How to Get Highlighter Out of Clothes [20 Do It Yourself Tips]

By: Annabel Love

It's a common problem: you get out the highlighter and start highlighting, and then it gets everywhere. You can't highlight without getting a highlighter on your clothes! Whether you've got a business meeting or an interview coming up, this is not ideal. The good news? We're here to help with 20 tips for how to get highlighter out of clothes. Read on for more details!

1. Use Vinegar


Vinegar has been used as a household cleaner since ancient times. It works great at removing stains from clothing because vinegar contains acetic acid which breaks down protein bonds found in most fabrics. To use vinegar effectively, mix one-part white distilled vinegar with two parts water. Then soak the stained area in the mixture overnight. In the morning, rinse thoroughly with warm water. If necessary, repeat until no trace of color remains.

2. Use Lemon Juice

Lemon juice also works well at removing highlighters from clothes. Mix equal amounts of lemon juice and water together and apply directly to the affected areas. Let sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing off. Repeat if needed.


3. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is another effective way to clean highlighter from clothes! Simply sprinkle baking soda onto the spot where the highlighter was applied and let dry completely. Rinse with cold water when finished. This method may leave some residue behind but it won't harm any fabric.


4. Use Dish Soap

Dish soap is just what you need to get rid of those pesky highlighters. Just pour dish soap into a spray bottle filled with water and spritz the stain. Wait five seconds and then gently rub the stain with a soft cloth. Continue doing so until there are no traces left.


5. Use Rubbing Alcohol

Alcohol is yet another option for cleaning highlighters from clothes, especially if you don't want to damage your favorite outfit. Pour alcohol onto the stain and wait 5-10 minutes. Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly so make sure to work fast! Afterward, wash the item again with detergent and hot water.


6. Use Toothpaste

 Toothpaste is actually pretty useful for removing highlighter from clothes - even stubborn ones! Apply toothpaste to the stain and allow it to set for 30 minutes. Wipe off excess paste with paper towels. Wash the garment afterward with regular laundry detergent.


7. Use Laundry Detergent

If none of these methods work, try washing the items in a load of laundry detergent instead. Be careful though; many commercial products contain bleach which could ruin your clothes.

Instead, opt for milder options such as Ivory Snow or Dawn.


8. Try Goo Gone Gel

Goo gone gel is a product designed specifically to remove highlighter stains from clothes. Spray the solution onto the stain and wipe immediately after application. Allow the treated area to air dry. Once dried, simply launder the item normally.


9. Use Ice Cubes

If nothing else seems to be working, ice cubes might do the trick.

Simply place several ice cubes on top of the highlighter stain and hold them firmly against the surface for 20-30 seconds. Remove the ice cubes and continue rubbing the stain with a damp towel.


10. Use Bleach

Bleach should only ever be used by professionals. However, if you absolutely must use bleach, dilute 1 part chlorine bleach to 4 parts water. Dip a cotton ball soaked in the diluted bleach into the stain and blot. Leave the bleached area alone for 10 minutes and then rinse with cool water. The bleach should disappear within 24 hours.


11. Use Vinegar & Salt

Mix equal parts salt and vinegar together and dab the mixture onto the highlighter stain. Let stand for 2-3 days and then wash as usual.


12. Use Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are an excellent natural alternative to store-bought cleaners. They help keep your house smelling fresh while they simultaneously eliminate odors. To use coffee grounds, mix one cup of ground coffee beans with two cups of warm water. Add half a teaspoon each of liquid castile soap and white distilled vinegar. Mix well before applying directly to the stained area. 


13. Use Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda liberally onto the highlighter and let sit overnight. In the morning, scrub the entire piece thoroughly with a stiff brush. Rinse clean and hang to dry. Repeat the process until no more color remains.


14. Use hairspray

Hairspray is another good product to remove highlighter stains from clothes because it contains alcohol too! Spray the stain with hairspray and then blot away any excess hair spray or ink with a clean, dry cloth. Then you can wash your item normally in warm water to rinse out any remaining hairspray and ink.


15. Wipe with a white eraser or pencil eraser

If you don't have either of the above products, try wiping the highlighter stain away with a white eraser instead! Simply rub it over the stained area until all of the highlighters is gone. If there's any color left, try an ordinary pencil eraser instead.


16. Use Tide To Go Pen

Worried about highlighter stains? Keep a tide-to-go pen in your bag or desk drawer at work! It's easy to carry around and will remove most ink stains with ease. Plus, it can be used on any fabric type without staining it. Simply press the pen over the stained area and hold it for thirty seconds. Then, wipe away any remaining highlighter with a dry cloth or cotton swab.


17. Use Salt Water

Stain removers are always useful, but sometimes you don't have any on hand. In this case, make a saltwater solution and soak your clothing in it for one hour before washing as usual!


18. Use a Vitamin C tablet

If none of the above tips work, try soaking the stained area in a bowl of cold water with a vitamin C tablet. You can also use lemon juice, but the vitamin C is more gentle on fabrics and will prevent color bleeding if you're worried about staining your clothes with a highlighter!


19. Use Dishwashing liquid

If all else fails, try using dishwashing liquid or laundry detergent to remove the stain by applying it directly to the stained area and letting it sit overnight. Then launder as usual in the morning!


20. Dry Cleaning Liquid

If you get a highlighter on an expensive dry-clean-only piece of clothing, you may want to try applying a dry cleaning solvent to remove the ink. Dry cleaning solvent typically contains a chemical called tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene, or “perc.” This solvent is both flammable and highly toxic, so handle with care!

Take care with this very flammable solvent as the dryer could cause it to ignite.  Follow the package instructions for any further cleaning recommendations.

First, apply a small amount of the solvent to a clean white cloth. It usually comes in a powder form, so just dab the cloth into the powder.

You will need to test the solvent on an inconspicuous area of the garment to make sure it does not harm the fabric.

Next, blot the cloth with the solvent onto the highlighter stain. You should see the ink transfer to the cleaning cloth then repeat the process until the stain is gone.  

Remember to hand wash, rinse, and air dry the garment after this process!

Now you know how to get the highlighter out of clothes. If this happens to you, don't panic and try one of these tactics! They'll make it easy to remove any highlighter stains from your clothing items in no time at all. Happy highlighting!


FAQs About How To Get Highlighter Out of Clothes

How Do You Remove Old Highlighter Stains?

Highlighters and ink stains can be extremely difficult to remove from clothes if they've been sitting for a long time. If this is the case, you'll need to use salt or lemon juice as outlined above!


Do Highlighters Stain Leather?

Yes - highlighters will stain leather as easily as many other types of fabric.


How Do You Remove Highlighter from a Duvet?

That depends on the material your duvet is made of. If it's fabric, follow steps one through four above! For leather or suede items, try using salt instead - you should be able to get rid of highlighter stains by rubbing them with salt and then rinsing with cold water. If this doesn't work, it may be time to invest in a new duvet!


What if You Get Highlighter On Your Feet?

First of all, stop walking around and trying to clean the stain off your feet! After you're done doing that (and we hope you didn't get any highlighter on your carpet,  rug or floor), blot the stain away with a paper towel and then use one of the above methods to remove it.


How Do You Get Highlighter Off Shoes?

You'll need to scrub highlighters off shoes using dishwashing liquid, baking soda paste, or other cleaning products as outlined in our blog post. Then, rinse the shoes with water and let them dry!


What Type of Stain Remover Should You Use for Highlighter Stains?

As long as it's not an oil-based product, you should be able to use any recommended stain remover on highlighter stains. Just make sure they're designed for highlighter on fabric!


How Do You Get Highlighter off a Fabric?

To remove highlighters from the fabric, use salt or lemon juice as outlined above. If neither of these work, try using dishwashing liquid on the stain and then laundering according to instructions!


How Do You Get Highlighter Out of Clothes Fast?

It's best to act quickly if you want to get highlighter stains out of your clothes. Try using dishwashing liquid or lemon juice and laundering the garment as usual!


How to Remove Highlighter Stains Using Lemon Juice?

Lemon juice is one of the best highlighter stain removers. Simply soak or wet a lemon slice and rub it over the stained area for several minutes to remove stains!


What if You Get Highlighter on Your Hands?

Don't panic - it's easy to remove highlighters from your hands with soap and water. Try to get to soap and water immediately, though, or you'll end up transferring the ink all over your house (and probably onto yourself again). But seriously, don't panic.


What if You Get Highlighter on Your Face?

Get a damp paper towel and blot the stain immediately to remove it from your face! Then use soap and water or another cleaning product to get rid of the ink. If you're quick, this should get the  highlighter stains out!


What is the difference between isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol?

Rubbing alcohol contains a higher percentage of isopropyl alcohol, which makes it more effective at removing stains. Isopropyl alcohol works for highlighter stains as well - you can use either product on stains from a highlighter.


What if You Get Highlighter in Your Eyes?

Highlighters are not toxic, so it's not as dangerous to get them in your eyes as you might think. However, we still recommend washing out the eye with water and then using an eye wash if needed afterward!


Are some stains impossible to remove?

Yes, some stains are impossible to completely remove - especially oil-based products like highlighters! If you get a stain on furniture or upholstery, it may be time for a new piece or a professional.


How do I remove the highlighter stain from my skin?

You can use soap and water or another cleaning product to wipe away any excess highlighter stain on your skin. If you get a highlighter on your hands or face, use soap and water immediately to prevent the ink from transferring anywhere else!


How do I remove highlighter stains?

You should be able to remove highlighter stains using salt, lemon juice, dishwashing liquid, or another cleaning product as outlined in our blog post. Then, launder the garment according to instructions!


What stains does toothpaste remove?

Toothpaste is one of the most used household cleaners, so it's no surprise that you can use it on highlighter stain.  It works well for highlighters and other types of inks. 


Can hand sanitizer remove stains?

Hand sanitizer will only work on ink stains - it's not strong enough to remove highlighter stains. Other types of stain remover should be able to do the trick, though!


What if a cleaning product doesn't get rid of a stain?

If you don't see any improvement after using one or more products for a stain, it's time to ditch that item and get a new one. Some stains (like highlighter ones) are just impossible to remove! You can always take the item to a professional cleaner.


Does rubbing alcohol stain clothes?

Yes, rubbing alcohol can stain clothes if the clothing is left to dry with the stains. So make sure you wash any stained garments immediately!


How to Get Highlighter Out of Your Fabric Couch, Carpet, and Mattress?

Highlighters are not toxic, so just use soap and water or another cleaning product to get rid of stains. You should be able to remove highlighter stains from your fabric couch, carpeting, upholstery.  You can always consult a professional for your furniture pieces. 


How Do I Get Highlighter Stains Out Of My Hair?

It's actually pretty difficult to remove highlighter stain from your hair - you're better off keeping the highlighter away in the first place. However, if you do get it on there, use dishwashing liquid or soap and water to cleanse the area immediately! Good luck!  I say just embrace the new look.  

 

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