how to get ink off your hands and clothesYuck! Ink! On your hands! Your clothes! Noooooo!

Chill out. We can fix this. Follow the steps below to get printer ink and toner off your hands and clothes.

Act Fast

The longer ink sits and soaks into your skin or clothes, the more difficult it is to remove. You’re going to want to blot away the excess ink immediately and rinse with cold water.

Out, Out, Inky Spot!

Dreaded inky fingers are inevitable. HP claims washing with gritty soap should remove its printer ink from your skin, but sometimes you need other, more intensive methods.

The First Wave

  • The ammonia in glass cleaners is good at dissolving printer ink. Spray some Windex on your inky fingers and let it sit for moment. Then rub your fingers together, and wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Hair spray can also remove ink from skin. Spray your inky fingers with hairspray and let it sit for moment. Rub your fingers together and wash with soap and water.
  • Baby oil can also break up ink stains on the skin. Rub some into the stain to loosen the ink, then wash your hands with soap and water.

The Second Wave

Still stained? You’ve got stubborn ink. No worries, we’ve got heavy duty cleaners to get that ink out. Lava soap and GoJo degreaser will often remove tough stains because it contains grit and solvents which abrade away ink stains on the skin. You could also try tea tree oil or nail polish remover, but both of those options are rather stinky.

The Final Assault

Everything else failed? Wow. You need a pumice stone. They use these down at the nail salon to take the dead skin off your gnarly feet, but you can also use one to scrap the ink off your hands too. A nail file, emory board, or sandpaper can also do the trick. We even saw a guy named Araem use Colgate toothpaste to remove stubborn ink stains from his hands. (Araem probably has minty fresh breath, too!)

Oh! My Clothes!

Removing ink from skin in one thing. Removing ink stains from fabric and clothes is another kettle of fish altogether…and stinks almost as bad!  It seems everybody has a “special secret” for removing ink stains from clothing…even your Grandma! Do a quick search for stain removal and you’ll find solutions that range from brilliant to bizarro. But the basics of removing ink stains from fabric remain the same. Get on it quick with cold water. Let it dry, then attack with cleaning solutions.   Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Denatured alcohol or methylated spirit (available at most hardware stores)
  • Cotton balls or pads
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Soapy water – optional

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Treat the stain immediately. Ink stains are very difficult to remove once they’ve set in.
  2. Check the laundry tag. If the ink-stained garment is washable, proceed to step three. If not, you’re heading to the dry cleaner.
  3. Saturate a cotton ball or pad with denatured alcohol and thoroughly moisten the stain.
  4. As the cotton picks up the ink, repeat step three until the cotton has absorbed all the ink and comes away clean. .
  5. Flush the stain with denatured alcohol and allow it to dry completely.
  6. Alcohol may not remove all water-based stains. If this is the case, wash the garment in lukewarm soapy water.
  7. If any ink remains on the garment, rub the stain with salt and let it sit in a bowl of milk overnight. Milk? Yeah, milk. Ink stains can be lifted out in the wash if you presoak them in a mixture of milk and lemon juice.
  8. Rinse the stain with cold water and launder as usual.

Keep It Cold

Cold water is your best buddy when it comes to ink stain removal from fabrics. Warm or hot water will “set” the color into the fabric. Oh, and don’t mix ammonia and bleach…you’ll create a toxic gas!

HP suggest you immediately risen the stained clothes with cold water. If ink from an HP Inkjet print cartridge spills on white fabric, use chlorine bleach and cold water to remove the stain. Can’t use bleach? Use a pre-treatment solution consisting of two tablespoons of liquid detergent, three tablespoons of white vinegar, and one quart warm water. If HP ink spills on a colored garment, use sudsy ammonia—a dilute mixture of detergent and ammonia—and cold water. Act quickly and test on a hidden area first.


Why is that ink cartridge leaking anyway? Who knows? You just want to get your hands and clothes clean. Using the methods outlined above, you can successfully accomplish both tasks the next time you encounter spilled ink. Just remember — bleach and ammonia don’t mix! Toxic!  Ultimately, you should kick that inkjet to the curb and treat yourself to a laser printer. It’ll last longer, run cheaper, and won’t leave you with dreaded ink fingers. Plus, you can sell off your unused, unexpired ink here!