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Ughh - help please - stain

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I finally did it, I swore I'd never, but it happened. :(  I thought I picked up the air erase pen but I actually picked up the gel pen that is the same color.  I now have a horrible mark on a customers quilt.  I need suggestions on what to use to get this out.  I've used Sew Clean so far and it's taken some of it out but not all the way gone.  Thank you


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Ball point pen ink is not a something that you can usually remove with simple soap and water, but there is an easy and inexpensive way to remove pen ink from surfaces or clothing.


You can use any of a number of common household chemicals to lift away ink. The best of these is alcohol, because it dissolves pigments that are soluble in both water and organic solvents and because it's gentle enough that it won't discolor or damage most fabrics.

  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
  • Shaving cream (if the alcohol doesn't remove the ink)
  • Hairspray (if neither the alcohol nor shaving cream works)
  • Non-flammable dry cleaning fluid (another option)


  1. Dab rubbing alcohol onto the ink.
  2. Allow a couple of minutes for the alcohol to penetrate the surface and react with the ink.
  3. Blot the ink stain using layers of white paper towels or a cloth that has been dampened in either alcohol or water.
  4. If the alcohol is ineffective, try using foaming shaving cream.
  5. If the shaving cream doesn't work, hairspray usually will remove ink, but it should only be used as a last resort because hairspray damages some surfaces and fabrics.
  6. Non-flammable dry cleaning fluid may remove certain inks. If you use dry cleaning fluid to remove a stain, rinse the area with water afterwards.

Gel ink pens use an ink that is made to be permanent. Alcohol will not remove gel ink, nor will acid.

I hope this helps.


May your threads be balanced, and your bobbin forever full….

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I've always used hairspray.  Good to know about the others especially that gel ink is really permanent.  Thanks, Cagey

Port Huron, MI   48060
APQS Sales Rep and Educator
Millennium with Intelliquilter (IQ)

"Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble" Frank Tygr

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