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How to Get Biro Out of Clothes: In 5 Easy Steps

Forgot a pen was open in your front pocket or accidentally scribbled on your trousers? Did the ballpoint leak in the dress shirt or did your creative toddler perform their art on your top thinking it was a canvas? Fret not, we have all been through these situations at least a gazillion times!

Whether a ballpoint breaks or an ink pen leaks, it is quite common for us to spoil our clothes with biro stains and pass them away with the hopelessness of not restoring them. Ink stains seem one of the hardest to get rid of, especially from permanent markers, but it’s not as overwhelming as they may sound! There is still hope to fight that nasty biro stain and to tell you how, we have prepared a detailed article to take you through the process with effective methods, efficient products, and dos and don’ts.

Biro stain on shirt - how to remove

A step-by-step guide to efficiently remove ink stains from clothes

Whether you have a fabric stained from ballpoint ink or a permanent marker, there are certain things to remember while employing any cleaning method. To get your clothes back to their pristine condition, simply follow this process:

  1. After choosing from the variety of commercial or homemade methods available to treat biro marks, test it on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before directly applying it to the affected area. This makes sure that the method is suitable for the fabric and shows no signs of discoloration or bleaching.
  2. To prevent the biro mark from staining other parts of the fabric, place a towel underneath the stain while treating.
  3. After using the stain removal, wash the fabric with a quality detergent on the hottest setting allowed in the cloth’s care label.
  4. Wash the stain-treated cloth alone in a washing machine to prevent the ink from transferring to other items.
  5. Once washed, dry the fabric using a tumble dryer’s air-dry setting.
  6. Repeat the process if biro stains are still not properly treated.

What methods are available to remove ink stains from clothes?

Now that you know how to take care of stains, it is time to know what to use for them. There is a range of commercial products and a number of household methods that can be employed to treat stains of the toughest inks. You may choose from any depending on the cloth type, availability, and convenience. Here is a list of methods serving your specific needs:

Using Commercial stain removal

Commercial stain removers are specialized products designed to remove general stains and biro marks from a range of fabrics. To find out which dry cleaning solvent is suitable for your cloth type, read the care label and test before treating. Here are the two best-reviewed products, designed to remove ink stain, dirt, and biros while brightening up fabric’s colour and removing odour.

  1. Vanish Fabric Stain Remover Gold Oxi Advanced Powder
  2. Dr.Beckmann Stain Devils Survival Kit Multi-stain remover

To get the desired results, follow the manufacturer’s instructions mentioned on the packaging.

How to use

  1. Buy a commercial cleaning solution such as Vanish or Dr.Beckmann, which are available online or in some supermarkets.
  2. Test the product using a small amount on an inconspicuous spot, rinse and look for reactions, if any.
  3. Place a towel under the fabric to prevent staining and cover the stain completely with the solution.
  4. Let the solution soak into the fabric for 1-5 minutes (or as instructed on the package) and allow it to work
  5. With a spare towel or white cloth, press the stained area and let the ink transfer.
  6. Rinse the treated area with water and allow it to dry for fresh and stain-free results.
  7. You may need to repeat the method twice if you’re working with tough stains.

Using Rubbing Alcohol or Hand Sanitiser

Rubbing alcohol is so far one of the best substitutes for commercialized cleaning products due to its ability to break down ink components. Rubbing alcohol, also called isopropyl, can easily be grabbed from the nearest drug store or can be replaced with an alcohol-based, colour and fragrance-free hand sanitizer.

How to use

  • Check the clothing label to see if the solution is suitable for the material
  • Test the rubbing alcohol on a small spot to look for any reaction
  • If there is no reaction, begin the process. Put a towel under the affected area to avoid transferring ink and apply a small amount of alcohol using a dropper. Avoid spilling too much to prevent stains from running.
  • Use a cotton bud to absorb and rub alcohol on smaller stains.
  • Let the stain soak for 10-15 minutes.
  • Apply a small amount of liquid detergent on the treated stain and gently rub.
  • Clean the treated fabric with a machine wash set in the hottest water setting, using a good-quality laundry detergent suitable for the cloth type
  • Dry using an air dryer for refreshing, new-like conditions.

Using Butter

You may find it surprising to use a greasy breakfast ingredient for cleaning purposes but this is no joke! Salted butter is actually an effective homemade method employed to remove ballpoint ink and biro mark. With the ability to break down biro stains with salt, sunlight, and butter’s oil, here is how you can take biro out using the unique salted butter method:

  • Grab a towel and place it under the area that needs to be treated to prevent the butter from spilling on other parts of the fabric
  • Apply a small quantity and rub salted butter using a finger, cotton swab, or a cloth on the stain in a circular motion working from outside to the middle of the stain
  • Put the cloth in direct sunlight for 1-2 days in a safe area.
  • Wash the cloth alone after treatment in a washing machine with a hot wash using a good washing detergent and dry using an air dry cleaner. No more ink stain!

Using White Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural product always up to serve a wide range of cleaning purposes. With a universal cleaning potential, white vinegar is one of the best household items used to remove biro mark from leather or fabric sofas and dirt stains and odours from shirts. To see how white vinegar gives a new life to your wear, read how to clean stained shirt collars and cuffs. Here is how you can use vinegar to remove ink and biro stain:

  • Follow initial steps like those of the rubbing alcohol method for testing and preparation.
  • Once satisfied, prepare a vinegar solution by mixing 1 tbsp of washing liquid with 2 tsp of white vinegar in 250ml of water.
  • Gently apply the prepared solution on the affected area while preventing spilling and let it sit for 1o minutes. Avoid rubbing to prevent ink from soaking
  • Dab using a clean white damp cloth on the stained area to transfer the ink.
  • Dip a clean soft cloth in water and wipe the treated area. Dry using a towel for refreshing results.

What cleaning method is most effective for ballpoint pen stains?

Rubbing alcohol to the rescue! With a number of cleaning methods, all you have to do is choose the right one for your stain and cloth type. For stubborn stains given by ballpoint pen or permanent marker, rubbing alcohol or alcohol based hand sanitiser always does the best job on cotton fabrics.

Time to give a new life to your biro-stained clothes and revive your closet. Follow the guidelines and choose the right methods to push off all “how to get biro out of clothes” worries.