Gel Ink Removal .......


PFG, Picture Framing God
Apr 12, 2001
Destin, Florida
In another thread there was a side discussion on how to remove stains from fabric pieces. Ink, latex paint, etc. were discussed but I was wondering about gel pen ink. I was told that the "ink" in gel pens is quite different than normal ball point pens and the stain created by these gel inks is twice as hard to remove as regular inks.

Does anyone have any insight on this question? I really don't know and I don't want to experiment with my clothing or a customer's fabric art. I want to know beforehand how to handle gel ink stains so I am armed with the correct knowledge to deal with it.

So, has anyone left a gel pen in their shirt and washed it and then got the stains out successfully? Or have you had an incident in your shop where you needed to take a gel stain out of something? What worked the best??

Well, Crescent sent me a beautiful gel ink pen that I dearly loved because it had a "raspy" sort of feel to it when it went across the paper - like an old style nib pen - but the ink flowed like a gel pen!

The cap came off in a woven cotton purse and all the ink came off into the fabric. I was able to wash MOST of it out with soap and water - but there is still a grey stain left behind. I never tried any of my fancy removers on this - but I'll go try now!

My advice - get a piece of white cloth and write on it with some gel pens - then - GO NUTS!!! Try every cleaning method you know - and take notes! It will be fun and informative - plus you might decide on a second career in fabric design!
I have gel ink on some t shirts. I have tried bleach, mean green, oxy clean, orange blast, vivid, shout,oven cleaner,paint thinner,goof off,WD-40, gas. I even gave final net hair spray a try, ( this is great for removing the finish off of very expensive coffee tables) Stains are still there,six months later. Sorry I can't be more help.
Any treatment for stains must be undertaken with
the knowledge that local application of fluids of
any type can cause tidelines to form in paper and
cloth. Even solvents can move things like optical
brighteners to wick to the edge of the damp area
and the accumulation of this transported material
may darken, with time, resulting in a visible

I had a lady bring in a needlework she put in a tea bath to cover up the stains.

I've had good luck with windex, window washer fluid but would never try them on a customers work.
The first inclination if you get a stain on something is to run and flush it with water...WRONG...(most of the time). Water will set many stains including ink.

I swear by Amodex, however I had never tried it with gel pens. After reading the thread earlier today I decided to test it on silver and gold metallic gel pen writings on a cotton tee shirt. I just checked it after letting it sit for about six hours and it was totally trace of a stain.

You can buy Amodex at fine writing instrument stores (pen shops) or type Amodex into Google and you get a ton of links.

I don't have any idea what type of residue it might leave however.

Dave Makielski
Hi Kevin -

The decision to do a local solvent treatment, which may result in future tidelines, or an overall solvent treatment, depends to a large degree on media sensitivity (i.e. will the solvent damage the medium ?).

Health and environmental considerations also have to be taken into account.

Kevin et al:
I think what Hugh and Rebecca are trying politly to tell us is ,this is a specialized task best left to those who do it for a living.Or we should do what we are tained for and let them do the same.( A LITTLE bit of knowledge can be a Dangerious thing/or just enough to get you in real trouble)LOL