Ink spot on white shirt Treat exploded ink stains on clothing as soon as possible for best results. Image Credit: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

When a pen explodes on your clothes, your temper might be ready to explode right along with it. Whether you had a pen in the back pocket of your favorite jeans or the front pocket of a T-shirt, the ink can look impossible to remove. Before you cut the ink-stained garment into rags, try some at-home remedies to get the ink out of the fabric.

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Things You’ll Need

  • Rags

  • Hairspray

  • Dry cleaning solvent

  • Heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent

  • All-fabric powdered bleach

Step 1

Blot the wet ink from the clothing with a clean rag. Continue blotting, moving to a clean part of the rag after each blot, until no more ink is transferring from the fabric to the rag.

Step 2

Spray hairspray onto the ink spots. Blot with a clean rag to remove the ink. Continue applying hairspray, then blotting until no more ink is coming off the fabric.

Step 3

Sponge the remaining ink stains with dry cleaning solvent. Then drizzle heavy-duty liquid laundry detergent onto the spots and rub it in with your fingers.

Step 4

Wash the garment as usual. Take it out of the wash and let it air-dry. Do not place the item in the dryer until you're sure all of the ink is gone. Machine drying the garment may set in the ink.

Step 5

Soak the garment in water and all-fabric powdered bleach if any ink remains. Refer to the box of bleach for specific mixing instructions, as this will vary among products. Let the garment soak for a few hours before washing the garment as usual.


If the clothing is white and it’s safe to use chlorine bleach on the fabric, soak it in a solution of chlorine bleach and water, rather than all-fabric bleach. Refer to the bottle of bleach for specific mixing instructions. Soak the garment for no more than 15 minutes, then wash as usual. Other ways to remove exploded ink from clothing are to soak overnight in milk or rubbing alcohol. Dry cleaning solvent is sold at most hardware and home improvement stores.


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