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Written by Kieran Proctor

How To Remove Tattoo Ink Stains (2024)



Ink stains are the bane of every tattooists existence. As anyone who has had large tattoos will know, ink seeps out of new tattoos for days after a big tattoo session.

It’s not just the process of tattooing that gets tattoo ink everywhere. Ink gets everywhere during the process of healing too. After the sessions on my blackout tattoo sleeve, I was leaving ink everywhere I went. I left ink on everything, like some sort of human squid.

Ink ended up on my bed sheets, towels and clothing. I even bumped into a wall one night and left an ink stain on the wall. Ink got everywhere. And tattoo ink, stains. But it’s not impossible to get tattoo ink out of some fabrics.

Let’s discuss how you might approach removing tattoo ink stains.

Will tattoo ink stain my clothing? 

Tattoo ink will stain clothing and you should only wear dark colors to your tattoo appointment.

If you get tattoo ink on dark colored clothing that is machine washable in hot water, then wash in hot water with infant nappy or diaper formula. Hot water and baby diaper cleaner will remove most, if not all, of the tattoo ink from your clothing.

If your clothing isn’t machine washable and is dry clean only, then the garment is likely permanently stained. 

napisan stain remover

Will tattoo ink stain my sheets?

You will likely leave ink stains on your bedsheets, for the first few nights after getting a large tattoo. And it will stain your bedsheets.

Luckily, bedsheets along with towels, are the easiest to get tattoo ink out of. Provided you don’t have silk sheets and are only using plain cotton sheets, then the tattoo ink can be removed.

A lot of blogs will tell you to do things like dabbing a paste made of baking soda on the sheets, or using unscented hairspray to remove the ink stains. But that’s all bulls**t.

My first thoughts on reading that sort of advice, was why use hairspray on bedsheets to remove tattoo ink? And would I do that before or after I gave it a makeover with the baking soda?

In the end, I gave up on all those ridiculous home remedies and soaked the sheets in nappy or diaper wash. The same stuff used to clean skid marks out of diapers. I then put the sheets through an industrial wash cycle set to maximum heat.

Washing sheets in this way removes almost all the tattoo ink. Using diaper cleaning powder and soaking the sheets before washing in hot water, works most of the time. And I have never had a need to coat my sheets in baking soda or unscented hairspray, or use any other weird home remedy. 

tattoo ink stained sheets
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Will tattoo ink stain my towels? 

Yes tattoo ink will stain your towels. But soaking your towels in nappy cleaner and then washing with hot water will remove most, if not all, of the tattoo ink.

I washed my towels in the same way and together with my sheets. And washing in hot water, using baby diaper cleaner, has successful removed most of the tattoo ink from my sheets and towels on the first cycle. 

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