What Is The Best Way To Remove Highlighter From Clothes? Update 06/2022

It’s all too simple to smear a highlighter on your clothes when helping your kids with schoolwork or looking over the material you brought home from the workplace! When this happens, you’re left with a neon-colored stain that appears to be permanent. Fortunately, you can learn how to remove highlighter from clothing using items you probably already have around the house!

The simplest approach to get highlighter stains out of clothes is to use rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, or specialized ink removers on the stain right away. The stain can also be removed by rubbing it with washing detergent or a dry-cleaning solution. In some cases, salt water or vinegar combined with a baking solution would suffice.

Learn why highlighter ink is so difficult to erase in this article. There are also nine other ways to get rid of these stains. Finally, you’ll learn how to remove highlighter stains from your mattress, couch, or carpet.

How To Get Highlighter Out Of Clothes

Does Highlighter Wash Out of Clothes?

A highlighter stain will fade in an ordinary washing machine cycle, but it will not be entirely removed. A stain solution will almost probably be required to remove a bright highlighter stain off garments.

Never put clothing that has been discolored by a highlighter in the dryer until the stain has been completely removed. The heat may make it harder to remove the neon color in the future!

Many highlighter pens include water-soluble ink, which means that rinsing the damaged area of your garment in water quickly will likely remove a lot of the color. Keep in mind, however, that Sharpie highlighters do not contain water-soluble ink.

The ink used in most highlighter pens is made up of a specific glycol solvent, water, and a little amount of fluorescent color pigment. Washable children’s markers, on the other hand, employ a sort of alcohol as the solvent rather than glycol. Glycol is also used in some printer inkjet cartridges.

To be honest, most ink varieties will not totally wash out of garments in a standard washing machine cycle. The good news is that a few simple household chemicals applied as stain removers can frequently work wonders!

How to Get Highlighter Out of Clothes: 9 Easy Methods

Try one of these simple stain removal procedures the next time you see a highlighter stain on your clothes! When used as cleaning products, common home items can frequently provide amazing effects.

Please keep in mind that different types of fabric will react differently to different products. Any product containing alcohol, for example, should not be used on wool, silk, acetone, or rayon.

Always try a new cleaning product on a hidden portion of your garment and let it sit for a few minutes before using it on the rest of your garment. You’re okay to go if the product doesn’t harm the cloth.

1. Rubbing Alcohol

Dealmed Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol 70% USP, First Aid Antiseptic, 16 fl. oz, (2 Pack)

One of the most common household products for stain removal is rubbing alcohol. It successfully dissolves a wide range of stains. It works on grass, pen, and grease stains.

Using isopropyl alcohol with a higher alcohol level, such as 70%, can improve the impact even more. Simply operate in a well-ventilated location and thoroughly wash your hands after handling this stronger type of alcohol.

Follow these simple procedures to remove a highlighter stain with rubbing alcohol:

  1. Underneath the stained area, place a pad of folded paper towels. As it soaks through the cloth, the alcohol and ink will be absorbed, stopping the ink from spreading throughout the rest of the garment.
  2. Soak a cotton ball in the alcohol to remove a minor stain. Gently dab the affected area. Scrubbing at the ink will most likely smear it onto portions of your clothing that aren’t damaged!
  3. If you have a large highlighter smear to deal with, lay the clothing over a sink or pail and pour the alcohol directly over the affected region.
  4. After that, dab the stain with clean paper towels on both sides. On the white paper towels, there should be a lot of ink!
  5. To guarantee complete removal of the neon ink, you may need to repeat the cotton ball or alcohol pouring method multiple times.
  6. Run the clothing into the laundry with your regular detergent to complete the process. You might wish to start by pinning a safety pin to your garment to mark the stain’s position. This can assist you in locating the proper location to check to verify if all of the ink has been removed after washing!
  7. Remove the wet clothing from the washing machine and check it thoroughly to ensure that all of the ink has been removed. If that’s the case, throw it in the dyer!
  8. If you still have a fading blotch on your clothes, try the alcohol approach again. You may need to repeat the step to entirely remove a stain.

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar

ARM & HAMMER Pure Baking Soda 8 oz (Pack of 6)

Ink stains can also be easily removed using vinegar and either cornstarch or baking soda. Because you may need to let the vinegar/baking soda mixture soak overnight, this process may take a little longer. It is, however, cost-effective and simple!

Vinegar and baking soda can be used to remove a variety of stains, even persistent red wine stains!

Why is vinegar so effective in removing stains? Many stains contain acid, and vinegar’s increased acidity allows it to breakdown the stain’s components!

To utilize the vinegar technique, follow these steps!

  1. To begin, thoroughly soak the afflicted region in vinegar. You might lay your clothes over a clean bucket and pour the vinegar over the soiled spot.
  2. After that, combine 3 tablespoons baking soda or cornstarch with 1 tablespoon vinegar. To make a thick paste, combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  3. Rub the paste into the highlighter ink with your fingertips or a paper towel. The paste should, in theory, produce a thick layer over the entire affected region. If you need additional paste, add a little more vinegar and baking soda to the mix.
  4. Allow the clothing to sit for at least one night. The paste should be dry and crumbly in the morning. Remove the flaking fragments by shaking them off.
  5. Then, using your standard detergent, put the item in the washing machine.
  6. Make a thorough examination of your clothing for any lingering color. If you can’t find any, toss the clothing in the dryer nonetheless!

Vinegar and baking soda are an all-natural stain remover that works on a variety of fabrics. However, you should not use vinegar on a delicate fabric such as silk.

3. Hand Sanitizer

Amazon Brand - Solimo Hand Sanitizer, Original Scent, 67.6 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)

Many stains, including lipstick, chili sauce, ink, and even blood, are easily removed with hand sanitizer. This allows you a quick, convenient option to cure stains when you’re away from your laundry room, whether you’re at work or out and about.

Both ethyl and isopropyl alcohol are present at high percentages in most hand sanitizers. When applied to a stain, hand sanitizer works in the same way as rubbing alcohol!

However, some fabrics may be bleached due to the high alcohol content. This bleaching will be particularly noticeable on silk, suede, and leather. Dark-colored fabrics, in general, do not respond as well to the application of alcohol as light-colored fabrics do.

Apart from that, if you find highlighter ink on your white blouse immediately before an important work meeting, hand sanitizer can rescue the day!

If you need to get rid of ink quickly, try this method:

  1. Using a tissue, paper towel, or white napkin, squirt a dab of hand sanitizer.
  2. Another tissue should be pressed against the back of the discolored region.
  3. Wet the tissue and dab it on the stain. Always blot rather than rubbing or scrub! You don’t want to amplify the stain.
  4. Hold the moist patch under running water for a minute if possible to eliminate any remaining ink particles. If you can’t (and you don’t want a large wet patch on your shirt before a business event! ), gently press the area between two clean tissues or paper towels to dry it as much as possible.

4. Hair Spray

SexyHair Big Spray & Play Harder Firm Volumizing Hairspray, 10 Oz | All Day Hold and Shine | Up to 72 Hour Humidity Resistance

Although hardly everyone keeps hair spray on hand as they did in the 1980s, if you do have a spray bottle in your pocket or bathroom cabinet, you can use it to remove ink!

You should study the ingredient label on your hairspray before attempting this procedure. This procedure should work if the product contains alcohol!

Some contemporary hair products, on the other hand, do not contain alcohol. Many “old housewife” advice can be found online, and many of them claim that hairspray will erase any stain. This is only true if the spray you’re using contains alcohol!

With that proviso in mind, you can attempt this procedure if you use hairspray with alcohol in it! This is particularly effective on synthetic textiles like polyester.

  1. Apply a few spritzes of hairspray to the soiled area, enough such that the moisture can be felt on the wrong side of the cloth.
  2. Allow five to ten minutes for the clothes to dry. The hairspray will begin to stiffen and crackle around the edges during this period.
  3. After that, take your clothes to a sink and run lukewarm water over the ink area. Hopefully, the hairspray has loosened the ink particles so that they can be carried away by the water!
  4. If the stain’s rim still visible after rinsing, repeat the method from the beginning.

5. Ink Remover

Amodex Products Inc 104 Ink & Stain Remover 4oz

Using an official ink remover is an obvious approach to remove ink! Amodex, for example, has soap-like properties that allow it to dissolve ink stains without harming the cloth.

This ink remover should work on highlighter, sharpie, and normal ballpoint pen ink.

Of course, you’ll need to buy an ink-removing product, so this isn’t the most cost-effective technique. However, you should have a little bottle on hand in case of future mishaps!

To use an ink remover like Amodex, follow these steps:

  1. To test for colorfastness, dab a tiny drop of ink remover onto an unnoticeable part of the clothing. Some soaps and stain removers can cause damage to delicate materials.
  2. On the wrong side of the clothing, place a folded paper towel beneath the ink area. The ink won’t seep through to the back of your shirt, jeans, or dress this way!
  3. If the bottle advises to, give the solution a good shake.
  4. Using a squirt bottle, squirt the ink remover straight onto the stain. Many stain-removers work better on dry fabric, so you don’t have to get the fabric wet.
  5. Rub the ink remover into the stain with a brush or another paper towel.
  6. You may need to let the stain remover rest on the stain for many hours, depending on the kind you buy. Timing should be done according to the instructions on the box.
  7. Finally, rinse the stain remover out of your garment and wash it as usual!

6. Salt Water

Salt can be used to clear stains in two separate methods. Both are effective against pen, blood, and grease!

  • Mix 12 cup salt with enough cold water to make a thick paste for the first procedure.
  • Use the paste to cover the ink stain on your clothing.
  • Allow ten to twenty minutes for this mixture to rest.
  • Using cool running water, rinse away the salt.
  • Use ordinary laundry soap to wash the item.

On a fresh stain, the second option works best.

  • Rub a teaspoon of dried salt into the highlighter ink for the second procedure.
  • Allow 10 minutes for the salt to absorb.
  • Put the inky area in a small basin of milk and soak it overnight.
  • Cool the milk before rinsing it.
  • Use ordinary laundry detergent to clean the clothes.

Salt should never be used on a dry-clean-only fabric. Also, make sure you thoroughly rinse away all of the salt, since residual salt can leave traces on a variety of surfaces!

As a bonus, adding 12 cup of table salt to your wash can help prevent ink from bleeding when washing new clothes for the first time!

7. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice has the capacity to naturally erase stains such as sweat, ink, and mildew. If you’ve ever considered dumping the commercial cleaning supplies in your home in favor of cleaning and laundry with natural items, you’re definitely familiar with lemon juice.

What is the effect of lemon juice on stains? Its high acidity dissolves a wide variety of stains. Lemon juice also has a powerful whitening effect, so it can brighten your light-colored garments.

You can use lemon juice to cure highlighter ink in two different ways.

  1. Cut a lemon in half and massage it vigorously over the stain.
  2. Connect a handheld steamer or an iron with a steam function to the electrical outlet.
  3. Hold the steamer near to the fabric to soak the damaged area with steam.
  4. Much of the discoloration should disintegrate and wash away if you rinse the area with lukewarm water.

The second option is as follows:

  1. Lemon juice should be placed in a small cup or bowl. Fresh juice is ideal, but you can also use bottled juice.
  2. Place the stained section of the garment in the cup to let the lemon juice to soak up the stain.
  3. If you have an old stain or one that is particularly huge, you may wish to soak it overnight. If not, one hour should sufficient!
  4. Scrub the lemon juice into the ink-stained region with about a tablespoon of salt.
  5. Hopefully, the stain will vanish right before your eyes!
  6. All that’s left is to completely rinse away the lemon juice and salt.

8. Laundry Detergent

Gain flings! Laundry Detergent Soap Pods, High Efficiency (HE), Original Scent, 81 Count

Some highlighter stains, especially those with water-soluble ink, can be removed with laundry detergent.

You’re probably thinking that it said earlier in the post that washing won’t get rid of the stain! Yes, it is correct! It’s unlikely that washing highlighter-stained garments will completely erase the stain.

Direct application of undiluted laundry detergent, on the other hand, may work!

  1. Blot the ink stain carefully between two clean white cloths or paper towels if it still feels damp to the touch. The ink should transfer to the clothes in some way.
  2. After that, pour one teaspoon of washing detergent on the spot. You don’t want to rub the stain around, but you do want to make sure the detergent gets all the way around the damaged area.
  3. Allow for a five-minute soak in the detergent.
  4. Finally, wash the clothing by itself in the washing machine. You won’t want to put any other clothes in the wash since the ink could transfer to them!
  5. Make that the ink is no longer visible on the garment. If it didn’t, instead of placing the clothes in the dryer, repeat the process.

9. Dry Cleaning Liquid

If you get highlighter ink on a piece of pricey dry-clean-only apparel, you can attempt removing it with a dry cleaning solution.

Tetrachloroethylene, often known as perchloroethylene, or “perc,” is a chemical included in most dry cleaning solvents. Handle with caution because this solvent is both flammable and highly poisonous.

Please keep in mind that you cannot wash or dry-clean a garment that contains dry-cleaning solvent! The combustible chemical could catch fire due to the heat. If you use this procedure, you’ll have to wash your clothes by hand afterwards.

  1. To begin, use a clean white cloth to apply a little amount of the solvent. It normally comes in the shape of a powder, so simply dab the cloth into it.
  2. To ensure that the solvent does not destroy the fabric, test it on an inconspicuous section of the clothing.
  3. After that, dab the ink with the solvent-soaked cloth. The ink should transfer to the cleaning cloth.
  4. Rep with another place on the cleaning cloth, using only a small amount of the solvent each time, until the stain is gone.
  5. After this, remember to hand wash, rinse, and air dry the clothing!

How Do You Remove Old Highlighter Stains?

To erase an old highlighter stain, you can use any of the ways described in this article, though rubbing alcohol is likely to be the most effective.

You can also use nail polish remover instead of rubbing alcohol on some sorts of materials. This potent product is capable of dissolving a wide range of stains, including those that are old and obstinate. However, you must exercise caution because the acetone in nail polish remover can harm fabric types such as silk, wool, or any non-colorfast material.

Finally, if you’re in a pinch, you can use the freezer method. Soak the soiled clothing in a bath of saltwater, wring it out a little so it’s not too wet, and then freeze it!

Freeze it overnight, then thaw it and throw it in the washing machine.

How to Get Highlighter Out of Your Fabric Couch, Carpet, and Mattress

Many of the items discussed in this article can be used to remove highlighter stains from your fabric couch, carpet, or mattress, but you may need to follow a slightly different procedure. This is due to the fact that you cannot wash your couch or run it under the kitchen faucet!

Instead, use a pad of paper towels or a clean white rag to dab the product, such as rubbing alcohol. Then blot the stain on the couch, carpet, or mattress with this. As the ink transfers from the discolored surface to your cleaning cloth, you’ll probably need to keep replacing the paper towel or rag with a fresh one.

When the stain is no longer visible, fetch another clean rag, dunk it in hot water, and blot with it, making sure to remove the cleaning chemical you used as well!

How Do You Get Sharpie Highlighter Out of a Comforter?

Blotting the stain with rubbing alcohol is your best bet for getting highlighter ink out of a comforter. You don’t want to saturate the stain with alcohol or scrub at it in any way! Instead of eliminating the neon ink, this could smear it.

Instead, carefully wipe the discoloration with a clean rag or paper towel dampened with alcohol. Repeat until there is no more ink visible.

Because rubbing alcohol destroys both water-soluble and permanent ink, this approach should work on a white bedspread as well.


Don’t freak out the next time you see neon ink on your clothes! You now know nine simple methods for removing even the toughest highlighter ink stains.

The discoloration can be readily removed with rubbing alcohol, vinegar, hand sanitizer, hair spray, or laundry detergent. Lemon juice or salt water are examples of natural products that can be useful. Finally, commercial products such as an ink remover or a dry cleaning solution can be used.

Have you ever managed to get a highlighter stain out of your clothes? What was the name of the product you used? Please let us know in the comments section below!

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