How to Get Pen Out of Corduroy Pants

Treat ink stains on corduroy quickly for the best chance of removing them.
... Digital Vision./Photodisc/Getty Images

Your favorite pair of corduroys can last longer if you wipe out unsightly ink stains as soon as you can. If your ink stain is water-based, such as a washable pen or marker, you can pretty much sign off on an easy removal. But when permanent ballpoint pen ink penetrates your cool corduroys, the writing is clearly on the wall: you're going to need to do some prep work before throwing your corduroys in the washing machine. With the proper pre-wash ingredients and attention to inside the corduroy lines, you can forget the notion that your cords are ruined.

Wet a sponge with cold water. Pat the stain carefully to take off the top layer of ink. This is your initial attempt at loosening the ink from the corduroy.

Insert a paper towel directly underneath the ink stain. Spray two pumps of hairspray directly onto the stain. Wait 5 to 10 seconds for it to penetrate the stain.

Slip your hand into the pant on top of the paper towel. This allows your fingers to help loosen the ink from the underside while working on the stain from above.

Take a dry paper towel and carefully blot the stain. Rub gently in a circular manner on top of the corduroy.

Rearrange the paper towel inside the corduroy pant to a dry spot. Pump another squirt of hairspray onto the stain. Let sit for 5 to 10 seconds.

Move your fingers to a clean spot on the paper towel. Guide the towel in between the corduroy grooves with your finger. Use medium pressure to blot the ink in a downward motion along the corduroy line. Allow the material to air dry once the stain is mostly or completely removed.

Spray the spot with a pre-wash stain-fighting agent.

Machine-wash your cords, setting the washing machine to warm water and adding a mild detergent to the machine.

Lay the pants flat on a clean surface to air dry. Dryer heat can permanently seal any remaining ink.

  • Refrain from rubbing the ink. Lift the stain with light pressure and small strokes.
  • Inspect inside the corduroy lines to make sure all the ink is removed.
  • Soak the stain overnight in whole-fat milk if the hairspray method does not work.
  • Use a heavy-duty commercial cleaning product if the ink stain is not removed with the hairspray or milk.

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.