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Battling Ink Stains

Caption: Various stain removal products can be applied to the stain over a towel, and the stain should be blotted with a clean towel.

We’ve been having problems getting ink stains out of garments. Some products work on some fabrics, but if you use them on different fabrics they can pull color. Is there any product or process that is safe for all fabrics?

A: Various stain removal products and procedures can be used for successful removal of ink stains. In most cases, ink stains can be removed using volatile dry solvent and oily type paint remover. These products should be applied to the stain over a towel, and the stain should be blotted with a clean towel. Repeat this process until the stain stops bleeding.


Remember to move the towel below the stain and the area used for blotting to prevent the ink from transferring back onto the fabric. Once the stain has stopped bleeding flush thoroughly with VDS. If any color from the stain is left, it may be removed with wetside agents.


When attempting this process, the stain may spread or start to wick out. If it starts to spread immediately flush with volatile dry solvent, then resume working on the stain until all bleeding stops. Even though this looks bad, it is a sign that the stain is breaking up, and may possibly be removed. This process may take 5–30 minutes or more, depending on the original stain.

There are a lot of commercial products available that will aid in removing certain types of stains that are faster than the “blotting” method. These products may damage some fabrics, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Suggested Reading

For more information DLI Silver, Gold and Premier members may see this and many other bulletins in DLI's Encyclopedia of Drycleaning online:

  • Technical Operating Information No. 736: Ink Stains


Posted By Harry Kimmel | 11/9/2015 9:30:51 AM