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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Ink Stains

By Dr. Laundry December 9, 2008

Q. I had just finished making a beautiful quilt, cotton, not white, when I got ink on it. Can you tell me how to remove it?

A. I envy people who can create those beautiful quilts — but you definitely have a challenge in getting rid of the ink.

You didn’t say what kind or how much ink and that can make a difference. What we need to do is dissolve the ink and transfer it to another item. Too bad it isn’t white so we could use some Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 or Clorox® Bleach Pen Gel to finish the job.

The tough part is finding the right solvent to dissolve the ink and the best method of applying it to minimize any spreading of the stain. Here are a couple of things to try:

  • If the stain is small, try using a Q-Tip and something like Goo Gone or a tar remover for automobiles. Dab gently with the tip, then use a clean one to try and transfer the dissolved ink so it doesn’t spread.
  • If the stain is large, try the same approach using a couple of old towels. One is used for applying and one is used for transferring. Keep changing the transfer towel surface so you don’t end up reapplying the removed ink to another part of the quilt.
  • If all else fails, take it to a dry cleaner and see what they can do for you.