Safely Remove Highlighter Stains from Your Favorite Clothes

For remarking any important text, there is no alternative to highlighter pens. But have you ever had a highlighter stain on your clothes?

Well, it’s not the end of the world. It can be removed with some effort, but it depends on what kind of fabric you are dealing with and how fresh the stain is.

Among so many removal methods on the internet, which one is the most effective of all them?

The good news is that rubbing alcohol is the most effective way to eliminate highlighter stains off clothes. And if you want, you can also use Amodex or other stain removers depending on the fabric nature.

In the following, I’ll discuss several steps of removing the ink stain properly so that your cloth remains as before. So, let’s get started.

Important ✓

All types of highlighter pens do not hold the same ink, and also the reaction with the fabric will be different from each other.

However, how quickly you’ll remove the stain depends on the ink and the fabric type. The ink can be water-based, alcohol-based, gel-based, permanent, or non-permanent.

And there are also different types of fabrics out there. You may not get rid of all types of ink from all types of fabrics, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Things You’ll Need

Whatever highlighter pen brands you use, you can quickly get the ink stain out of clothes using some common ingredients such as –

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Small Bowl
  • Sponge/Rag/Clean Cloth
  • Paper Towel
  • Brush
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Warm Water
  • Cotton Ball/Cotton Swab
  • Other Stain Remover

Using Rubbing Alcohol to Remove Highlighter

Rubbing alcohol is a popular household cleaning product. Whenever you think of any stain, the first name may come to your mind: rubbing alcohol.

However, it also brings back life to dried-out markers . It not only revive pens but also enables you to remove the ink stain from clothes. For getting the work done without damaging the fabric, you just need to follow some steps below.

First Step

As soon as you found out that your favorite dress is stained with highlighter ink, change the dress and start the cleaning process.

First, place a clean paper towel on the table. Then position the stained area against the dry paper towel by turning it inside out to absorb excess ink. Take a cotton ball and gently press over the stain to blot extra liquid (if any).

Keep in mind that fresh stains take less time to get out of the clothes than old stains. So, clean the stain as soon as possible.

Second Step

Now, pour a generous amount of rubbing alcohol into a small bowl. Then soak the sponge in the alcohol and dab around the stained area (not over the stain).

You’ll notice that the alcohol is spreading in round ways. It’ll help you not to spread the ink in other areas when alcohol is applied directly to the stain.

Third Step

In this step, you have to soak the sponge into the rubbing alcohol again. Then directly dab over the highlighter stain. Your main goal is to transfer the ink into the paper towel underneath and the sponge or rag you are using.

If the paper towel gets soaked, then replace the fabric on the clean area or change it. Repeat the process as much as needed.

Final Step

The last step is to wash your cloth. When you don’t see any ink stain left behind, wash your cloth with the laundry detergent.

Don’t forget to use warm water while cleaning as it’ll help you clean the dress properly and get rid of the stain marks. After washing with warm water, normally air-dry the dress and bring it back as new.

Following the Baking Soda and Vinegar Trick

Baking soda and vinegar has a good reputation as household cleaning agents. However, for removing ink stains like highlighter or other markers, these duo works similarly as rubbing alcohol. And, here you also need to follow some steps given below.

Baking Soda and Vinegar for Removing Highlighter Ink

First Step

To protect your clothes, start by placing a hard piece of paper behind the highlighter marks. It will help you to work on the stains without facing any issues.

Second Step

Now, you have to make a paste mixing three parts of baking soda with one parts of vinegar in a small bowl. This paste should be thick and not that much runny. You have to cover the whole stain using this cleaning paste.

After covering the affected area, you have to rub over it with an old toothbrush. Make sure to go slow and gentle with the rubbing process so that you don’t harm the clothes. Then let the paste sit on the stain for overnight or at least 12 hours.

Final Step

At the morning, you will see that the paste has dried out. So, you have to remove the crumbly remains on the spot using the cleaning paste.

Then throw the clothing item into the washing machine and wash it like you do everyday. And yes, you will get your dress as new as before again!

Relying on Stain Remover – Quick Solution

If you don’t have rubbing alcohol near your hands, you can use any ink or stain remover as a quick solution. For this, you must read the label first as it will say how to use it and other instructions.

Some remover needs to be diluted into the water before using. And some needs to be used on wet fabric or directly on the dry fabric.

Again, some need to stay on the fabric for some time, or others need to wash away immediately. So, you must follow the instructions written on the remover label.

From my experience, I can say that Amodex is a safe and powerful stain remover. It also helps to remove other tough stains.

However, for removing highlighter off clothes, just pour a little amount of Amodex on the stain. Make sure that the fabric is not wet.

Then take a brush and rub thoroughly over the stain in a circular motion until the stain vanishes. Pour more remover on the stain if needed.

When you see that all the ink marks are gone away, wash the cloth with liquid detergent and use warm water.

Then air-dry the dress, and you’ll get it as before. You can also use Amodex for removing crayon stains from fabric. In this case, You have to follow the same process

A Word of Caution ✖

While doing this cleaning process, you must need to keep some things in mind. First of all, you shouldn’t use bar soap on the stain. It’ll make the stain go deeper into the fabric and set, which will make it almost impossible for you to remove.

Another thing is that you shouldn’t use rubbing alcohol on silk or wool-type fabric. It will damage the cloth, whether by eating the fabric or by discoloring it forever.

You shouldn’t also use hot water instead of warm water as it also damages some types of fabrics. Also, remember to start the removal technique as soon as possible or while the stain is still fresh enough. It’ll help you to remove ink easily.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How to Remove Highlighter Stains Using Lemon Juice?

Lemon is an effective ingredient to vanish stubborn marks as well. But it depends on the surface from where you are trying to remove it.

Lemon juice acts as a natural bleach. And you can get rid of stains from clothes using it but not from all the fabrics.

Because there are some fabrics that the lemon may eat through or make the fabric colors faded. But you can use it on the white cloth without the fear of discoloration.

Again erasing highlighter mark from the book with lemon juice is the most popular method. Pyranine is used to make the color of the highlighters. And this ingredient is pH sensitive, and when acidic lemon is used on it, the color starts to fade and becomes colorless.

So, if you make any mistake while highlighting, cut a lemon in half and pour some juice on a cotton swab. Then glide the swab over the highlighted text, and you’ll notice that the highlighted marks are disappearing slowly.

Remember not to glide too hard or quickly, and don’t take too much lemon juice as it can ruin the book pages.

Q: Does Highlighter Wash Out of Clothes?

Highlighter ink stain on your cloth will not just simply wash out. You need to remove it first and then wash the fabric with detergent. You can follow the steps mentioned above to get rid of the stain.

Otherwise, you’ll only end up with the stain staying in the same position as before, dried and fully soaked into the fabric.

Q: Does Rubbing Alcohol Bleach Clothes?

Rubbing alcohol is not pure isopropyl alcohol. Still, it works like a mild bleach. It’s a powerful cleaning agent but does not act so powerful as usual bleaches that cause discoloration.

However, before using rubbing alcohol on any cloth, pour a little amount on a cotton ball and test it first. For this, use the cotton ball inside the cloth where there is extra fabric beside lock swings and dry. It’ll help you know about the fabric’s nature and how it’ll react with the rubbing alcohol.

Q: How to Remove Highlighter from Plastic?

Removing highlighter from nonporous surfaces like – plastic, metal, glass, porcelain, etc. is easier than anything else.

And you can do it easily only by using a common household item “lemon”.

Just take a generous amount of lemon juice on a cotton ball and gently rub it over the stain. Voila! Your stain is gone! Sometimes toothpaste will also do the work. Using these two is a quick and simple way that will save hours of scrubbing!

We also have a complete guideline explaining several methods on how you can remove stain from plastic surfaces. You can find it handy while removing highlighter stains from plastic. 

Final Thoughts

Since prevention is always better, try to be extra careful while using highlighter pens. It’ll help you to wear up your favorite dress a few days more!

However, I have covered the most useful methods for removing highlighter ink stains here. Hopefully, with these effective stain removal techniques, you’ll get your dress as new as before.

Maria Tanish

Hello World! Tanish here, a student of Fine Arts. Drawing was my passion from an early age but I also love to do some DIY projects to spend my leisure. Even I work as a writer, to share my knowledge about the ins and outs of drawing and the art industry itself. As an artist, I always wanna share my experiences with you all.

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