Top three home remedies for removing fountain pen ink stains tested here! A quick internet search recommends hairspray, alcohol and nail polish remover as the top choices for treating fountain pen ink stains, so I put them to the test for you.
I thought it was interesting that after several searches, I couldn’t find any articles showing the process of removing an ink stain using different colors and brands of ink to see if that had any impact on the stains so we’re trying them on black, blue and green fountain pen inks, each from a different brand.
Fountain Pen Ink Stain Removal – The Test
In order to answer the question I repeatedly get, which is some form of “how do I get fountain pen ink out of my dress shirt, pants, couch and/or off my skin,” I figured I’d at least test how to get it out of clothes for you!
This is not a scientific test, but just a quick test I ran using household supplies and my clothes washer to check the stain removing properties of three common stain remedies.
I started with a shirt that was in my donation pile. It had a small stain already on the backside, not in the area of this ink test. The shirt is 100% cotton.
I chose three different ink colors and brands from my collection so we could see if the color has any impact on the stain removing properties of each of our test subjects.
I dropped 4-5 drops of each ink on the shirt in rows so each color would be treated by each home remedy to see which worked the best and which didn’t work.
Test Subjects – Hairspray, Rubbing Alcohol and Nail Polish Remover
I have to admit, I was a little scared to pour nail polish remover on the shirt.
I don’t know why but it seems more harsh than the rest and I would be afraid it’d pull dye out of clothes along with the ink.
As I write this, the washer is still spinning, so I’ll soon find out if the gray dye in the fabric is at all impacted by the nail polish remover.
I should note that I let the ink soak into the shirt for about 10 minutes while I went through my cupboards and found each of the items to test for stain removal.
I then wet each ink stain with hairspray, alcohol and nail polish remover in the rows shown in the photos.
Once wet, I then blotted each stain with clean paper towels to pick up as much ink as possible back out of the fabric.
Interestingly, the nail polish remover seemed to break up the edges of the ink the most at this point and the hairspray the least, despite hair spray being rumored to be the best fountain pen ink stain remover in my previous search engine queries.
Surprising Truth About Home Remedies for Ink Stains
I was extremely surprised that NONE of the home remedies worked on black or green ink!
You can read all over the internet about how hairspray and rubbing alcohol get out fountain pen ink, but when I tested it, the stain didn’t fade much at all on black ink and green ink still left a hideous stain ring behind.
After doing this test, I’m glad my favorite ink is blue since it came out the easiest so I fell like I’ll get lucky if I ever splash a bit on a shirt as long as I can get hairspray or rubbing alcohol onto it and into a washing machine within the hour.
There you have it… if you spill black ink, good luck, not much good news. Same for green. But if you spill some blue you have a fighting chance!
Wonder what my favorite inks are? This article has reader favorite inks and my own.