Have you ever had a ball point pen explode in your pocket, purse, or backpack? Well, maybe I shouldn’t use the term explode, but it seems like that doesn’t it? Ink gets on everything. You reach inside and pull out a blue hand. What is that? Where is that coming from? As you dig, it just keeps getting worse. I used to reach for the rubbing alcohol. The alcohol seemed to dissolve the ink just enough to spread it further. Today, I have learned a few things regarding ink removal as a professional carpet cleaner providing carpet cleaning in Clarksville, Md
For our purposes I found an article that explains the The Science of Ink Stain Removal. This article does an incredible job of explaining ink, it’s makeup, and the science of ink removal. They refer to their own product a good deal which is okay by me. That’s there business. I’m not affiliated with them, nor am I endorsing the product. I took you to the link for information only.
The article explains that not all inks are the same. My rubbing alcohol failed for a reason. Manufacturers make some inks to dissolve in water and other inks to dissolve in oil-based solvents. In the past I used rubbing alcohol, basically a water-based solvent, on an oil-based ink. Of course, it failed. Many of the sites I looked at recommended using hair spray to remove ink. Hair spray has alcohol in it and again will only work on water-based ink stain. It also has glues and binders in it to keep your hair in place. I really can’t imagine spraying hair spray on my carpet.
I often encourage my customers to keep or to buy a scrap piece of carpet identical to the carpet in their home. Why? You can use it as a test piece for difficult stains. Take your carpet scrap. Put a sample of the offending ink on it. Blot it from the outside of the stain to the inside. How well does it blot? Practice your blotting technique. Never rub a carpet.
Now try a little water on the ink. Blot. Does it dissolve? If not, put a little mild soap in the water. Blot. Now does it dissolve? No? Try rubbing alcohol. Blot. If you haven’t moved the ink, then you probably have a solvent based ink. Many modern inks including printer and copier ink do come in a solvent other than water. Blot the stain on your carpet scrap thoroughly to remove the water.
Now, lets move on to a solvent based ink. I read on line posts about people putting all kinds of things on their carpet including penetrating oil. I don’t think I’d want to add oil to the problem. Purchase some dry cleaning fluid at your hardware store. Drop a small amount of the fluid in the middle of the sample stain on your scrap. Blot. Does it move the stain? You know you have made process when you see ink wicking into your blotting rag. Dry cleaning fluid should move most solvent based ink stains. If not, try some of the commercial ink stain removers on your sample. Test for color fastness on the scrap.
Once you have found something which moves the stain effectively, then you can move to your in-house carpet. Work from the outside edge of the stain in to prevent spreading. Go slowly. Use the least amount of solvent necessary. Blot often.
Hope this information is helpful.