Ink is always difficult to clean from a variety of different surfaces. Ink is usually made from a number of different chemicals, and you need to be very careful about how you use it. If you aren’t, there’s a strong chance that you will end up getting the ink on surfaces that you don’t want.
Ballpoint ink, fountain pen ink, or other types of ink will often find its way into the worst of places. It doesn’t matter how careful and diligent you are in keeping the place neat and clean, there is always a risk that a small accident will cause the ink to splatter all over the surface.
Getting ink stains out of clothes is hard enough as it is; you have to wash them time and time again, and you need to be very careful that you keep them away from other clothes in the house. However, what do you do with plastic? Removing ink stains from plastic is incredibly difficult.
If you get ink over a plastic surface in your house, you will end up causing serious damage to it. For instance, the ink from a permanent marker is designed to be incredibly hardy and resilient, and you won’t be able to rub off the stain.
More importantly, rubbing isn’t really recommended, because it can also cause damage to the plastic surface.
Now, if you search online, you will find a bunch of different cleaners that can do a good job. However, you need to know some of the most popular cleaners in the market, such as acetone, can cause permanent damage to the plastic surface.
This is why cleaning the plastic surfaces is trickier than it seems; you need to make sure that you use a variety of unconventional techniques to get rid of the problem.
In the following few paragraphs, we will talk about a variety of strategies that you can use to remove the ink stains from the plastic surfaces.
1 – Using a Dry Erase Marker
The first and arguably the simplest method that you can use to remove ink stains from plastic is to use a dry erase marker.
A dry erase marker is designed to specifically remove ink stains from different surfaces. Keep in mind that the color doesn’t really matter, though it’s always better if you choose a marker with a darker shade.
Ideally, this method works best when you are trying to clean dry erase boards. More importantly, it’s also completely safe for use on smooth plastic surfaces.
Keep in mind that the method doesn’t work as well on textured surfaces, but you can always use another strategy that we will talk about later on.
Just take a dry erase marker and draw over the stain. Take great care to cover only the stain, since you don’t want other parts of the plastic surface being affected. If the plastic surface is clean, then you can just draw over the stain freely with minimal hassle.
Once you have drawn over the stain freely, the next step is to let it rest for a few minutes. Finally, take a soft cloth in your hands and then rub it all over the surface. The solvents will remove the ink from the plastic surface. In some situations, the ink will not be removed fully.
Instead, certain lines and stains will remain. Rather than use the dry erase marker again and again (it’s not going to be as effective anymore), you should consider using a glass cleaner.
Glass cleaners are also quite effective in removing the stains, especially those that have already been weakened by the ink on the plastic.
2 – Magic Erasers
As the name suggests, magic eraser sponges are designed to remove ink from unlikely surfaces.
Thankfully, magic eraser sponges are readily available, and you will easily spot them in the cleaning department of your local grocery store. They are usually white in color, and have a shape similar to a small brick.
It’s always recommended that you buy a plain magic eraser. Do not buy one that contains any sort of additives such as bleach in it. Then, you need to cut the sponge into smaller pieces. Use a simple knife at home to cut the sponge into smaller pieces.
A larger sponge is always difficult to work with, and you are going to find it much easier with smaller pieces in your hand.
Then, you need to dip the sponge in a bit of water. If you have tried other methods and have been unable to get the stain out, you might want to consider switching out the water for rubbing alcohol.
Once you have soaked the sponge, just use circular motions to rub on the stain until it is completely gone.
Keep in mind that this requires a bit of patience on your part; the whole thing will take around five to ten minutes of rubbing at the very least before you get to see any results at all.
3 – Using Alcohol
Another fine option available to you when cleaning stains from plastic surfaces is to make use of rubbing alcohol.
Acetone, hand sanitizer, or even rubbing alcohol are useful, though you need to take care when using acetone. The chemicals that are found in marker ink can be dissolved by using any of these, but there are a few benefits and drawbacks. Let’s talk about those:
Rubbing alcohol is by far the safest substance that you can use. However, the effectiveness of rubbing alcohol is considerably low, and you will probably need to use it a few times before you are able to get the stains out properly.
Ideally, you should avoid buying rubbing alcohol that has been considerably diluted. Always buy rubbing alcohol of a higher percentage. For instance, you should buy alcohol that is 90% at the very least, or even more.
If you need to clean the stain from a curved surface, such as a bowl, you should consider using hand sanitizer. Unlike rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer is slightly more viscous, and as a result, it is capable of holding its form much better.
You will notice that the hand sanitizer doesn’t drip around the edges either, which is why you should consider using this around the curved surfaces.
Then, finally, we have acetone. It is arguably the most effective and the most powerful of all the substances here. Acetone-based cleaners are able to get the stains out from the plastic without any hassle.
However, you should know that acetone might end up melting certain surfaces as well. Therefore, it’s ideally not a wise choice to use on softer plastic surfaces, nor should you consider using it on painted surfaces.
If you have no other option and all other choices fail, you should always try to test it on an inconspicuous area in the beginning. Just dampen a ball of cloth in the acetone-based cleaner and then apply it on the area.
Leave it there for a few moments before you remove it quickly. Use another cloth to clean the whole thing.
There is a risk that the plastic might lose its color, or in some cases, it may appear distorted too. This indicates that using acetone isn’t a wise idea at all, and you should instead opt for a softer substance such as rubbing alcohol.
However, if the plastic holds its shape and there is no discoloration, you might want to try and use it on the painted surface to see what result it produces.
Always remember to wear rubber gloves before you decide to meddle with such harsh substances. You have to protect your skin first and foremost.
4 – Baking Soda and Toothpaste
Finally, we have the baking soda and the toothpaste technique. Baking soda and toothpaste are both common items found in houses almost everywhere in the world.
You will need one part baking soda and one part toothpaste, so it’s important that you gather your supplies first before you proceed further.
Always use toothpaste that has a completely white color (don’t go for the colored ones). It’s always recommended that you avoid using a toothpaste that is gel-based. The whiter one is much more abrasive and has a greater tendency to get the stains out as compared to the gel ones.
Remember, this method uses abrasive techniques for cleaning the stains, so it’s certainly not the right choice for use on painted surfaces. It could cause extensive damage and even remove the paint altogether.
Mix the two together, and you will end up with a thick paste. You just need to spread the paste all over the stain, and then scrub on it for a few minutes.
You will want to use a gentle scrubbing sponge to make sure that the stain is removed altogether. Once you are done, you can rinse it completely to see whether the stain has been removed or not.
These are just a few of the simple methods that you can use to remove the ink stains from plastic surfaces.
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.