Q:

How do you remove ballpoint ink from cotton?

A:

Quick Answer

To remove a ballpoint ink stain from cotton, place a clean cloth underneath the stain to catch any ink transfer, spray with hairspray and blot, then dab at the stain with rubbing alcohol; resort to a baking soda paste for persistent stains. Launder the cotton after treating the stain, but allow it to air dry.

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Full Answer

  1. Prepare the fabric

    Place a clean cloth directly under the stained portion of the fabric. Ensure the cloth is thick enough that any ink transfer does not bleed through to the other side of the garment.

  2. Spray the stain with hairspray

    Aim the hairspray nozzle at a 45-degree angle, and spray the stain liberally. Use an aerosol rather than a pump hairspray. Allow the hairspray to set for one minute.

  3. Blot the area with a cotton ball

    Keeping the cloth positioned under the stain, blot the area with a clean cotton ball. Do not rub at the stain as this causes it to spread.

  4. Dab with rubbing alcohol

    If the stain is still visible, moisten a clean cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Blot the stain. Replace the cotton ball with a clean one dipped in rubbing alcohol, and keep working until the stain lightens. Shift the cloth underneath as needed.

  5. Treat a persistent stain

    If the stain is large or has been in the cloth for a while, create a paste out of baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the stain, and let it set for one minute.

  6. Blot away the paste

    Use a clean cotton ball to blot away the paste. Work over the area to ensure total removal of the stain. Repeat applying the baking soda paste, if necessary.

  7. Launder the shirt

    After the stain removal process, launder the cotton as usual. However, allow the fabric to air dry to make sure the stain doesn't remain.

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