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How to Get Pen Ink Out of Clothes

March 14, 2023 3 min read

How to Get Pen Ink Out of Clothes

Hello, fellow fountain pen afficionados. It’s time for another immensely helpful Blesket Blog. Now that you’ve found the perfect fountain pen ink, it’s now time to tackle another issue most fountain pen users face at some point in their lives – getting ink stains out of various different types of clothing.

Never mind how the ink landed up on your clothing in the first place, the immediate problem at hand is how to get the stains off without ruining yet another outfit. Let’s start with a few don’ts:


  • Wait until the stain is dry to tackle it.
  • Rub the stain into the clothing in an attempt to get it off.
  • Ignore the usual care instructions for the fabric.
  • Forget to test your stain removing agent on an inconspicuous bit of your clothing first.

Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all solution to getting ink stains off a piece of clothing. The type of fountain pen ink does matter as does the type of clothing. Permanent inks can be hard to get off clothing and you may need a special permanent marker remover to do it. Thankfully though most other fountain pen inks are water-based inks that make stains easier to remove. You can tackle most stains with regular household items like rubbing alcohol, dish soap, vinegar, hand sanitizer and hairspray.

Read on for our top tips on how to get fountain pen ink off various types of fabric.

  1. Cotton:

Spray a bit of hairspray on the stain to loosen it. Then soak the garment in a solution of 1/2 teaspoon dishwashing detergent and one tablespoon white vinegar diluted in approximately one liter of warm water. Leave it in the solution for about half an hour. Rinse with clean water and repeat if the stain acts stubborn. If it still persists, then let it dry and then dab the stain gently with a soft, absorbent, clean cloth dampened with alcohol. Move to clean parts of the cloth as the stain transfers.

  1. Silk:

Been practising your calligraphy in your favourite silk kimono? Thankfully, getting ink out of silk isn’t very hard, you just have to be really careful with the material. Take a clean white cloth or paper towel and blot gently with cold water. Change the section of the cloth or the paper towel as the stain lifts. Finish by blotting the area with warm water. You can also try gently spritzing the area with hairspray and continue blotting if the stain still remains after a while. Finish with warm water. A third option is to dip a soft toothbrush in a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar and gently scrub the stain before blotting. 

  1. Jeans:

Oh, those ink stains on your jeans aren’t deliberate? Take your jeans off and start blotting at the stain with a clean cloth or paper towel. If the stain has dried, add a few drops of water and try blotting it out. Place a clean paper towel under the stained area of your jeans, add a few drops of rubbing alcohol to the stain. Scrub gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush before rinsing with cold water. Then wash your jeans on a cold cycle and air dry. 

  1. Wool:

Just start wearing all black woollies. Wool can be notoriously hard to get ink stains off of. The key is to tackle the stain while it’s still fresh. Try lifting the stain with a clean white cloth soaked in cold water. You can also try spraying with hairspray before blotting with warm water. In extreme cases, try gently scrubbing on a equal parts white vinegar and warm water solution with a soft toothbrush before blotting the stain with cold water.

  1. Polyester or Nylon Clothing:

Make sure you test for colourfastness for this one. Stretch the stained area over the mouth of a jar or glass. Using a dropper, drip rubbing alcohol through the stain. Rinse or wash the garment following its care instructions. Make sure the stain is completely gone before you air dry or repeat the process again.

You can use similar methods to remove ballpoint pen ink from these fabrics too. However, it might take a little longer. Leather requires a special leather cleaner, while suede is probably best left to the professionals (aka dry cleaners). 

Blesket Canada offers a wide variety of fountain pens with low or no spill ink filling systems to help prevent mishaps. Whatever your fountain pen expertise, Blesket has the refill, brand, ink and nib you are looking for. Visit us in our brick-and-mortar store in Brampton, Ontario, or browse our entire catalogue of fountain pens and writing accessories on our website.

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