How to Take Pen Stains Out of a White Sweater

Don't let ink ruin your favorite clothes.
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If you're scrambling to finish a homework assignment or school project, it's not uncommon to look down to find you've accidentally dropped your pen on your clothes. If an ink pen has marred your white sweater, you may think that the stain will never fade. However, as long as your sweater isn't dry clean only, you can tackle the ink stain at home.

Dampen a white cloth with dry-cleaning solvent. Dab the ink stain with the cloth to stop the color from bleeding and spreading. Rinse the stain with cool water.

Blot the stain with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. Allow to air-dry.

If the stain remains, spot-treat the stain by rubbing it with liquid laundry detergent. Allow the detergent to set in overnight, then rinse with cool water.

Blot the ink with pre-wash stain remover, then launder the sweater according to its care and content label.

  • Stains from permanent marker or permanent ink may never disappear completely.
  • Do not launder the sweater in hot water until you've removed the ink stain; heat can can cause ink stains to set, making them impossible to remove.
  • If your sweater is made from cashmere or some other delicate, non-washable material, take it to the dry cleaner for stain removal. You may damage the sweater if you try to remove the stain yourself.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.