How to Remove Printer Ink Stains from Clothes


The inks used in most inkjet printers are water soluble, so you should be able to remove the ink stains from clothing. If you are the victim of a stain at home and can switch into laundry mode quickly, remove the inked garment and deal with it immediately. White fabric can be treated with cold water and bleach before washing, while colored fabrics do better with cold water and sudsy ammonia. You should be able to remove most of the stain using one of these two cleansers and then launder as usual. If, however, it's the office printer that gets you, you'll have to deal with the situation a bit differently.

Things You'll Need

  • Cold water
  • Bleach (optional)
  • Sudsy ammonia (optional)
  • Paper towels
  • Hairspray or rubbing alcohol
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Toothbrush

Step 1: Remove What You Can

As soon as the stain occurs, dab at it with a damp paper towel to remove as much ink as you can. Be sure to dab at the ink but don't rub it, as rubbing will only spread it around. When you're finished, allow the stain to air dry.

Step 2: Sandwich the Stain

If you're at home and can change clothes, remove the garment and saturate the stain with hair spray or rubbing alcohol. Once it's wet, press the stain between two paper towels, with one on each side of the garment. Press on the towel that is on the back of the stained garment to force the stain into the towel on the front. Lift as much of the stain as you can in this manner.


    • Move or change the towels frequently during this process so that you are always working with a clean surface. You don't want to press ink back into the garment once you've removed it.
    • This method of stain removal will work for most printer inks. Some
      printers, however, use pigment-based inks which can be harder to remove. Acetone-based nail polish remover will usually eliminate pigment inks, but it should always be tested on an inconspicuous part of the garment first as it will damage some fabrics. If that doesn't work, consult a professional dry cleaner.

Step 3: Pre-Treat the Stain

Pour some liquid laundry detergent onto the stain and gently scrub the area with an old toothbrush to lift the stain.

Step 4: Wash the Garment

Wash the clothing in cold water immediately after pre-treating. After washing, line dry or dry flat to avoid setting any remaining ink stain in the dryer. If you can still see any ink when the garment is dry, pre-treat and wash it again.


  • Always use cold water when dealing with an ink stain as warm or hot water will set the stain.

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