How to Remove Ballpoint Pen Ink From a Shirt

Things You'll Need

  • Old washcloth

  • Hairspray

  • Paper towels

  • Nail polish

  • Clear liquid detergent

Remove ink stains from clothing with household ingredients.

The sight of an ink stain on your clothing may freak you out at first. You can remove the ballpoint ink stain with common household ingredients and salvage the clothing if you treat the stain immediately. Ink stains are common, especially when a ballpoint pen explodes in a shirt pocket or when you wash a pen with your clothes. Once you notice an ink stain, you need to remove it before you place the garment in the dryer. Heat will cause the ink stain to become permanent.

Use Hairspray

Step 1

Place an old washcloth underneath the stain.

Step 2

Spray the hairspray directly onto the stain. Cover the stain completely with the hairspray.

Step 3

Allow the hairspray to set for two to three minutes. Do not allow it to dry out.

Step 4

Rub the ink stain with a paper towel. The stain will begin to lift from the fabric.

Step 5

Spray the ink stain with the hairspray again. Continue applying the hairspray and rubbing it with a paper towel to remove the stain.

Step 6

Rinse the area with warm water. Launder according to the care label. Hang the clothing up to dry instead of placing it in your dryer to ensure that you removed the stain.

Use Nail Polish

Step 1

Apply nail polish to the ink stain.

Step 2

Add two to three drops of clear liquid detergent.

Step 3

Rub the stain between your fingers.

Step 4

Apply the nail polish again if the ink stain remains visible.

Step 5

Rinse the ink stain under warm water. Launder the clothing according to the care label. Hang the clothing up to dry.


Use other common household ingredients to remove ink stains. Soak the clothing in milk overnight and then launder as usual. Apply toothpaste to the material, but it must be non-gel. Rub the toothpaste into the stain and rinse with water. Make a paste of 2 parts vinegar and 3 parts cornstarch and apply it to the stain. Allow the paste to dry and then wash the clothing.