How to Remove an Ink Stain From a Shirt

Ink stains on your shirt can happen easily with the accidental swipe of a pen. Most inks contain a permanent pigment that helps keep the ink on the surface where it's applied. While this is helpful on documents and papers, the last thing you want is a permanent ink stain on your shirt. To successfully remove an ink stain from your shirt, act fast and avoid rubbing and scrubbing, which will only spread the ink stain on your shirt.

When pens are kept in your shirt pocket you may end up with ink stains.
  1. Place your ink-stained shirt on a work surface with the ink stain facing up. Mix 1 tbsp. each of isopropyl alcohol and white vinegar in a bowl.

  2. Cotton swabs are the perfect-sized tool to tackle ink stains.
  3. Dip a cotton swab into the vinegar mixture. Swipe the solution onto the ink stain on your shirt. Dip a clean cotton swab into the vinegar solution and add more of it to the ink stain on your shirt, then allow the solution to sit on the ink stain for a couple of minutes.

  4. Sprinkle table salt all over the ink stain and vinegar solution. Gently rub the salt and solution into the ink stain on your shirt with your fingertip. Flush the site of the ink stain on your shirt with warm water, ensuring you rinse the vinegar and salt solution completely from your shirt.

  5. Pour a small amount of liquid laundry detergent onto the site of any remaining ink stain on your shirt. Rub the detergent into the fibers of the shirt, then launder according to directions. Make sure the ink stain has been completely removed before placing your shirt in the dryer.


  • Bring dry clean-only shirts to the dry cleaners right away for ink stain removal.