Can Paint Thinner Be Used to Remove Ink?

Paint thinner can be used to remove ink stains.
Paint thinner can be used to remove ink stains. (Image: stain - splat image by from

Ink stains are difficult to remove, but paint thinner could be the solution. Before applying, it´s important to identify the type of ink stain, chemical being used, as well as the surface to be treated.

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Paint Thinner Dangers

Modern paint thinners are either turpentine, acetone or toluene based. Acetone-based thinners are the least dangerous to handle. When using any chemical, caution should be exercised; gloves should be worn, and the product should be applied in a well-ventilated area.

When It Works

Paint thinner can be safely used on non-porous surfaces, as well as untreated wood. Ink stamps on lumber can be removed by pouring thinner onto the surface, allowing it to set, followed by a light sanding. Thinners may also work on laminate surfaces, but experts recommend testing the finish first.

When It Doesn´t

Paint thinner is not recommended for stains on any fabric, porous material or human hands. Instead, a pre-treatment of detergent, followed by a wash in hot water is the best method for clothing. Lemon juice or rubbing alcohol is a safer way to remove stains on skin.


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