Splattering of inks stains ready to be cleaned with hand sanitizer

Can You Wash Ink Stains with Hand Sanitizer?

Ink stains are notorious for their tenacity, often leaving a lasting mark on clothes, furniture, and other materials. Whether it’s a leaking pen in the pocket, an accidental brush of the hand, or an art project gone awry, we’ve all faced the challenge of removing these stubborn stains.

While numerous commercial products promise effective ink removal, sometimes the solution can be found in everyday household items. One such item that has gained attention recently after covid is hand sanitizer.

Hand sanitizers, particularly those rich in alcohol, can effectively break down and lift ink stains from various materials. Paired with items like salt or dish soap, hand sanitizer offers multiple methods for tackling stubborn ink marks. For optimal results, always spot test and follow with regular laundering.

The following are details of these variations of hand sanitizer methods of cleaning ink stains.

Basic Hand Sanitizer Technique To Wash Ink Stains

Hand sanitizers, particularly those with alcohol, can be effective in breaking down the composition of ink. This makes it easier to remove the stain from various materials. The following steps guide you through the process.

  1. Spot Test: Before applying the hand sanitizer, conduct a spot test on a hidden part of the material to ensure it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration.
  2. Generous Application: Dab a sufficient amount of hand sanitizer directly onto the ink stain.
  3. Gentle Rubbing: Use a soft cloth or your finger to gently rub the hand sanitizer into the stain. Start from the outer edges and work your way toward the center to prevent the ink from spreading.
  4. Wait and Observe: Allow the hand sanitizer to work its magic on the stain for about 10 minutes.
  5. Rinse: Rinse the treated area with cold water, checking if the stain has faded. If remnants of the stain persist, consider repeating the process.
  6. Regular Wash: Once the stain appears lighter, launder the item following the care instructions.

Hand Sanitizer and Salt Combo To Wash Ink Stains

Combining hand sanitizer with salt can offer a potent solution for more persistent ink stains. The grainy texture of salt aids in lifting the stain, while the hand sanitizer works on breaking down the ink.

  1. Preparation: Always start by checking the fabric’s care label. This helps ensure that neither salt nor hand sanitizer will harm the material.
  2. Spot Testing: Test a small, hidden section of the material with the hand sanitizer and salt mixture to gauge any adverse reactions.
  3. Application: Apply a liberal amount of hand sanitizer to the ink stain.
  4. Salt Sprinkling: Gently sprinkle table salt over the applied hand sanitizer, covering the stain.
  5. Massage the Mixture: With a soft cloth, gently massage the salt and hand sanitizer mixture into the stain. This action can help in breaking up the ink particles.
  6. Patience is Key: Let the mixture sit on the stain for about 15 minutes. This gives it time to penetrate and act on the ink.
  7. Rinse: After waiting, rinse the treated spot using cold water to wash away the salt and loosened ink particles.
  8. Laundering: Clean the item according to its washing instructions to remove any remaining residue.

Hand Sanitizer and Dish Soap Duo To Wash Ink Stains

Hand sanitizer paired with dish soap creates an efficient solution for tackling stubborn ink stains. While hand sanitizer targets the ink molecules, dish soap is designed to break down a variety of stubborn residues.

  1. Preparation: Begin by reading the fabric’s care label. This ensures the material is compatible with both hand sanitizer and dish soap.
  2. Spot Testing: Apply a tiny mixture of hand sanitizer and dish soap to a discreet section of the material to check for unwanted reactions.
  3. Application: Dab the stained area with an ample amount of hand sanitizer.
  4. Dish Soap Addition: Place a few drops of dish soap atop the hand sanitizer. This combination aids in enhanced stain removal.
  5. Gentle Massage: With a soft sponge or cloth, massage the mixture into the stain. This helps in ensuring the mixture penetrates deep into the stain.
  6. Waiting Period: Let the mixture work on the stain for around 10 minutes. This duration allows it to effectively break down the ink.
  7. Rinse: After the waiting period, wash off the mixture using cold water, assessing the stain’s status.
  8. Cleaning: If the stain appears diminished, proceed to clean the item following its specified care guidelines.


How effective is hand sanitizer in removing ink stains?

Hand sanitizers, especially those rich in alcohol content, possess properties that can break down ink stains. Their efficacy can vary, taking into account the kind of ink and the fabric involved. While many users report positive results, the outcome might differ based on specific conditions.

Can you use hand sanitizer to remove ink stains from leather?

Yes, hand sanitizer can be a potential solution for leather stains. But caution is advised. Before using hand sanitizer on a larger area, always do a test on a small hidden section of the leather. After treatment, it’s recommended to condition the leather to ensure it remains soft and retains its natural shine.

How does hand sanitizer help remove ink stains?

The main component in many hand sanitizers is alcohol. Alcohol acts as a solvent, which means it can dissolve and disintegrate the ink’s chemical bonds. This action helps in detaching the ink from the surface it’s on, making it easier to wipe or wash away.

How long should you let the hand sanitizer sit on the stain before washing it?

Allowing the hand sanitizer to remain on the stain for a period of about 10 minutes is generally a good practice. This gives the alcohol ample time to act on the ink. Depending on the severity of the stain, you might need to extend the duration or repeat the process.

What other household items can be used to remove ink stains?

There are several household items you might consider for ink stain removal. Some popular choices include milk, which can act as a solvent for some inks; cornstarch, which can absorb fresh ink spills; lemon juice, known for its natural bleaching properties; and rubbing alcohol or hairspray, both of which contain solvents that can break down ink. When using any of these methods, always test on a small area before wider application.


Ink stains, while stubborn, can be tackled with everyday items like hand sanitizer. By understanding the properties of hand sanitizers and combining them with other household ingredients, one can effectively combat these pesky stains. Always remember to spot test any method before full application to ensure the safety of the material. With a bit of patience and the right technique, your items can be free from ink stains in no time.