A fountain pen and bottle of ink.

How to Get Ink Out of Clothes

A rainy weekend inside the house can only mean one thing for creative kids – drawing time! But as all Mums and Dads know, once those little ones get bored of colouring on paper, they might start to try to colour on each other, which can leave you wondering how to remove ink from clothes come laundry day. The great news is that ink stain removal is actually pretty easy once you know how, so the next time the kids are running wild with felt tips in their hand, don’t panic! Just take a deep breath and read these tips (and keep some Persil Powercaps capsules close at hand!).  

How to Remove Ink Stains from Kids’ Pens

Fortunately for busy parents, most kids’ colouring pens are made from water-based inks, which means that they’re a breeze to remove. The secret? Tackle water-based inks with water to flush away the stain. If you need to know how to get ink stains out of clothes, here’s a step-by-step guide to bringing back those natural colours:  

  • If the stain is new and the ink is still a bit wet, take a clean cloth (microfiber cloths are ideal as they won’t shred) and gently blot the area to try and transfer some of the ink from the clothing to the cloth. Never wipe or scrub as this could spread the stain.
  • Measure out some Persil liquid into the handy Stain Eraser Ball, pour onto the stain, and allow it to soak in deep down into the fibres of the clothing. This will help to loosen the more stubborn ink, making it easier to flush out in the washing machine. For more information on using the Stain Eraser Ball, check out our handy guide.
  • Using another clean microfiber cloth, gently blot once more to remove as much ink as possible before popping into the wash. A quick 30 degree wash is all it takes.

We often think that washing at higher temperatures is best for removing ink stains, but with the right products, like Persil Bio liquid, 30 degrees is all it takes to help get your clothes looking, smelling, and feeling clean.

Water-based ink stains are simply flushed out by the water in the washing machine, helped along by the cleaning power of great laundry detergents.  

How to Get Rid of Ink Stains from Markers

Marker pens are made a bit differently to kids’ colouring pens, and they often contain oil-based inks which makes them last longer. For school projects, these types of pen are fantastic, but if one accidentally leaks in the pocket of your child’s school uniform, you might think there’s another shirt ruined – think again! Although removing oil-based inks does take a little more care and attention, it’s anything but impossible. Here’s what to do:  

  • First, blot the area in exactly the same way you would for removing a water-based ink stain. Use a microfiber cloth and dab the area to try and get rid of as much of the discolouration as possible. Remember not to wipe or scrub to prevent spreading.
  • Apply methylated spirits – it’s a good ink stain remover, helping to break down oils in the ink that make it attach to the fibres of the clothing. You can pick methylated spirits up from your local chemist. Keep the windows open and wear gloves to protect from chemicals – and always remember to test any product on a small area of your garment first. For specific guidance on using methylated spirits to treat ink stains on different fabrics, check out the stain removal section.
  • Pop one or two Persil Powercaps washing capsules in the washing machine and add the clothing on top – just follow the directions on the label for the correct amount, or check out our dosing guide. The methylated spirits will help loosen the ink particles, while the stain removal technology in the capsules will tackle the discolouration head on. Remember to keep chemicals stored in a high up or locked cupboard, out of the reach of children.

When washing oil-based inks out of clothing, set your washing machine to a full 40 degree wash, which is the best temperature for dealing with oils and grease. Oils and grease have relatively low melting points, so even turning your wash up by just 10 degrees is enough to loosen the ink particles and make it easier for the detergent to do its job efficiently. 

Top tip: Stain removal doesn't have to come at the cost of fresh-smelling clothes and well-treated fabric. If you pick a good all-round detergent, like Persil Powercaps, you can have it all. The Triple Action formula gives you stain removal, clothing care, and freshness in one handy cap.

 Next time a rainy day keeps the kids inside, don’t be afraid to get the pens out. Now that you know how to remove ink quickly and easily from clothes, it doesn’t matter if your little ones go a bit wild with their creativity! Check out our Kids’ Activities section for inspiration for fun arts & crafts to keep them entertained.

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