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Ink & Marker Stains

The Solution


When markers go off of coloring book pages, pens pop in pockets, and pencils smear on cuffs, the resulting ink and graphite stains are discouraging. Don't worry. Take a lesson from our book, and treating these stains will be as easy as 1-2-3! Do keep in mind ink stains can be tough to remove and should be addressed sooner than later for best results. Start by assembling your tools...


What to use to fight ink and marker stains:


woman holding the laundress stain solution and pouring it onto a stained cloth over a sink

How To Pretreat


Step One

Dab away any excess ink from your fabric with a paper towel. Then, apply our enzymatic Stain Solution formula, ideal for color-based ink, marker, and pen stains.

Work it into the fabric using a damp Stain Brush. Gently scrub, using circular motions. Try to avoid scrubbing outside the area of the stain to help stop spreading ink marks. Rinse the brush as needed while scrubbing to remove excess ink.

Pro Tip: When treating heavy ink stains, it's a good idea to place a few paper towels on the underside of the garment to help absorb the excess stain and avoid marking up countertops.

Step Two

For added cleaning power, pour hot water from a height onto the affected area, using a kettle or your faucet. Take care to pour from a safe distance so the water won't splash on you. The force of the pouring water will help to work the stain.

Step Three

For older, tougher stains, soak before washing. Fill a sink or wash basin with the warmest water the fabric can tolerate (typically hot water for everyday fabrics), then let it soak for 30 minutes.

Apply more Stain Solution, then toss in the wash. After pretreating and soaking, rinse hands well with water.

Deep Clean


  • Always launder according to your garment's instructions. We recommend using a deep cleaning detergent that helps target color stains, like Signature Detergent.
  • For ink smudges and marker smears on white or light-colored items (like bedding or uniform shirts), opt for Whites Detergent instead for added brightening benefits.
  • Select the hottest, longest cycle the fabric can tolerate (typically hot water for cottons and other everyday fabrics).
  • Remove promptly from the machine to check stains.

Dry & Finish


Air-dry ink-stained items until you're certain stains have lifted. Keep in mind some stain residue may not be visible until garments are fully dry. Repeat the stain treatment process as needed.


Take Note: Our recommended stain treatment methods are based on textile science, and solely intended for use with The Laundress products. We cannot guarantee the success of products from other brands. Always test delicates and items tagged "dry clean" for color bleeding and water reactions before laundering. Kindly note that not all garments may perform and react as science would predict.

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