How to Get Tattoo Ink Out of Clothes: Trusty Tips and Tricks

It’s so exciting to have a new tattoo; you come to your appointment ready to get a tattoo, but maybe you weren’t planning on wearing your favorite tee or your favorite pants. Why? Well, having ink stains is a common occurrence during the tattoo process. Sometimes a pen explodes or the fresh ink still oozes excess ink; either way, given how permanent the ink is, you’d want to wear your least favorite clothes to the date.

Of course, the permanence of the ink is a good thing! After all, you want your tattoo to last a lifetime, which permanent tattoo ink does. But, putting it on your clothes usually means one thing; throw away stained clothes and buy new ones. But whether it’s a t-shirt or pajamas, it’s never easy to say goodbye to your favorite items.

That’s why we decided to share with you some of our trusted tips and tricks that you can use to remove ink stains from your clothes. So, even if it comes down to this worst-case scenario, you’ll be ready to go with a reliable solution. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

So how do you remove tattoo ink from clothes?

Before we even get into our trusty tips and tricks, we have to point out that the faster you act, the more likely you are to remove ink effectively. It’s important not to let the ink dry because then nothing in the world will help you clean the stain.

So, to get started, here’s what you’ll need to do;

  • Pick up any excess stain with a paper towel
  • Use any type of stain remover and be sure to soak the stain for a while

These two steps are the most important for effectively removing ink stains. You can use any type of stain remover; the brand doesn’t matter. What matters is letting the stain soak up the product. You should notice the ink rising to the surface as the stain remover does its magic.

If you don’t have a product specifically dedicated to stain removal, we advise you to use rubbing alcohol. This is a common household item that can be used as an emergency stain remover. This is because the high alcohol content of rubbing alcohol can help dissolve ink, and it can be easily washed off clothes during subsequent stain removal steps.

And after?

The next thing you need to do is prepare the garment for proper washing in a washing machine. Be sure to read the washing instructions and pay attention to the temperature at which the garment should be washed. Set the recommended wash cycle settings and it’s time to wash the garment. It is recommended that you also use oxygen bleach to give your garment the best chance of being fully and thoroughly cleaned.

After the wash cycle is complete, be sure to check to see if the stain has been removed. If the stain removal was successful, that’s it! Your favorite t-shirt or pajamas are saved, thankfully. And, of course, you can put your garment in the air dryer for a proper drying cycle.

But, if the stain is still there, it’s high time to consider your other options. First, do NOT put the garment in the dryer if the stain is still there. Drying will simply set the stain even more, making it almost impossible to remove it later.

At this point, you should seriously consider taking your garment to a professional dry cleaner. You have done everything correctly so far; you reacted quickly and have already started treating the stain, which would allow the cleaner to quite easily complete the process of removing the stain and remove it once and for all.

Can I use household items to remove stains?

Yes! If opting for a dry cleaner seems tedious or expensive, we recommend using some of the common household items to try and completely remove the ink. However, we must point out that it is possible for ink to linger and remain in clothing, depending on the material of the clothing as well as the success of your previous attempts at removing ink stains.

So what do we recommend you use? Here are some of the best options and household items that you definitely have in your beauty cabinet or pantry;

  • hair spray – this seems to be the most effective household item you can use to effectively remove ink stains. Hairspray has a high alcohol content, which can promote ink dissolution and wash clothes easily with laundry stain removers. However, be sure to apply hairspray AFTER washing the garment. Do not apply to a fresh stain or when the garment is still damp. If your clothes allow it, use bleach during the wash cycle, then apply hairspray for maximum effectiveness.
  • Remover – also, due to its high alcohol content, nail polish remover is a great contender in the household stain remover products we all have. Nail polish remover is a very powerful solvent that can effectively dissolve and remove the ink stain. However, since it is quite powerful, nail polish remover can also damage or destroy your clothes, so be careful with how much you use as well as how you apply it. Do not soak the stain in nail polish remover; instead apply a smaller amount for beginners.
  • Vinegar and cornstarch – if nothing works, we recommend trying a combination of vinegar and cornstarch to remove the stubborn ink stain. Be sure to combine the ingredients in a 2:3 ratio; mix them well and create a spreadable paste. Use to paste to cover the entire stain area. Don’t touch it until the paste is completely dry. Then, remove the paste, rinse the garment and proceed to wash the garment in the washing machine following the regular cycle settings.
  • Soap and hot water – many tattoo artists will recommend that you remove excess ink from a fresh stain using a paper towel, then rub it with warm water and soap. It can be an effective attempt to remove the ink while it is not yet set. However, the stain may be visible, but after a few wash cycles the ink should fade and be less visible, especially on darker clothes.

How to avoid ink stains?

One of the first and most obvious things you can do is wear older clothes to your tattoo appointment. Also choose clothes that you would not want to stain. It’s the best way to avoid doing all the fuss to remove the ink stain. Plus, you won’t feel bad about having to throw the item away if the stain doesn’t go away.

The same goes for linens. For the first nights after the tattoo, it is recommended to use old sheets that you would not want to stain. Chances are that for the first few days/nights, your tattoo will ooze excess ink and blood, which may end up on your sheets and pajamas. So unless you want to ruin your cute pajamas and sheets, be sure to opt for old bedding and sleepwear that you were going to get rid of anyway.

We also recommend that you choose the place where you get your tattoo carefully. Highly professional tattoo artists will do everything to avoid ink stains during the appointment. They use special wipes and soaps to clean the tattooed area, especially if they have to deal with excess ink. They are also trained to provide excellent advice in case the tattoo stains your favorite clothes or linens. Professional tattoo artists should be the only option if you are considering getting a tattoo.

Final Thoughts

So if you’re getting a tattoo, be sure to get out some old t-shirts, pajamas, and an old set of sheets. Use items that you wouldn’t mind getting stained with ink. This is probably the best way to deal with ink stains. But if you do end up staining an item of clothing you treasure and love, be sure to act fast and use our tips and tricks to get the best result. If nothing works, visit a local dry cleaner for one last attempt to remove ink from clothes.

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