How to Remove Tattoo Ink Stains from Clothing

  • Written By Dan Hunter on February 09, 2022
    Last Updated: February 18, 2022

When you get your tattoo, you want to get out there and show it off, dressed in your best gear to give the whole effect. But will the ink from the tattoo still bleed onto that best top orT-shirt sleeve? We look at what the likelihood is and what to do if it does.

Do Tattoos Leak Ink

For many people, the permanence of a tattoo is an important element of the attraction – body art that will last a lifetime.

But when it’s first applied, will it leak and stain your clothes? The answer to this question is, unfortunately, yes. When your tattoo is new, it will “seep” for a few days, and tattoo ink might stain your clothes or furnishings. 

Make sure to rinse off as much ink as possible with cold water. Remove any extra ink by gently rubbing the tattoo with soap, then rinse it again. If the extra ink does not rinse out, let it alone; by the time the seeping process is through, your tattoo lines should be sharp.

Tattooing the Skin

The tattooing technique penetrates your skin for 1/16th of an inch, from the epidermis to the top-most layer of the dermis. Some ink will, inevitably, seep back into the epidermal layer. When wet, this ink may stain whatever it comes into touch with.

The epidermis, or top layer of the skin, is constantly producing new skin cells. So, if there’s any ink here, it’ll be gone in about a month. 

Ink leaked to the epidermal layer is what you see in the skin that peels off when lotioning. It won’t affect how the healed tattoo looks. 

Don’t pick at scabs, that might cause the tattoo to scar or become infected.

Prepare for the Worst

It’s always best not to tempt fate, so for the trip to get your tattoo, it’s usually a good idea to wear clothes you don’t mind getting marked. Old clothes are a wise choice for several days after, too.

After that, wear loose-fitting clothing that isn’t going to rub or damage your tattoo and lengthen the healing process.

When you’re at home and have been given the go-ahead by your tattoo artist to remove the wrap – allow your ink to breathe and try not to smother it with clothing or thick layers of lotion.

How Do You Get Tattoo Ink Off Clothing?

When it comes to removing stains from your clothes, speed is essential. Act quickly if you spot a stain. If you wait too long, it’s harder to remove. 

However, don’t panic if the stain has already dried in, you can still take the necessary steps to remove it. 

If the item is colorfast, The stain can be diluted with hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol, or hairspray, making it simpler to remove during the wash. These solvents help tackle most types of ink stains, but they can also attack fabric dyes and cause further damage.

In most circumstances, such as when dealing with a stained cotton shirt, you’ll want to soak the item to loosen the ink and prepare the clothing for stain removal.

Always use cold water when soaking a stained garment.

Read the stain remover label and follow the instructions before applying it. They usually work best if you rub them into the fabric.

Let the garment sit for at least 10 minutes before washing.

Follow the care instructions on the clothing you’re washing if you’re using a washing machine. Use a hot wash if you can.

Add your preferred stain-removing detergent and let your washing machine handle the rest.

Once the washing machine’s cycle is complete, hang the garment to dry rather than using a tumble dryer. Running the item through the dryer if you haven’t entirely removed the stain can make your work much more difficult.

You should repeat the process if you don’t get all of the stains out the first time.

* Suede is a particularly sensitive material, so you may want to avoid water and stain removers altogether. As an alternative, you can use rubbing alcohol, white vinegar, or alcohol-based hairspray.

To Sum Up

Although a tattoo is permanent and is applied under the epidermis, the ink from a new tattoo can seep out and stain your clothing. It’s best to wear old clothes that you’re not too bothered marking for getting the tattoo, and for a few days after. 

If you do need to remove a stain, soak, apply stain remover and wash. A hot wash is best but always follow the clothing’s washing guide and the stain remover instructions.

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