Use These 9 Easy Hacks to Get Highlighter Out of Clothes

Stains are common happenings. But it would be much better if they leave as quickly as they stick onto surfaces. A stain like the fluorescent highlighter ink may dampen your skin or clothes while you do school or office paperwork. Even worse, it could mark your kids while they get creative with their leisure time.

When next you get stains like highlighter ink on your fabrics, do not panic. Find joy in the fact that your cabinets and drawers are the treasure troves that hold the solutions.

Rubbing alcohol, a laundry detergent, and a stain remover are a few on the list of materials used to remove highlighter stains.

So, if you’ve got the neon stains now, roll up your sleeves as we go on a house search for simple and helpful cleaning agents.

Simple Highlighter Ink Removal Materials

how to get highlighter out of clothes

1. Laundry Detergent

Some highlighters make use of water-soluble ink, and some do not. Your regular liquid laundry detergent is a very good combater of the water-soluble highlighter ink stain. Follow these steps to get rid of the unsightly stain:

  • If you’re dealing with more than one stained cloth, you’ll have to work on them one after the other, so you don’t get ink on the unstained areas.
  • Apply the laundry detergent directly onto the highlighter ink stain on your clothes.
  • Spread it all over the area. Then, allow the highlighter ink to absorb the detergent for some minutes.
  • Spin the clothes individually in the washing machine; spin as you would your regular laundry.
  • After spinning each cloth, check to see if the ink remains on the cloth. If it does, repeat the above processes until you’re satisfied.
  • When you are done, rather than drying the clothes in a dryer, allow them to dry in the sun. This way, you can be sure that there will be no shadow of highlighter stain on your clothes.
  • If you will rather wash with your hand, do not washing or scrub on the stained area. Otherwise, you’ll be allowing the stain to set in.
  • Gently use your fingers to rub on the area until you see the ink begin to fade.
  • When you’re washing the clothes, start with and focus on the previously stained area to effectively remove any other trace of highlighter ink.

Above all, you might have to spin and apply detergent more than once or twice. So, make sure you’re using a detergent that suits your fabrics, so you don’t ruin your clothes.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Everything you heard about rubbing alcohol’s versatility in removing household stains is true. However, you need to be very careful when you use this solution. Work in a well-ventilated area because of the fumes and do not allow children to use it by themselves.

  • Start with making thick pads of paper towels.
  • Then, place them underneath the stained areas of the clothes. When the ink begins to dissolve, it’ll naturally spread around the cloth, but this pad of towels will help to absorb the ink instead.
  • Dampen a cotton pad with rubbing alcohol.
  • Gently pat the highlighter ink stain with the cotton pad until you see the ink dissolve and transferred to the towels.
  • If the towels get soaked with ink, you can turn them over to a clean area or replace them.
  • Follow up with blotting the stain from both sides of the clothes with a new set of clean paper towels.
  • However, if you’ve got large highlighter stains on your clothes, gather the stained area and put it into a bowl.
  • Then, pour the alcohol over the affected area and allow it to sit, and dissolve the ink.
  • Repeat the process until you can no longer see the stain on your clothes.
  • Finally, wash the clothes individually focusing on the affected areas, and dry them appropriately.
  • Moreover, if you do not have rubbing alcohol, you can make do with hand sanitizer. It also contains isopropyl alcohol, an active ingredient of rubbing alcohol.

SEE: These DIY Materials Can Get Sharpie off Your Skin

3. Ink or Stain Remover

Amodex is a popular ink and stain remover. It is used to clean highlighter ink stains from surfaces, and it is also safe for your clothes. The soap-like solution dissolves the ink stains and protects your fabrics.

  • Work with dry fabrics; you do not need a wet surface to work.
  • Make a pad of paper towels and place it under the affected area to soak up the highlighter out of the clothes.
  • Apply drops of the ink remover directly onto the stain.
  • Depending on how long the stain has been on the clothes, you may wash immediately or leave the solution to soak into the stain.
  • Afterward, use a soft brush to massage the solution into the clothes. Do this in circular motions until the ink begins to fade.
  • Check the progress. If the stain remains, apply more ink remover and rub it in with a brush.
  • When you are satisfied, wash the clothes with your regular laundry soap and dry them thereafter.

Most importantly, you should run a patch test with a stain remover. This checks for whether the solution will ruin your fabric or not.

4. Baking Soda

Baking soda and stains never agree, so, you can use the advantage to get rid of highlighter ink from your clothes. Always have a pack at hand and you can be sure to keep children’s slips in check.

  • Dissolve the baking soda with a solvent like vinegar. Mix them in unequal parts to form a paste.
  • Apply the paste onto the stained area and use your finger to spread it into a thick coat.
  • Do this in the evening because you’ll be leaving the paste on the clothes overnight.
  • By the morning, the paste should be dried and flaking already.
  • Peel off the flakes. You’ll notice that the color comes off with the flakes.
  • Wash your clothes with your regular laundry soap to remove any residues of highlighter ink.

5. Hair Spray

Your hair spray is also an effective household stain removal material. However, you should use an alcohol-based hair spray to get highlighter ink off your clothes.

  • Make a pad of clean towels and place it underneath the stained area.
  • Spritz hairspray directly onto the ink stain but do not get the clothes soaked with hairspray.
  • Then, use a cotton pad or paper towel to blot the stain gently. Do not scrub at the clothes otherwise you’ll be spreading the stain.
  • If the paper towels get soaked with ink, turn them over to clean areas.
  • Spritz more hairspray if you can still see the highlighter ink on your clothes.
  • Wash the clothes and dry them.

6. Nail Polish Remover

Acetone-based nail polish remover contains alcohol which is an active stain removal agent. Work on the clothes in a well-ventilated area because of the acetone fumes.

  • If the highlighter ink is still fresh, use clean paper towels to blot out the stain. This way, you’ll be removing as much stain as possible.
  • Make a pad of clean paper towels and place it underneath the stained area of the cloth.
  • Dampen a cotton pad with nail polish remover.
  • Then, gently dab the stained area to transfer the ink to the paper towels.
  • When the towels are soaked with ink, you can turn them over to a clean spot.
  • Afterward, use another set of paper towels to blot both sides of the stained area.
  • Use your regular laundry detergent to wash the clothes and dry them properly.

SEE: Use These Simple DIYs to Get Nail Glue off Your Skin

7. Salt Solution

The composition of salt makes it effective in breaking the bond between stain and fabrics. Your regular cooking salt is just enough for this.

  • Mix salt and water in unequal proportions to form a paste.
  • Smear the paste over the ink on your clothes. Ensure the paste generously covers the stain.
  • Leave the mix for some minutes so it can absorb into the stain.
  • Then, rinse off the salt and ink with clean, cool water.
  • Use your regular laundry soap to wash the clothes and dry them properly.

8. Milk

This may sound odd, but your breakfast milk can get rid of highlighter ink quickly.

  • Pour some milk into a bowl that can contain the clothes.
  • Gather the stained area and dip it into the bowl of milk.
  • Follow up with using your fingers to gently rub the stained area until the ink disappears.
  • Rinse off the milk and ink with clean, cool water.
  • Go over the steps if there is still ink on your clothes.
  • Afterward, wash with regular laundry soap and dry.

9. Lemon Juice

Just like baking soda and vinegar, lemon juice is a household ingredient that effectively removes stains from fabrics and surfaces. Its acidic nature is what helps to break the bonds between the stain and your fabrics. Also, it has great bleaching and brightening properties.

  • Squeeze some lemons into a bowl to extract the juice.
  • Gather the stained part of your clothes and dip it into the bowl of lemon juice.
  • When you are sure the clothes have soaked up the juice, bring it out and scrub on the area with table salt.
  • Scrub until you see the stain disappear.
  • Then, rinse off the salt.
  • Wash and dry your clothes thoroughly. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is highlighter ink on my clothes harmful?

Leaving a highlighter stain on your clothes can be negative for your personality. Moreover, if left alone for long, it can leave a permanent splotch on your clothes.

Highlighter ink is not poisonous unless consumed. However, getting the stain on certain areas of your clothes can make the ink penetrate and stain your skin.

Does lemon juice remove highlighter from clothes?

Yes, it does. Lemon juice is an effective bleaching agent that can fade away stains like highlighter ink from your clothes.

You can either soak the stained area in lemon juice or rub a slice of lemon across the stain and scrub on it with table salt. Either of these methods will dissolve and fade away the stain and leave your clothes brightened.

Does highlighter ink eventually fade out of clothes?

Highlighter ink may fade out after repeated washing but not completely.

The ink stains are very bright and as such, they need more than the regular washing cycles to fade out. You should treat the stains with active stain removal materials like alcohol, baking soda, and ink remover. Besides, regular washing may cause the stain to set in.


Since stains are inevitable, you should have a few stain removal materials and methods at hand. Household materials like lemon juice, table salt, hand sanitizer, and baking soda make effective stain removers. So, you’ll want to have some on standby to quickly eliminate stains.

The neon look of highlighter ink stain makes it unsightly and can interrupt school or office paperwork. And, sometimes, the longer it stays on fabric, the harder it is to get it off. Before using any of these methods, run a patch test to see the effect on the colors of your clothes.

Most importantly, do not allow your kids to handle materials that contain alcohol or come in aerosol cans. The next stain shouldn’t get you in a panic anymore, use this handful of easy hacks to save the day.

Thanks for reading.

Check Africana Fashion for relevant beauty articles that feature effective household stain removal hacks.