When it comes to trying to make sure that clothes stay clean, it can be quite the chore when you have rambunctious children who love to run around wildly. Chances are that you will end up cleaning a lot of different clothes that have all sorts of questionable stains on them.
To make things easier on yourself, one of the best things that you can do is to make sure that you know how to clean out some of the more common stains.
Out of these common stains, some of the most daunting are going to be the bright and obvious ones, such as the ink from a highlighter.
Whether the stain was something that came as an accident, or whether your children thought it was a good idea to draw on something they shouldn’t have, it is important to stay calm and make sure that the stain doesn’t set in, especially if it is a very noticeable one.
Thankfully, removing a highlighter stain is actually fairly simple, and can be done with relative ease, as long as you get to the stain before it permanently sets into the fabric.
As for any materials you are going to need, all you will really need to look for is rubbing alcohol, cotton swabs or paper towels, and that’s it. Before you know it, the highlighter-colored fabric will be as good as new once again, free from any stains.
There are a few different routes you can go down, but the most common and most effective one is going to be to use rubbing alcohol to get rid of the stain.
Relying on Rubbing Alcohol
When you first think of the idea of using rubbing alcohol to get rid of a highlighter stain, you might be concerned at first. After all, wouldn’t the rubbing alcohol cause problems with making the stain spread or damaging the color of the original clothing underneath it?
The answer is that, while there is always going to be the potential for this to happen, as long as you are careful and know what you are doing, you will be ready to go.
First things first, before you even get the rubbing alcohol out, you will want to mark the area that you are cleaning up. While it might seem obvious where the stains are when they are bright and stand out, after a single wash you might not know here to look for the stains.
This can leave you walking around with a shirt that still has highlighter on it, and this is something that many, many people can appreciate.
You will also want to make sure that you take the worst of the stain off as soon as you can. When you are able to get the excess highlighter ink off of your clothes before it really sets in is something that most parents appreciate as well as the children.
This also means that if you have paper towels nearby, as soon as you notice the stain, you should lightly dab it.
From here, you can begin applying the rubbing alcohol to your clothes. The important thing to remember about this step is that you should always, always try to find an inconspicuous place to test the stain remover. You will want to make sure that it doesn’t bleach your fabric or affect the texture of the clothes you are wearing.
Typically, the place where you will test the rubbing alcohol will be on the seam or on the inside of the article of clothing. By making sure that the rubbing alcohol is safe to use to remove your highlighter stains, you can rest assured knowing that the job will get done in a quick and timely manner, without having to purchase anything later.
Now that the rubbing alcohol has been tested and deemed safe to be used on the fabric you are working with, you will then want to make sure that you do a proper job dabbing up as much of the ink as you can.
What should end up happening is the stain (alongside the rubbing alcohol) should come off onto the paper towels before any notable staining has occurred. From here, you can simply wash the clothing as you normally would.
Keep in mind that if the stain is faded, but still there, you can always repeat this process again to get a better result. Within one to two washes, all of the highlighter ink should be out of the fabric, leaving you with a beautiful piece of fabric.
One thing that you can consider doing when it is time to wash the clothes is letting the article of clothing in question sit and soak in some salt-water for a couple of hours. This will further help to drive away any dirt or make up for the time that it takes to remove the stain.
If needed, you can also replace the rubbing alcohol with acetone, or typical nail polish remover. You can follow the steps the exact same way, simply replacing the rubbing alcohol with acetone, rather than anything else.
This method, while being one of the most effective and the most widely used, is not the only method for getting rid of highlighter stains. The other method that you can consider is often more expensive and harder to find the materials for, but for a family, this can quickly become a quick learning opportunity to learn how to do laundry.
Solving the Problem with Solvent
If you do not have any rubbing alcohol and you are unable to get some at the moment, you might feel at a loss as to what you should do next.
Thankfully, there are other ways that you can go about attempting to get rid of highlighter ink. For instance, you can consider using a solvent instead of rubbing alcohol.
A common solvent that many people use is hand sanitizer. Some people choose to use hairspray instead. Both of these solvents can get the job done and the one that you choose will not have an overall impact over the other solvent on your highlighter-colored fabric.
For solvents, you will want to follow down the same path as the steps for rubbing alcohol outline. Typically this involves making sure that the solvent can be used on the current piece of fabric you are working on, and you can do this by blotting out a clean area with the solvent and seeing if there is any damage.
After all, you don’t want to spread the highlighter ink deeper into the fibers of the fabric.
Once you have decided that the solvent is a good replacement for the rubbing alcohol, you will want to begin by applying the solvent to the stain. You will want to apply it to a clean cloth and gently dab the area where the highlighter ink marked the fabric. You should keep applying the solvent and repeating the procedure, for the best results.
From here, you will want to put the fabric into a container of icy, cold, saltwater. You will want to make sure that the container you are putting the fabric in is big enough.
Finally, you will want to get to cleaning the piece of fabric that had highlighter on it. This should be the simplest part of cleaning off highlighter ink, as all you will want to follow the instructions on the care label.
Remember to always double check the area that was stained to make sure that everything is gone the first time.
Why Remove the Highlighter?
There are a few reasons why you might want to get rid of the highlighter in your clothes. For one, most of the time, highlighters are very brightly colored, drawing negative attention toward your shirt. This is something that most people do not really want.
Speaking of the stain itself, depending on where you get the highlighter stain and how dense of a stain it is, it can actually end up staining your skin as well. This gives you all the more reason to make sure that every visible part of the highlighter is removed.
By choosing to get rid of the highlighter stain as fast as you can, you can rest assured knowing that the damage will be minimal and that you can get back to not worrying nearly as much about the appearance of your fabric.
Whether it was the upholstery or your favorite shirt that had highlighter on it, it is a good thing that highlighter is one of the easiest things to remove from clothing. Before you know it, you will be looking good without any highlighter-stained clothing.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.