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Gone were those manuscript classes in school when I wrote with a fountain pen. I
would carefully manoeuvre my pen so that the hooded nib would not transfer any ink
onto my uniform. Even though I no longer use fountain pens, I still get highly noticeably
blotches of ink on my cotton clothing or worse, on beautifully woven tablecloth from
leaking ball point pens.
Before we tackle the issue of removing ink stains, we have to determine the type
of stain to correctly get rid of them.
Writing ink come in various forms. The inks that used in fountain pens, ball point
pens, and gel pens vary from each other.
Fountain pen inks and gel pens are water based while your regular ball point pens,
uses a synthetic colourant with an alcohol solvent in a thick paste, are usually
oil based. Most of the inks in pens today tend to dry very quickly thus leaving a
Ink from a fountain pen is easier to remove than ink from a ball point pen. Always
remember that whatever the type of ink, it is always easier to remove ink while it
is still wet. Ink that has dried up is difficult to remove.
There are quite a number
of tried and tested methods to get rid of ink stains. In all methods, the golden
rule is to try to remove the stain as quickly as possible before it starts to set
and never ever soak the fabric in hot water. Many people mistakenly think that hot
water will dissolve and dissipate the ink. Hot water will only worsen the condition
as it locks the stain and causing much difficulties to fully get the stain out later.
To remove ink stain, I always start off by dabbing with a clean wet sponge until
no more ink is lifted. Do this as gently as possible because using immense pressure
will only sink the ink more firmly into the fabric. Then allow the stain to dry.
Next, mist the area with your hairspray to loosen the remaining ink. Place the affected
clothing between a few sheets of super absorbent paper towels, one in the front and
one in the back. Working carefully from the back side of the stain, blot into the
other sheet until you see the stain is lifted up.
Alternatively, place some heavy weight over it. Repeat this process using fresh paper
towels, if necessary. Wait for a couple of minutes. The stain should be gone by now.
Use a pre-treatment on stain and wash per care label instructions.
If the stain is
not gone even after blotting out the hair spray, you can use this other method. But
make sure the clothing is completely dry before doing so.
In a bowl and mix up equal proportions of Isopropyl alcohol with household vinegar(not
apple cider). Then place this mix directly on the ink stained area. Using a soft
toothbrush, gently brush the affected area till the stain starts to disappear. Once
the stain is gone, rinse clothing thoroughly in cold water. Launder and dry normally.
Other Ways of Ink Stain Removal
Dishwashing Liquid Dry the ink stained area and then take 2 parts of liquid dish washing
detergent and mix it with one part alcohol. Soak the stain for about 15 minutes then
rinse. Wash clothing normally.
Lemon Juice Another method that is also effective in removing ink stains is the use
of detergent, lemon juice and water. To use, apply some neutral laundry detergent
to the back of the stain ridden item. Then, place the item under the running cold
water and rinse it thoroughly. If any stains remain, you can retreat it with equal
amount of ammonia, lemon juice and cold water. Once you see little or no remnants
of the stain, you should then wash your clothing normally.
Baking Soda Mix equal parts of baking soda and water in a container. Pour it directly
into the ink stain. Next, rinse the ink stained item thoroughly and wash like you
Commercial Ink Stain Removers Many ink solvents are available in the market today.
Keep one handy at home. You never know when you need it. As most commercially formulated
removers are very concentrated and strong, always test an inconspicuous area for
colourfastness before treating any stains.
Useful hints when removing ink stains:
If using super absorbent cloth instead of paper
towels, ensure that the cloth is white. Coloured cloth could run colour and stain
the affected area even more.
If the stain remains even after you have tried the above,
do not use harsh chemicals or solvents on the fabric. This will ruin the garment
and render it unusable.
If all things fail, you can always get it dyed to a darker
shade than its original to hide the ink stain.