Ballpoint pen(biro) stains

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Ballpoint ink stains are sometimes hard to remove from clothing. Big stains with ink soaked in are the biggest challenge to clean. This tip describes some options to remove ballpoint ink stains.

Please take into account to wash clothing containing stains separately from clothes. Ink will dissolve in the machine, and this can affect other clothing. So, do not wash together before the stain is gone!
Apart from clothing the stains can also be on other materials which can not be washed easily.

Remove ballpoint stains from clothing with chemical

Dabbing the ink stain with alcohol, methylated spirit, turpentine or perchloroethylene ( "PERC") is the easiest way to remove it.

The stain is not always completely removed after this treatment. Washing the clothing in the washing machine afterwards should sustain.
It is best not to use the chemicals on delicate fabric. These are best to be cleaned by the drycleaner.

Alternative methods to remove ballpoint stains from clothing

Some alternative methods to remove the stains from clothing are listed below.

  • Dab the spot with a cloth soaked in buttermilk. Note: this will only work on white clothing. Buttermilk will make the clothing whiter. Rinse with cold water afterwards and wash the clothing in the washing machine as usual.
  • Let the clothing soak in milk for a night. The milk extracts the ink from the clothing. Afterwards wash it in the washing machine as usual.
  • Smear toothpaste on the stain and rub it off the clothing.
  • Rub the stains from ballpoint ink with coffee creamer and the stains will disappear.

Remove ballpoint pen from other material than clothing

  • Most smooth, non-porous, surfaces can be cleaned with water and all-purpose cleaner.
  • Parquet can be treated with methylated spirit. If the parquet has a wax layer than after cleaning wax should be applied again. Apart from the ink, methylated spirit also removes the wax.
  • Ballpoint on linoleum can be removed with diluted bleach.
  • Ink stripes on a leather couch can be removed with alcohol or nail polish remover.
  • Ink on leather shoes can be removed with nail polish remover.
  • Acetone can be used for ink stains on fabric sofas. Dry with a cloth afterwards.
  • On smooth surface wood toothpaste helps to remove ink stains.
  • Methylated spirit is a good ink stain remover for a leather coat or leather couch.