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I Would Like To Get Permanent Marker Out Of My Bathing Suit

By Dr. Laundry May 5, 2015

Q: I would like to get permanent marker out of my bathing suit . It’s a white crochet fabric on the outside. I wrote my name inside & when my sister sprayed it with the water hose it bled and ran. I tried scrubbing with Tide/bleach, but it won’t completely come off.  Can you help me with this please?

 

A:  Thanks for sending in your question–that’s too bad about the swimsuit!  Since the pen used to label the swimsuit is a permanent marker, unfortunately it looks like you may be stuck with the discoloration.  BUT you indicated that the ink bled when the swimsuit got wet, which isn’t typical for permanent ink.  Usually you put it onto fabric and after it has had a chance to dry, it doesn’t usually run when rinsed with water.  So I’m hoping there’s a chance you can remove the ink, but it will take some work AND the swimsuit can’t contain any spandex (also called Lycra or Elastane).  Spandex can handle low concentrations of pool chlorine, but it can be discolored by stronger bleach and water solutions.  So check the care label to make sure. Assuming there’s no spandex, here’s what you can try:

First, squirt a little alcohol-based hand sanitizer onto the ink.  This helps break up the ink a little to make it easier to bleach away.  Let the hand sanitizer absorb into the fabric and let it stand for a few minutes, then rinse it away.  Next, add 3 Tablespoons Clorox® Regular-Bleach to 1 gallon water.  Submerge the swimsuit (both pieces if it is a two piece) in the bleach and water solution, weighting it down with a dishwasher safe dinner plate if necessary to keep it fully submerged.  Let it soak for 5 minutes, then rinse it thoroughly and let it air dry.  It may take several bleach soaks to remove the ink (if it isn’t as permanent as the pen claimed and can actually can be removed).  Don’t be tempted to use a stronger bleach and water solution or extend the soaking time—it’s much better to repeat the treatment at the correct concentration.

 

It sounds like your swimsuit has a liner in addition to the crochet fabric.  If your swimsuit does contain some spandex, (either the liner or the crochet part or both) then it will likely shift color to off-white.  You may decide that it’s worth it to bleach it anyway in order to get the ink off.  Good luck and let me know how it turns out.