Why Not To Clean An Ink Stain With Hairspray And What To Try Instead

Sometimes, it can be all too easy to find yourself with a dreaded ink stain. Oops. Ink stains can be a hassle to remove and can be made much worse through the use of incorrect removal methods. While it's easy to reach for the hairspray — rumor has it that it can remove ink stains — you should actually avoid doing so. 

Despite being touted as a worthy solution online, some hairsprays will likely not work to remove ink stains. Although this is likely disappointing news to hear, there are plenty of other effective ways that you can remove ink stains from your clothes or other items that may be a victim. You can even remove ink stains from leather furniture

Let's take a deeper look at exactly why hairspray won't often work on ink stains and discover some attractive alternatives that you can use to solve the issue. As a result, you should be left with ink-free garments in no time at all. So, what's the big secret? Let's break it down.

Alcohol-free hairspray won't remove ink stains

As it turns out, there's a good reason why hairspray doesn't mix well with ink stains. Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority, explains to Real Simple that "many modern hairsprays no longer include alcohol, which means they won't lift the stain. Instead, this cleaning hack may make the stain harder to remove."

Alcohol works to break down the stain. Without this useful ingredient, your hairspray will have difficulty combatting those annoying marks on your garments or other materials. So, if you want to remove your ink stains correctly with minimal fuss, it's probably best that you avoid this method altogether.

On this note, if you do want to try using a hairspray, then you should ensure that it has alcohol inside it; otherwise, your ink stain will remain. After all, the whole point of using these products is to remove the markings.

Helpful ways to actually remove ink stains

Thankfully, you have plenty of handy alternatives at your fingertips that you can use in place of hairspray. In fact, you'll likely already have them somewhere in your cupboard. If the ink stain is on clothing, one useful alternative is laundry detergent, which will work well with water-based ink stains (like most gel pens, washable markers, and rollerball pens).

"Because the ink is water-based (instead of oil), laundry detergents will be effective and spot stain treatments are effective," Guy Peters, owner of MOP STARS Cleaning Service, tells Reader's Digest, advising that you should "blot" instead of rub. "Remember, you're trying to transfer the ink from the clothing to the rag or paper towel not scrub it away." However, for best results, he advises ditching the hot water and using "cool or warm" water.

If you find that the stain is an oil-based stain, then you still have options. For example, you may want to try using a product known as Vanish, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer, as it contains alcohol. Applying these gently to the stain should help to break it down. If the ink stain is on clothing, you can then wash it as usual to remove the ink stain once and for all. All of these are great alternatives that you can use instead of hairspray.