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How Not to Handle an Ink Stain

Matt recently came home from work with a small but very dark ink dot at the bottom of the pocket on his shirt.  He pointed to it and asked, “Can you get this out?”  I knew I couldn’t but replied, “I’ll try.”  As I was giving him my response, I was immediately thinking about this blog post.  You see, I wanted to conduct an experiment and decided that the perfect opportunity had just presented itself.  I’ve seen so many posts on the internet about how hairspray can get out ink stains, and while I’m not a stain removal expert, I’ve worked for A Cleaner World for over 20 years now, and in that time, I’ve learned a few things.  One of those things is that hairspray doesn’t work on ink stains.

I sprayed the shirt with hairspray, and the small but intense dot ran and became a large dot and a smear.  I made things worse, which is exactly what I expected.  But now what?  When in doubt, call Mike Smith, Vice President of Operations.  I brought Mike up-to-date on my experiment and asked him what my next step should be.

“I think your experiment is complete,” Mike said.  “Adding hairspray, which contains alcohol, not only causes the stain to spread, it also changes the dynamic of the stain, making it more difficult for a professional to remove.  Washing it isn’t going to remove the stain; it will simply add another layer for the dry cleaner to deal with.”  He went onto explain that intense ink stains, even if they are super small, are incredibly difficult to remove.  Professional dry cleaners have a bit of an advantage given the spotting agents and specialized equipment they have access to.  “For hairspray to work on an ink stain, it has to be the perfect combination,” he explained, “a light graze of ink brushed over a garment, the right type of ink, and the right aerosol hairspray.  Whenever someone has an ink stain, I always recommend they take it to a professional.”

Experiment concluded, and lesson learned.  Sometimes home remedies work, but in this instance it doesn’t.  If you are faced with an ink stain, take my advice and drop it off at your nearest A Cleaner World location.  You have a much better chance of saving your garment.



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