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Video:Remove Ink Stains

with Jonathon Stewart

Removing ink stains can be a tough proposition, especially if you're dealing with permanent ink. But try these tips, and even the toughest stain doesn't stand a chance.See Transcript

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Transcript:Remove Ink Stains

Hi, I'm Jonathon Stewart for About.com Home and Garden with today's 90-second quick tip.

Ink stains are the granddaddies and mothers of all stains, amongst the toughest to remove. Period.

The most important thing to remember is to always keep pens and markers away from your clothes - it's that simple. When it comes to ink stains, just avoid them altogether, and you'll be all set. Got it? Crap.

Blot the Ink Stain With Water

The first thing to do with ink stains is to determine what type of ink you're dealing with.

If your ink is water-based (which is common among ball-point or most writing pens), simply take a clean cloth and moisten it with cold water, then blot your ink stain carefully, over an old, but clean and dry, towel.

Check the Cleaning Tag

Ink stains are of the variety that you should not rub or scrub, which would push the ink deeper into the fibers of your fabric.

As always, check the cleaning tags of your clothes before you do anything, and know that if you're dealing with a delicate fabric or a color that's likely to run, you may end up doing more damage than good as our tactics get more aggressive.

Apply Detergent to the Ink Stain

After blotting with water, apply a small amount of eco-friendly liquid detergent, and allow the stain to soak for about five to 10 minutes. Then wash normally in the hottest water the garment will allow.

Never put any garment in the dryer until your stain is completely removed, unless you're especially artistic and happen to like the designs you've stained into your clothes and want to keep them there forever.

When to Use Rubbing Alcohol

If you're dealing with permanent ink, as in many magic markers, colored markers, or Sharpies, apply the same technique, but instead of water, try using rubbing alcohol.

Blot over your dry towel with your cloth until the stain is completely gone.

Spray Hair Spray on the Ink Stain

Alcohol is the key ingredient in another popular ink-removing product: hair spray. If the alcohol doesn't do the trick all by itself, or if you're out and about and all you've got is a little AquaNet, give it a shot!

Holding the container a few inches away, try spraying the stain directly with your hair spray. In many cases, the stain will lift and simply vanish before your eyes. In either case, launder as usual afterwards.

Last-Ditch Efforts to Remove an Ink Stain

If you're still having trouble, you might be heading towards a sad ending for your permanent-ink-stained garment, especially if it's of a fabric or color that can't be bleached.

I guess they call it permanent ink for a reason. But if you're up for going to the mat, some other great, natural or relatively eco-friendly solutions include trying lemon juice, oxygen-based cleaners, or the most powerful natural bleacher around: the sun.

Combined with a little lemon juice, you may just find that no stain is a match for the giant flaming ball of fire that keeps us all warm.

Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at homegarden.about.com.
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