How to Remove an Embroidery Pattern Stamp

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Things You'll Need

  • Laundry detergent

  • Embroidery hoop

  • Cotton swabs

  • Chlorine bleach (optional)

  • Undiluted 5 percent white vinegar

  • Rubber gloves

  • Methyl ethyl ketone (optional)

Image Credit: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Embroidery stamps are used to create patterns on fabric, so that the patterns can then be easily embroidered. Sometimes, a stamp has thick lines that remain visible even after the embroidery work is done, or the needleworker decides only to use part of the pattern, leaving part of the stamp visible. In many cases, the transfer ink used to stamp the pattern onto the fabric is designed to wash away under a good scrubbing.


Step 1

Immerse blue embroidery stamps in a sudsy mixture of warm water and gentle laundry detergent.

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Step 2

Scrub gently at problem areas with your fingers in order to activate the release property present in many older transfer inks, which were designed to wash out. This property can be inhibited by the age of the ink and certain fabric treatments, such as ironing, which can set the ink. Rinse and hang your fabric on a line to dry.

Step 3

Hoop the patterned area and use a cotton swab dipped in chlorine bleach to scrub it. Chlorine may affect the color-fastness of the fabric and any embroidery, so work very carefully in a controlled, small area to see if it works and causes no damage. Rinse the chlorine out completely and hang the fabric on a line to dry.


Step 4

Soak the fabric for 20 minutes in a mixture of a 1/2 cup undiluted 5 percent white vinegar and 1 gallon of lukewarm water. Remove the fabric immediately if you see color washing off. Rinse well and line dry.

Step 5

Dip a clean cotton swab in methyl ethyl ketone (immediately recap the can) and scrub the pattern. MEK works well to dissolve many types of ink. Keep an eye on the color fastness of the fabric and any embroidery. Rinse completely, launder with a gentle soap, rinse again and line dry.


Contact the manufacturer of your pattern if you are using a new transfer. Ask what method should be used to remove the pattern. When creating your own transfers, use an ink designed to wash out or disappear. For thick fabrics, it may be possible to remove thread at the pattern, however, this will weaken the fabric and should be a last resort.


Do not use graphite pencils when creating your own transfers, as they will not wash out.


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