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How To Remove An Ink Stain

Saturday, March 17, 20128 comments

How to remove ink stains.
Ink stains are one of the more frequent stains encountered by dry cleaners and can be a stain that will truly test the abilities of the person doing the stain removal. Successful removal of ink stains will depend on several factors such as the type of ink that you are trying to remove, the type of fibers that the fabric is made of and the fastness of the dyes used in the color. There are many type of inks that the professional dry cleaner can encounter. There are marking inks, permanent inks, printing inks, carbon paper inks, ball point pens, india inks and the list goes on.  One of the difficulties of successful removal is that each of these inks can contain different components which can require different stain removal procedures. Then there are limitations set by the type of fiber or dyes that are in the fabric. In dyed fabrics, ink removal methods are limited by the fastness of the color used and we know how colorfast the dyed garments are these days. They are not colorfast. So it is possible that you may be dealing with a very limited service garment and there is a possibility that the stain cannot be removed successfully. However, by following the correct procedures, you will have a fair amount of success. 

One of the most common ink stains the dry cleaner will encounter is the ball point pen.  These stains can be as simple as a small line marked on a fabric to a large blob in a pocket. 

Stain Removal Procedure -  (ball point pen)
  • The first thing you want to do with a large ink stain is to manage your customers expectation on the outcome.  Depending on the fabric, it may not be possible to remove the stain safely.  Experience will give you a better idea of what you can and cannot remove. It would also be a good idea to have your customer sign a release before going further with a difficult stain.
  • Before starting the stain removal procedure, be sure to pre-test the following steps on an unexposed area, to be sure that the procedures are indeed safe to the fabric in question.
  • Working the stain from the reverse side, with a towel under the fabric, apply volatile dry spotter (VDS) to wet the stained area.
  • Apply a small amount of oily-type-paint-remover (OTPR).
  • With a piece of white towel or paper towel, begin to blot the stained area.  Re- applying the OTPR as often as necessary.  Continue this until the slightest trace of bleeding (from the ink) has stopped.
  • If the stain starts to spread, flush the area with VDS and resume the spotting with OTPR.
  • Once the stained area is clear of the ink bleeding, flush thoroughly with VDS.
  • If traces of the stain still remain, wet side stain removal procedures will be required.
  • Place a towel under the stained area, wet the area with steam and apply a neutral lubricant and lightly tamp the area with a spotting brush.
  • Flush the area with steam.
  • If the stain still remains, apply tannin formula to the stain and lightly tamp the area with the spotting brush.
  • Flush the area with steam.
  • If the stain still remains, apply general formula to the stain and lightly tamp the area with the spotting brush.
  • Flush the area with steam.
  • If the stain still remains, apply protein formula to the stain and lightly tamp the area with the spotting brush.
  • Flush the area with steam.
  • If at any point in the wet side stain removal, the stain is removed, flush the stain removal agents from the fabric, feather dry, apply levelling agent to the damp area and dry clean.
  • At this point, if the stain still remains, bleach will be necessary.  This should only be used as a last resort. The use of bleaches is a more advanced stain removal technique.  Different types of bleaches can successfully be used depending on the type of fabric and dye, a lengthy topic for another post.
By following these steps you will have a greater success rate in removing ball point ink stains and do not forget, always pre-test the fabric in an un-exposed area, with the same procedure you intend to use for the stain removal process.


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Michael Miller said...

Wasserette Amsterdam, thanks for taking the time to read The Dry Cleaners Blog. I can appreciate the procrastination problem, as it can be tough to keep motivated with new material.
By the way, your website looks good!

Thanks again.

TristanThomas said...

This post is well written and informative. I don't comment often, but it doesn't cost me anything to say it when its true. Cheers.
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AJS Carpet Cleaning Utah, United States of America said...

Ink is usually produced by dissolving large amounts of varying kinds of pigment in some sort of soluble resin. Some types of these resins are water soluble, but others are only soluble in chemicals like alcohols, ethers or other volatile organic compounds (VOC). Incidentally, contrary to popular opinion, ink can be hazardous to health if ingested, so be careful.

Everybody knows that there are many kinds of inks with varying chemical properties. Children will use everything from crayons, ball point pens, drawing inks to markers. All children are not equally careful. Some will spill ink accidentally, while others will do it while trying to find out how the pen works.

Web Experts UK said...

Nice post.

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David O Russell said...

Glad to find your blog with useful information.

Rosie said...

Thank you very much for the information! I will use it to clean an ink stain from my favorite dress.

EnviroClean Technologies said...

Nice blog MRmiller. eco friendly cleaner

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