How to Remove Ballpoint Pen From Cotton Fabric

Are you tired of those pesky ballpoint pen stains ruining your favorite cotton fabrics?

Well, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to remove those stubborn stains and restore your garments to their former glory.

With our easy-to-follow techniques and a few simple household items, you’ll be able to say goodbye to those unsightly marks for good.

So grab your supplies and let’s get started!

Types of Ballpoint Pen Stains on Cotton Fabric

There are three main types of ballpoint pen stains you might find on cotton fabric.

The first type is fresh ink stains, caused by a recent accident with the pen. These stains are still wet and can spread easily if not treated promptly.

To remove fresh ink stains, start by blotting the area with a clean cloth or paper towel to absorb as much ink as possible. Then, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer onto the stain and gently blot again. Repeat this process until the stain is no longer visible.

The second type is set-in ink stains, which have dried and set into the fabric fibers. These stains are more stubborn and require a different approach.

To remove set-in ink stains, make a paste using equal parts baking soda and water. Apply the paste onto the stain and gently scrub using a toothbrush. Rinse with cold water and repeat if necessary.

The third type is old ink stains, which have been on the fabric for a long time. These stains are the most difficult to remove, but not impossible.

One technique is to soak the stained area in a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water for a few hours. Then, wash the fabric as usual.

Another technique is to apply a laundry pre-treatment stain remover onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before washing.

Pre-Treatment Methods for Removing Ballpoint Pen Stains

To effectively treat those pesky stains, you’ll want to start by applying a pre-treatment solution. This step is crucial in ensuring that the ballpoint pen stain is effectively removed from your cotton fabric. There are several pre-treatment techniques that you can try to increase the chances of successful stain removal.

One effective pre-treatment method is to apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol directly onto the stain. Gently blot the area with a clean cloth or sponge, working from the outside of the stain towards the center. This will help to lift the ink from the fabric.

Another pre-treatment technique involves using a mixture of dishwashing detergent and warm water. Create a solution by mixing a few drops of detergent with warm water. Apply the solution onto the stain and gently rub it in using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse the fabric thoroughly with cold water after the stain has been treated.

For more stubborn stains, you can also try using hairspray. Spray a small amount onto the stain, then blot it with a clean cloth. The alcohol in the hairspray helps to break down the ink, making it easier to remove.

Natural Remedies for Removing Ballpoint Pen Stains on Cotton Fabric

One effective way of treating those stubborn stains is by using natural remedies on your cotton fabric. Not only are these eco-friendly alternatives, but they can also save you money and protect the environment from harsh chemicals. Here are some DIY stain removers that you can try:

  • Lemon juice: Squeeze fresh lemon juice onto the stain and let it sit for a few minutes. The acidic properties of lemon will help break down the ink and lighten the stain.

  • Vinegar and baking soda: Mix equal parts vinegar and baking soda to form a paste. Apply the paste onto the stain and gently rub it in. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.

  • Milk: Soak the stained area in milk for at least 30 minutes. The enzymes in milk can help break down the ink and make it easier to remove.

By using these natural remedies, you can effectively remove ballpoint pen stains from your cotton fabric without resorting to harsh chemicals. Not only will you save money, but you will also contribute to a healthier and more sustainable environment.

Chemical-Based Solutions for Ballpoint Pen Stain Removal

Using chemical-based solutions is another option for getting rid of those stubborn ballpoint pen stains on your cotton fabric. These solutions are designed to break down the ink and make it easier to remove. However, it’s important to choose non-toxic alternatives to ensure the safety of your fabric and yourself. Here are some common chemical-based solutions that you can try:

Solution How to Use
Rubbing alcohol Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol directly onto the stain and blot with a clean cloth. Repeat until the stain is gone.
Hairspray Spray the stained area with hairspray and let it sit for a few minutes. Blot the stain with a clean cloth, and then rinse with cold water.
Dishwashing liquid Mix a small amount of dishwashing liquid with water and apply it to the stain. Gently rub the fabric together to create a lather, then rinse with cold water.

When using chemical-based solutions, there are some common mistakes to avoid. First, avoid using bleach on cotton fabric as it can cause discoloration. Additionally, make sure to test the solution on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the stain. This will help you determine if the solution will cause any damage or discoloration. Lastly, always follow the instructions on the product label and use gloves to protect your hands.

Tips for Preventing Ballpoint Pen Stains on Cotton Fabric

When it comes to preventing stubborn ink stains on cotton fabric, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.

  • Choose your writing tools wisely: Opt for alternative writing tools like gel pens or fountain pens that are less likely to smudge or leak onto your cotton fabric.

  • Be cautious while writing: Take your time and be mindful of your surroundings when writing on cotton fabric. Avoid applying excessive pressure on the pen, as it increases the chances of ink smudges.

  • Keep tissues or paper towels handy: If you notice any ink smudges while writing, quickly blot the area with a tissue or paper towel to prevent the ink from spreading further.

Following these tips can help you prevent ink smudges on your cotton fabric, saving you the hassle of trying to remove stubborn stains later on.


In conclusion, removing ballpoint pen stains from cotton fabric can be a simple process with the right pre-treatment methods and solutions. Whether using natural remedies or chemical-based solutions, it’s important to act quickly and follow the instructions carefully to avoid damaging the fabric.

Additionally, taking preventive measures such as keeping pens capped and avoiding placing pens in pockets can help prevent ballpoint pen stains in the first place.

By following these tips, you can easily tackle and prevent ballpoint pen stains on cotton fabric.

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