How to Get Ink, Nail Polish, and Deodorant Stains Out of Clothes


Have you ever been at work with a broken pen that somehow manages to get its ink all over your shirt? Have you ever accidentally knocked over a bottle of nail polish or smudged your wet nails on your clean clothes? Have you ever put a shirt on and realized that your deodorant has left its mark? If you said yes to any of these sticky situations, don’t panic. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get nail polish, ink, and deodorant out of your clothes by following a few easy steps.

Removing Ink

Ink Stained Shirt

  • If you have recently gotten ink on an article of clothing, act fast because once this stain sets, it can be extremely stubborn and hard to remove.

  • Grab a paper towel and press it firmly to the fabric for several seconds. Do not blot or rub the ink because this can make it spread. Keeping the paper towel firmly on the spot will help to absorb the ink, making it easier to remove entirely.

  • After you have gotten a little bit of the ink out, there are a few options to removing ink stains from your clothing such as:

  • Water-based ink pen stains can often be cleaned by simply using a water-based stain remover. Just put the stain remover on the ink stain for 10 minutes and then press a paper towel to the stain again. You should see that even more of the ink has been lifted after using this pre-treatment. Now, wash your article of clothing in the washing machine by itself. Before drying, make sure the spot is gone and if it’s not, repeat the process of using a stain remover, paper towel, and washing again.

  • If a permanent pen or oil-based ink has stained your clothes, the process will be handled differently. Once again, begin by pressing a paper towel to the stain to remove as much wet ink as possible. You can use a variety of household products to completely remove this kind of stain. 

  • Apply rubbing alcohol or clear hand sanitizer if rubbing alcohol isn’t around. The alcohol neutralizes pigments in the ink to make them disappear. You can dip a clean cotton swab or cotton ball (depending on the size of your stain) in the alcohol, and then dab the stain. Then, dip a clean cotton swab/ball in cold water to remove the alcohol from the fabric.

    Rubbing Alcohol

    • Another household item you can use is hairspray. Cheap brands work best for removing stains as they contain the most alcohol. Spray the stain liberally with the hair spray. Allow it to sit on the stain for a short time and before the hair spray has dried, wash the garment in the washing machine with laundry detergent by itself.

    Spraying hair spray

    • A strange but proven way to remove ink stains is milk. You can soak your clothing in fresh cold milk. Just fill up a bowl and let your stained clothes sit in it overnight in the fridge (to avoid bad smells from warm milk). Then, wash your clothes regularly and dry.

    Soaking a Stain in Milk

    Removing Nail Polish

    Spilled Nail Polish

    • Before you do anything, place an ice pack on the nail polish to harden the stain. It will be easier to work with hardened nail polish instead of smudging wet nail polish deeper into the fabric.

    • Once the nail polish has hardened, peel off any large flakes of dried polish. If they don’t come off right away from the fabric, use tweezers to gently pick up the flakes.

    • If a colored stain remains, use a non-acetone nail polish remover. Non-acetone is gentler and has less of a chance to discolor your fabrics than acetone nail polish remover. Test your nail polish remover on an inconspicuous area to make sure that it will not damage your clothing. Take a cotton swab or cotton ball (depending on the size of your stain) and dip it in the nail polish remover, then dab the stain until you see it begin to fade away.

    • If non-acetone nail polish isn’t an option, use hair spray. Just like your ink stain, spray the hair spray on the stain and allow it to soak in for several minutes. Then, dab the stain with a paper towel.

    • Once you have removed the stain using nail polish remover or hair spray, place your garment in the washing machine and dry as normal.

    Removing Deodorant Marks

    Deodorant Marks

    • You may have found yourself more than a few times puzzled, wondering how to remove deodorant stains, especially when you accidentally get it all over your black shirt just as you were rushing out the door. It’s surprisingly easier than throwing your article of clothing into the washing machine.

    • First, try rubbing the marked spot with another clean area on the garment. Rubbing the fabrics together loosen the deodorant particles away.

    • You can also try rubbing nylon tights, a cotton sock, or a dryer sheet to the spot to pick up the loose deodorant.

    • If you have a tough mark, use a disinfectant wipe or damp washcloth to wipe away the stain.

    By using these cleaning methods, you can stay cool and confident that your clothes won’t be ruined and will always look as good as when you put them on in the morning. No matter what incident caused your clothes to be marked by ink, nail polish, or deodorant, you now have an armory of tips to combat any stains life throws your way!