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How to Remove Pen Ink From Plastic? – 4 Effective Methods

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

how to remove pen ink from plastic

Are you tired of stubborn pen ink stains tarnishing your plastic belongings? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered!

Whether it’s a favorite plastic pen that accidentally left its mark or an unfortunate ink spill on your plastic card, plastic bottles, or other furniture, we have the solutions you need.

With step-by-step instructions and practical tips, you’ll learn how to remove pen ink from plastic and restore the pristine look of your items. Let’s dive in!

Ways to Remove Pen Ink From Plastic

Method 1: Using baking soda and toothpaste

Step 1: Combine the toothpaste, baking soda, and rubbing alcohol in a bowl


  1. Take a bowl or container and squeeze an amount of toothpaste into it.
  2. Pour an equal amount of baking soda onto the toothpaste in the bowl.
  3. Put a few drops of rubbing alcohol into the bowl. The alcohol helps to break down and get ink off plastic when coming in contact.

Step 2: Mix the combination with hot water


Carefully pour hot water into the bowl to create a mixture of toothpaste, baking soda, and rubbing alcohol. Be cautious with hot water and handle it safely.

Step 3: Stir the mixture


Using a spoon or any suitable utensil to stir the mixture until the toothpaste, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, and hot water are well combined.

Step 4: Soak the plastic item


Soak the item with ink stains into the mixture in the bowl for 10 minutes. This soaking time helps to loosen the stains.

Step 5: Use a brush to remove the ink stains


After soaking, brush and scrub the ink stains on the plastic surface. If your plastic item is big and cannot be soaked, dab the solution on a towel and wipe it over the stains. You can also use this method to remove sharpie from plastic binder.

Step 6: Rinse and dry


Once the ink on the plastic stains is removed, rinse the plastic item with clean water to remove any residue from the mixture. Dry it thoroughly with a clean cloth.

You can check out this video for more details:

Method 2: Using an eraser sponge


Step 1: Prepare the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge.

Take a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser sponge and dip it into a bowl or container of water. Squeeze out any excess water so that the sponge is damp but not dripping.

Step 2: Rub the sponge gently on the stains.

Take the damp Magic Eraser sponge and gently rub it on the ink stains. Apply more pressure if needed.

If the sponge starts to dry out, dip it back into the water and squeeze out the excess. A damp sponge is more effective in removing ink stains.

Step 3: Wipe down with a regular sponge.

After using the Magic Eraser sponge, take a regular sponge to wipe down the plastic surface and remove any remaining ink residue or cleaner residue.

Step 4: Dry the item.

When you get ink out of plastic, use a clean and dry cloth to dry the item thoroughly. It helps prevent water spots and ensures a clean and polished finish.

You can get more details in this video: 

Method 3: Using vinegar and acetone (nail polish remover)


Step 1: Prepare the mixture.

Add a few drops of vinegar, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and a small amount of nail polish remover (acetone) to the container. Be careful with nail polish remover because too much can damage the plastic surface.

Step 2: Dip a piece of cotton or cloth.

Dip a piece of cotton ball or cloth into the mixture. Allow the cotton or cloth to absorb the solution, but ensure it’s not dripping.

Step 3: Wipe or rub on the ink stains

Gently wipe or rub the ink stains on the plastic surface using the cotton or cloth soaked in the mixture. Apply moderate pressure and continue rubbing until the ink starts to lift off.

If you notice some residue on the item’s surface, use a clean cloth or sponge dampened with water to wipe it down.

Check out this video for more information: 

Method 4: Using methylated spirit


Methylated spirit, also known as denatured alcohol, is a type of alcohol that has been treated with additives. It can help dissolve and remove certain types of ink stains from plastic bags and other plastic items. Follow the below steps:

Step 1: Pour methylated spirit on the stains

  1. Put the plastic items that have ink stains in a suitable container.
  2. Carefully pour enough methylated spirit over the ink stains on the plastic surface. Ensure that the stains are fully covered.
  3. Let the methylated spirit soak on the ink stains for a few seconds. This helps to loosen and dissolve the ink.

Step 2: Use a cloth or sponge

Take a clean cloth or sponge and dampen it with a methylated spirit. Rub and wipe down the ink stains and residue on the plastic surface.

You may need to repeat the process for stubborn or persistent ink stains.

Step 3: Dry the item

Once the ink stains and residue are removed, dry the items thoroughly with a cloth or allow them to air dry.

You can watch this video to be clearer:

Tips for Successful Ink Stain Removal


1. Precautions To Consider

  • Ventilation: Work in a well-ventilated area when using chemical-based solutions or substances like the methylated spirit or nail polish remover.
  • Safety measures: When handling chemical-based solutions, follow the safety instructions on the product labels. Wear gloves and protect your skin and eyes if necessary.

2. Other Household Remedies To Try

  • Using butter: You can apply a thin layer of butter to the ink stain and let it dry under sunlight. After four hours, use a soapy sponge or cloth to scrub the stained area gently.
  • Spray cleaner: There are various spray cleaners available on the market that claim to remove ink stains from surfaces of plastic.

Spray the cleaner directly onto the ink stain, let it sit for the recommended time, and wipe the area with a cloth. You can use this method to remove ink from pvc pipe and other types of plastics.

  • Chlorine bleach: Mix chlorine bleach with water. Soak the plastic item with the ink stain in the cleaning solution for 30 minutes. Rinse it thoroughly with clean water and let it dry.

3. Prevention Techniques

  • When not in use, cap and store pens in a secure and upright position. This helps prevent leaks or accidental contact with surfaces.
  • If using uncapped pens, be mindful of where you place them. Avoid leaving them on or near plastic surfaces where they can roll or leak ink.
  • In case of an ink spill on plastic, promptly clean it up using suitable cleaning methods or products recommended for the specific type of plastic surface.

Other tips: 8 ways to remove ink from quartz countertops


How Long Does It Take For The Ink Stain To Disappear?

The time it takes for an ink stain to disappear from plastic containers can vary depending on various factors, including the type of ink, the type of plastic, and the cleaning method used.

  1. In some cases, a simple wipe with a damp cloth or sponge can remove the ink stain within seconds.
  2. For more stubborn stains, scrubbing or soaking in a cleaning solution may take several minutes to eliminate the stain.

Can I Use These Methods On Colored Plastic Surfaces?

  1. Acetone (nail polish remover) can cause discoloration on plastic if you apply too much or if the plastic is prone to acetone.
  2. You can use baking soda, toothpaste, eraser sponge, vinegar, methylated spirit, and spray cleaner without acetone. They’re all safe when used on plastic.

Will These Methods Damage The Plastic Surface?

Most of the above methods are safe for plastic surfaces. However, chlorine bleach is generally not recommended for use on colored plastic surfaces as it can cause discoloration or damage. Thus, avoid using chlorine bleach on colored plastics to prevent any unwanted effects.


In summary, you can successfully eliminate ink stains by following the appropriate techniques, such as using baking soda with toothpaste, an eraser sponge, vinegar and acetone, or methylated spirit.

Knowing how to remove pen ink from plastic is essential, and taking preventive measures and addressing ink stains promptly can also help prevent further damage.

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