How to remove pen ink stains from ballpoint and water-based pens

  1. First and most importantly, fresh ink stains on clothes are much simpler to get rid of than ones that have dried. Whenever possible, act fast to ensure that the following pen stain removal tips work effectively, Blot the stain – Head to the kitchen sink, then grab a clean cloth or an old towel and lay the clothing with the pen stain on top. Next, pour cold water over the blemished area and continue to gently dab at the stain with a separate clean cloth. The goal is that most of the pen stains will transfer off the clothing to the clean cloth.
  2. Use liquid laundry detergent – Next, you’ll want to pour a tiny amount of liquid laundry detergent directly onto the water-based or ballpoint pen stain, then work it in with your fingers or the corners of the fabric (an old toothbrush also helps) and let it sit on the stain for around 10 minutes. Due to its tough cleaning ingredients and Deep Clean technology, Persil® ProClean® Stain Fighter is a great choice. You can rely on any Persil® laundry detergent to deliver a thorough clean, though, so choose your favorite.
  3. Wash the item in hot water with Persil® liquid detergent – Pen removal from fabric works best when washed on the hottest temperature allowed by the garment’s care symbols. Check how the pen stain looks before letting the garment dry on a clothesline or placing in the dryer, as this could set the stain. It’s better to perform the cleaning steps at least once more before giving up hope! Mastering how to remove pen stains is often a case of being patient and persistent. See our page on arts and crafts for more tips on removing paint mishaps!

Tips for pen removal from fabric

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to pen stains removal is that there are many different types of inks and fabrics! Therefore, removing some stains might be easier than others. For example, ballpoint pen stains are typically oily and dense because they are a mixture of grease and dye. On the other hand, water-based ink is easier to remove because fountain pens and gel pens produce thinner, non-greasy ink. For permanent ink, you may have to use a dedicated commercial ink remover or ask a professional dry cleaner to get rid of it.

Below, we’ll provide a few general tips for how to remove pen stains from clothes and get your clothing item looking great again!