Who’d have thought that toothpaste, the product you use to clean your teeth, can remove inky splatters from clothes!
Yep, toothpaste’s slightly abrasive nature can remove those pesky ink stains for you.
Plus, it’s super easy to use this method, and you can work an inky blemish out of your outfit in mere minutes using this technique.
Ink has a habit of finding its way onto clothes when you least expect it to. And it also has a knack for staining light coloured clothes, so you have trouble hiding the unsightly stain from everyone!
So, whether you decided to write on your t-shirt by accident, or your fountain pen decided to leak all over your outfit, you need to know how to handle the mishap.
Follow the step-by-step guide below to get rid of the ink from your garment.
Things to Know About Removing Ink with Toothpaste
Although toothpaste has been used to treat stains for a number of years, it’s not always the best type of stain remover to use.
Why? It’s only really effective if it’s used immediately after an ink stain has appeared, and it cannot remove ink stains from all kinds of materials.
Plus, depending on what type of ink you’ve got over your clothes, the toothpaste may have little to no effect when it comes to cleaning it off the surface.
There are, arguably, far better ways to deal with ink stains, both new and old ones, that actually yield great results.
You can learn more about these later on, but for now, we’ll stick with using your everyday toothpaste!
If you do decide to use toothpaste on your clothes, check out these pointers:
- Don’t use gel-based toothpastes!
- Colourless toothpaste is what you need to use. Don’t pick anything that has colours running through it because this can discolour your item of clothing.
- Test first. Don’t assume that you can clean the ink off your garment using toothpaste, you must do a patch test first. Toothpaste doesn’t react well with all materials and colours, so you need to test the toothpaste out on a discreet patch of material before you use it to treat the ink stain.
- Act fast! The quicker you react to the ink stain, the better your chances are of removing it from your outfit using toothpaste. If you leave the stain to age, toothpaste won’t be able to remove the ink for you.
- Don’t scrub the ink stain as this makes it harder to remove.
- Don’t dry an item of clothing until you’ve removed the entire ink stain.
How to Remove Ink from Clothes Using Toothpaste
Ink stains can be a little frustrating to move, but with a little elbow grease, a fast response from you, and some toothpaste you can remove the inky blotch from your item of clothing with ease.
Note: This method isn’t necessarily suitable for delicate materials, like silk and wool.
In addition to this, this method isn’t going to work on aged stains. To clean aged ink stains, you should look into using one of the alternative treatments that are listed below.
Tools you’ll need:
- Cotton cloths/paper towels
- Cold water
- Laundry detergent
- Washing machine
Steps to follow:
- Blot the ink up with a neutral-coloured cotton cloth/paper towel. Remember to blot gently you don’t want to drive the ink deeper into the material.
- Grab your toothpaste (don’t use one that contains dyes).
- Dab a small amount of toothpaste onto a discreet inner seam on your item.
- Wait a few minutes to see what happens. If nothing happens, no damage or discolouration, for example, continue with this method. If you see any sort of damage, stop what you’re doing immediately!
- Cover the entire ink stain in toothpaste.
- Gently massage the toothpaste into the stain, but be very delicate when you’re doing this.
- Wait a few minutes for the toothpaste to start breaking down the ink stain, so it can be removed from the surface.
- Hold the garment under the cold water tap, and rinse all the toothpaste off the item.
- Inspect the garment. If the ink stain is still there, repeat Steps 5 to 8 multiple times until the stain goes.
- When the stain has gone, cover the treated area with some laundry detergent, and launder the garment according to its care label. Remember to add detergent to the washing machine too!
- Dry the item of clothing when you know for sure that the ink stain has gone.
Other Ways to Remove Ink Stains from Clothes
If the method above hasn’t worked out quite how you’d planned, you should try one of the alternative treatments below.
There are a variety of alternatives to choose from, and in some cases, you might have to use more than one of them to work the ink stain off your item of clothing.
If you’ve tried a plethora of treatments and none of them have worked for you, it’s time to take your ink-stained item to a dry cleaning shop.
A quick online search will bring up dry cleaners near you! All you need to do is pick a reputable company to help you out.
The perks of taking your item to a dry cleaning shop are:
- They have access to different cleaning supplies, so they can treat your item more effectively.
- They have access to different cleaning tools, so they can target the stain better.
- They’ll have a wealth of experience in treating ink stains.
- They’ll be able to care for delicate materials, like silk and wool.
- They can treat priceless heirlooms and vintage pieces for you.
- They can take care of your ‘dry clean only’ garments.
Of course, you will have to pay a little extra perhaps to put your clothes through this kind of treatment. But it is arguably safer to do this, rather than risk treating your garment at home, and ruining it during the cleaning process.
There are a few homemade remedies on this list that you can try out, but if you, like a lot of people, like to buy an off-the-shelf product that has been designed to deal with the issue at hand, you can do so.
There are several options you can look into, here are a few to get you started:
- Dr. Beckmann Stain Devils Pen & Ink is a fast-acting stain remover that starts to break down ink stains in three minutes! It’s a very user-friendly stain remover and it can eradicate lots of different types of inks from clothes, as well as, crayon blemishes!
- HG Stain Away 6 starts to break down ink stains in about 10 minutes, can take out ink stains on several different types of surfaces, and can remove the marks caused by a variety of different inks.
Hairspray (containing alcohol)
Hairspray can be used to remove ink from clothes. However, you’ve got to make sure that you buy a hairspray that contains alcohol if you plan on trying out this technique.
It’s the alcohol in the hairspray that actually breaks down the ink, so without it the hairspray will have very little effect on the inky patch!
To use hairspray to treat an ink stain you must coat the entire stain in hairspray, wait, blot the area with a clean cloth, and then continuously repeat this entire process until you’ve removed the ink from the garment.
Bicarbonate of soda
Bicarbonate of soda can remove ink from clothes sometimes. But in a lot of cases, it just isn’t strong enough to remove the entire blemish from the surface.
It is, however, a safe product that can be used in busy family homes!
To try this method, follow these steps:
- Dab at the ink stain with a clean cloth/paper towel to remove any excess ink, if you can.
- In a bowl mix some bicarbonate of soda with some water until you get a paste.
- Spread this mixture over the ink stain.
- Wait a few minutes.
- Grab a clean, neutral-coloured cloth, soak it in some cold water, wring it out and then start blotting the treated area.
- Continue to do this until you’ve removed the paste from the surface.
- Inspect the treated area and repeat the steps above, if need be.
Rubbing alcohol is by far the easiest solution to use when it comes to removing ink stains from clothes. And it is particularly good at removing pesky old ink splodges that have been forgotten about!
That being said, rubbing alcohol is quite strong and cannot be used on all materials, like delicate ones.
So, do a patch test before you try this method out on your clothing, and be very careful when handling this liquid.
Steps to follow:
- Pop some protective gloves on and open some windows for ventilation.
- Grab a neutral-coloured cotton cloth and start dabbing the ink stain, so you remove any excess ink.
- Turn your item inside out, so the inner seam is showing.
- Dab a small amount of rubbing alcohol directly onto the inner seam of your outfit using a cloth/cotton bud.
- Wait a few minutes to see if the rubbing alcohol has any effect on the material you need to treat.
- Continue with this method if there are no issues. Stop if you see any discolouration or damage.
- Slot an old towel up behind the stain – this’ll stop the rubbing alcohol and ink from penetrating through the material and staining the back of the item of clothing.
- Cover the entire stain in rubbing alcohol – gently blot the ink stain with a cloth that’s been dipped in rubbing alcohol.
- Grab a clean white cloth and start blotting the treated area.
- As you blot, you’ll notice the cloth changing colour as it picks up the ink from your item of clothing. Use a new patch of cloth each time you blot because if you don’t, you’ll reapply the ink to the treated area.
- Repeat Steps 8 and 10 until the whole stain has been removed.
- When the stain has gone, rinse the garment under cold water.
- Before washing the item, cover the treated area with some detergent.
- Pop the item inside the washing machine and launder it according to the washing instructions on the care label. Remember to add a normal dose of detergent to the machine!
- Check your item over for ink stains once it’s been washed. And if you do see a stain, treat the garment again!
- Dry the garment when you know it is no longer stained.
Bethan has a passion for exploring, reading, cooking and gardening! When she’s not creating culinary delights for her family, she’s concocting potions to keep her house clean!