray
  • Cotton swabs
  • Bowl
  • Gentle laundry detergent
  • Washing machine
  • Enzyme-based laundry detergent

About the Author

Katharine Mitchell began writing in 1994. She has has written for "Fodor's," "The Insider's Guide to Beijing," "Time Out", "City Weekend" and Matador. She attended the Summer Literary Seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia. Mitchell has a Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the University of Montana and a Master of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi.