How to Get a Stain Out With Acetone

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Acetone can be used to remove pesky ink stains from shirts and other garments.
Acetone can be used to remove pesky ink stains from shirts and other garments. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Stubborn stains can ruin furniture and clothing. Several products help remove stains, but some products are ineffective against ink stains. Ink from a pen can leave a black, blue or red mark on sheets, shirts, pants and couches. Rather than deem these surfaces as ruined, attempt removal of stains with acetone. You can purchase acetone from home improvement stores, or use an acetone-based nail polish remover.

Things You'll Need

  • Towel
  • Cotton swab

Turn on the water faucet and rinse the ink stain, or use a spray bottle to wet the stain.

Grab an old towel. Lay this towel on a hard surface, such as a cabinet or table. Take the stained fabric and position this fabric over the towel.

Apply acetone to a cotton swab. Dip a cotton swab or other item, such as a paper towel or tissue, into the chemical.

Test the acetone on an area of the fabric. Acetone can damage acetate and rayon fabrics. Dab the acetone or nail polish remover on a corner inside of the fabric. Wait a few minutes to see if the chemical damages or dissolves the fabric.

Blot acetone on the fabric. If the chemical does not damage the fabric, re-apply acetone or nail polish remover to the cotton swab and blot the ink stain. Check to ensure that the towel under the fabric is in place before blotting. The towel will absorb some of the ink stain.

Rinse the fabric after blotting. Repeat steps as needed to remove any remaining traces of ink.

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