How To Get Ink Stains Out Of A White Shirt

Getting ink stains out of white shirts or other clothing can be a real pain.

Whether it’s a small little line or a significant pen explosion, ink can be one of the most challenging things to remove from white shirts, and they happen all the time.

Getting a smudge on your sleeve while writing or facing a child wielding a pen can result in a white shirt stain, so it’s essential to be prepared to remove the stain quickly.

This article will provide you with a few different teaching methods showing you how to remove ink from white shirts and other clothing.

Keep reading to find out what items you’ll need to learn how to get ink stains out of white shirts and other clothing.

What You’ll Need

In this section, we discuss the items you will need in order to learn how to remove ink stains from white shirts and other clothing.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is the best tool to remove ink from a white shirt, and it will be a lifesaver in a time of need. 

Order yours here.

Soap and water

Soap and water are essential cleaning tools to remove any stain, but it will definitely come in handy when removing ink stains from clothing. 

Cotton swabs

Cotton swabs are a necessary tool for removing ink stains from white shirts without spreading the stain and ruining the fabric. 

I like these that I found on Amazon.

Paper towels

Paper towels are another necessary cleaning tool for any stain, but a definite necessity for removing ink. 

Stain removing gel

This is a great product that can be used to remove ink from clothing. 

There are many options out there, but if you want to check out the one I use, click here.

Step by Step Instructions for How To Remove Ink Stains from White Shirts 

#1. Use Your Cold Water

Run the shirt under cold water.

This step is crucial before you start treating to get all of the excess ink off the shirt before attempting to clean it.

If it is a small stain, just run the stained area under water until the water runs clear.

At this point, do not scrub or put anything on the stain other than water. 

#2. Dab The Stain With Soap and Water.

Soap and water are going to be your best bet for removing an ink stain from clothing.

Place the damp shirt on top of a towel or similar surface and put a small amount of soap on a paper towel.

Gently dab the stain with the soap until it has lifted out of the fabric.

Rinse the shirt and throw it into the washer. 

#3. Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is going to be your next best solution if soap and water didn’t eradicate the stain.

Get a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and gently dab the stain until it is removed from the shirt.

Using a cotton swab will prevent the stain from being spread around on the fabric and making a bigger mess.

The alcohol should almost certainly be able to remove ink from a white shirt.

After it is lifted from the material, put it in the washer with cold water. 

Pro Tip: 

Make sure the stain has been completely removed from the fabric before putting it in the washer. Drying a stain will set it into the material and make it much harder to remove.

#4. Use Stain Removing Gel.

If none of the previous methods have worked, use a stain removing gel to get the ink out of the clothing.

I really like this one, found on Amazon.

If you use this gel before washing and drying the shirt, it will be most likely to be able to remove the stain.

After the clothing has been through the dryer, the gel will not work as well, and you will need to try a different method. 

Commonly Asked Questions

Can I remove an ink stain that has been washed and dried? 

It is possible to remove an ink stain that has been through the washer and dryer.

Removing a stain that has been through the dryer will take some extra work, but it is possible to remove it.

It is very common for a stain to go through the washer and dryer before even realizing it is there.

Your best bet for removing this type of stain is going to be rubbing alcohol. 

My pen exploded. Can I save my white shirt? 

Yes, major ink stains are a lot harder to remove than smaller stains, but it is possible to remove them.

Start by rinsing the shirt in cool water and then work your way down the list of steps.

As stated above, rubbing alcohol will most likely be the best method to remove a large stain.


I hope you enjoyed reading this tutorial about how to remove ink stains from white shirts.

Hopefully, you will never have to use the tips outlined here, but save this article for future reference, just in case.

Some day you may sit on a pen that then explodes on your pants, or you may smudge your writing on the sleeve of your white shirt.

Whatever the case may be, ink stains are a common occurrence, and it’s important to attempt to clean them as soon as they happen.

Ink stains are bound to happen, so keep this article handy so you always know how to remove ink stains from a white shirt.