How to Remove Ink Stains From Plastic?

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

how to remove ink stains from plastic

In our daily lives, it is not uncommon to encounter ink stains on various plastic surfaces, whether accidental pen marks on your furniture, ink smudges on a plastic appliance, or stubborn marks on plastic containers. These stains can be frustrating, but fret not!

In this guide on how to remove ink stains from plastic, we will explore a range of methods to effectively erase ink on plastic. So, you can choose the one that suits your needs and the materials you have on hand.

How to Get Ink Off of Plastic

Method 1. Using Acetone


Acetone is a fantastic solvent for removing pen ink, particularly permanent ink, from plastic surfaces, including your plastic phone case. Its strong chemical properties allow it to break down and dissolve the ink, making it easier to wipe away.

  1. Simply apply a small amount of acetone onto a clean cloth or cotton pad and gently rub the ink-stained area in a circular motion.
  2. As the ink dissolves, you will notice it transferring onto the cloth. Continue this process until the ink is completely removed.
  3. Afterward, make sure to rinse the plastic surface thoroughly with water to remove any residual acetone.

Method 2. Using Rubbing Alcohol


If you want to remove pen ink from surfaces without acetone, you can consider this method with rubbing alcohol. Thanks to its solvent properties, rubbing alcohol works by dissolving the ink pigments, making it easier to wipe them away.

Dampen a soft cloth or a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and gently rub the affected area in a circular motion. Once the ink dissolves, you can wipe it off completely.

Method 3. Using Hand Sanitizer


Hand sanitizer can be surprisingly effective at removing pen ink stains from plastic surfaces. The alcohol content in hand sanitizer helps break down and dissolve the ink, making it easier to wipe away.

  1. Apply a small amount of sanitizer onto a clean cloth or cotton ball and gently rub it over the ink stain until the ink starts to lift.
  2. Depending on the ink type and the age of the stain, you may need to repeat it a few times.
  3. Once the stain is gone, wipe down the plastic with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residual hand sanitizer, and your plastic surface should be ink-free.

Notably, hand sanitizer might even work for printer ink.

Method 4. Using Distilled White Vinegar


Removing pen ink from plastic with distilled white vinegar is another simple method that works wonderfully.

  1. You just need to mix white vinegar and water.
  2. Then, soak a cloth or a sponge in the solution. Squeeze the cloth or sponge slightly so that it is not dripping wet.
  3. Next, rub the ink stain in circular motions with gentle pressure until it fades.
  4. Finally, rinse the treated area with water and pat it dry.

Method 5. Using Warm, Soapy Water


A simple mixture of mild soap and warm water can also remove ink stains from plastic cups. Once you have the mixture, dip a cloth or a sponge in it. Like the previous method, make sure it is not too wet.

Method 6. Using Baking Soda and Toothpaste


Another ink stain removal from method you can consider to lcarn you kids’ plastic toys is baking soda and toothpaste. The two work wonders together!

  1. Make a paste by mixing baking soda and white toothpaste.
  2. Then, apply the paste onto the ink stain directly.
  3. Next, work the ink off by rubbing the area with a cloth or sponge. Be sure to use gentle circular motions.
  4. To finish, clean the treated area with water and use a cloth or paper towel to pat it dry.

Method 7. Using an Eraser Sponge


Using a sponge eraser to clean ink from plastic is a great method for removing stubborn stains. The soft, porous texture of the sponge is ideal for lifting ink without scratching or damaging the plastic surface.

The sponge’s absorbent properties help break down the ink, while its mild abrasiveness aids in lifting the stain.

For particularly stubborn ink marks, a mixture of water and mild soap can be applied to the sponge.

This method not only cleans but also ensures that your plastic surfaces remain unharmed and free from unsightly ink marks.

Method 8. Using WD-40


WD-40, a versatile solvent, can work wonders in breaking down ink stains on plastic surfaces.

  1. Begin by spraying a small amount of WD-40 directly onto the ink-stained area. Allow it to sit for a few minutes to penetrate the ink.
  2. Then, gently wipe away the ink in a circular motion using a clean cloth or paper towel. The lubricating properties of WD-40 make the ink’s removal smoother, and its solvent capabilities help dissolve the ink, making it easier to wipe clean.
  3. Be sure to thoroughly clean the plastic surface with soap and water afterward to remove any residual WD-40.


Congratulations! You have learned how to remove ink stains from plastic! Remember that prevention is always the best strategy, but when accidents happen, you now have the knowledge and tools to restore the pristine appearance of your plastic items.

With these methods at your disposal, stubborn ink stains will no longer be a cause for concern.

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