How To Get Tattoo Ink Out Of Clothes

Getting a tattoo means you’re committing to living with it for the rest of your life. When drawing a permanent body art, ink is deposited underneath the skin using needles. It is normal for the ink to bleed out in the first few days as it slowly heals.

It can be frustrating to see your tat imprinted on your cute jeans, bedding, or favorite piece of cloth.

The good thing is that you can effectively remove the ink from your clothes. Let’s look at how you can do this.

Soak Up The Ink

Immediately after getting a tattoo, the ink is wet and can easily rub onto clothes you wear. You can consider soaking up the clothing using an old towel or fabric that is no longer in use or one that you don’t mind staining. While this doesn’t clear the stain, it absorbs it, giving you an easier time dealing with the remaining blemish. Please note that this works best for a wet stain.

Oxygenation Of The Stain

How To Get Tattoo Ink Out Of Clothes
Oxygen is known to loosen ink, particularly tattoo ink from clothing. Cover the inked area on your fabric with an oxygenated gel stick, rubbing it in to cover the whole ink. Alternatively, soak the fabric in a liquid oxygen bleach for about 10 minutes. Oxygen bubbles from the bleach will loosen and melt it from the fiber.


Wash away the loosened ink by placing your piece of fabric under cold running water. Wash normally using a laundry detergent and rinse it as usual. You can still add the oxygen bleach into your soapy water.

What About Removing a Temporary Tattoo Inks?

Temporary tats inks are much easier to remove from fabrics than permanent ones. Any oxygenated cleaner will work best, but if you don’t have one, dub the area using a cotton swab immersed in rubbing alcohol or hairspray. You can also soak it in an alcoholic hand sanitizer.

On the other hand, Henna tattoo is a tricky affair since just a small delay could mean a permanent stain. Be on the lookout to wipe it off as soon as it occurs. Apply a thick paste of baking soda and water onto the stain and leave it to dry. If the stain remains stubborn, add a little vinegar into it and let it dry before you scrape it off. Rinse the fabric and wash it normally.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any chemical-free methods that I can use to remove set-in tattoo ink stains?

If you don’t prefer commercial stain removers, there is a bunch of homemade cleaning items you can use to remove stuck ink. These methods are eco-friendly and very safe for the user. Here is a list.


If your piece of stained fabric is suede or leather, sandpaper could be the best option to scrape off the ink. Gently scrub off the ink using fine sandpaper. Once the ink is buffed away, scrub the area with a toothbrush soaked in white vinegar. The vinegar will dissolve the slightest remaining ink.


A mixture of cornstarch and milk effectively removes ink stains from clothes. Make a thick paste, apply it to the area and give it a few minutes to dry. Once it hardens, brush it off and wash normally.


Had you ever thought that butter could eliminate stains like tattoo ink from denim and cotton garments? Rub medium-textured salted butter on the stain and expose it to direct sunlight.

Butter will loosen up the ink stain. Salted butter is recommended since the salt content when combined with sunlight fades residual marks.

Can I use lemon juice to remove tattoo ink stain?

Many people use lemon juice to bleach out stains from fabrics, which is not different from tattoo ink stains. Apply fresh lemon juice onto the stained area and let it soak for a while. Wash your fabric according to the manufacturer’s instructions and let it dry under the sun.

Can tattoo ink stains be removed after drying?

You may sometimes notice a tattoo ink stain after you have washed and dried your garments. While most of the above methods work well on wet ink, you can still remove dried ink stains; however, it will take more time and effort. First, apply rubbing alcohol on the stained area and blot out the ink as it melts. When you notice the ink has reduced, wash the fabric in laundry detergent and hot water (please note the type of material before using hot water). Rinse and dry outdoors.


Timing is an important aspect when talking about removing a tattoo ink stain from any fabric. It is best that you remove it before it soaks in, as it will be harder to eliminate. Applying heat to the stain will make it more stubborn and daunting to remove. Make sure you treat any tattoo ink as soon as it occurs.

Also read:

1. How to Get Free Tattoo on Your Body: Proven Method
2. Read unbiased tattoo stencil machines reviews by an expert tattooist.

About the author

I’m S.R Bhuiyan, a proud Tattoo artist. I will share the body art journey with you here in PrettyJust. I have 10+ years of experience in the field of tattoo, piercing, nail art, and skincare. Check out my bio which has my tattoo studio/cat/travel pics!

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