Last Updated on 7 months by Susan Mayrich
If you want to know how do you get dried highlighter out of clothes, choose from these 13 effective ways using common household products! We’ll also discuss the instructions for each method to help you pick the safest way for your fabrics.
And if you need different tips and tricks for all things laundry, feel free to browse our article to tackle various stains at home. For example, do you know how to get set in dirt stains out of clothes?
13 Easy But Effective Hacks On How Do You Get Dried Highlighter Out Of Clothes
Method 1. Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a powerful solvent that can effectively break down the highlighter pigment, so it’s the best way to remove dried stains from highlighters. However, clothes vary in fabric types, so check your garment’s care label to see if alcohol won’t damage the cloth.
- Put paper towels under the highlighter stains to absorb the ink and alcohol
- Soak a cotton ball in alcohol and dab the stained spot gently without rubbing
- If the highlighter stain is big, pour alcohol all over it
- Blot the highlighter ink with a paper towel
- Repeat the process as needed
- Wash the clothes as usual with detergent
- Check if you have entirely removed the highlighter stains before putting the fabrics in the dryer
Method 2. Acetone
Another effective solvent that you can use to remove highlighter stains on your fabrics is acetone. Again, test this product on a small area of the cloth beforehand to ensure it’s safe with the fabric type.
- Soak a cotton ball or rag in acetone
- Rub the dried highlighter ink to transfer it to the cotton or rag
- Wash the clothes in the washer with your regular laundry detergent
- Repeat the process as needed
Method 3. Hydrogen peroxide
If you don’t have the solvents mentioned, hydrogen peroxide is another thing you might have readily at your home. Mix it with water and target the spot with the highlighter stain.
- Make a solution of 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water
- Pour the hydrogen peroxide mixture into a spray bottle
- Spray the dried highlighter stain and let it sit for a few minutes
- Rinse the clothing as usual and repeat the process if needed
Method 4. Laundry detergent stain remover
Did you know the most common way to remove dried stains from highlighters on clothing items is with a detergent stain remover? According to a survey of 1,000 people, 75% of respondents said they had used this method!
- Spot treat the highlighter stain with a teaspoon of laundry detergent stain remover to cover it completely
- Do not rub the highlighter ink
- Let the fabric sit for 5 minutes or longer
- Wash the garment as usual
- If the highlighter has not disappeared, repeat the process
Method 5. Bleach
One of the most effective solutions for stains on fabrics is bleach. Unsurprisingly, this is also among the helpful products for removing highlighter ink, but please ensure you can use this product on your fabric type.
- Dilute bleach in a bucket of water according to the package instructions
- Soak the affected garment in the bleach solution for 15 minutes to remove the dried highlighter ink
- Check if the stain is removed and wash the garment as usual
Method 6. Dish soap
A gentle way to remove highlighter stains on clothes is with dish soap. The process is similar to spot-treating most stains on a piece of cloth.
- Mix a bit of dish soap and water
- Place paper towels underneath the clothing item to keep the ink from soaking through the layer underneath the affected surface
- Dip a white rag in the soapy mixture and wipe the dried highlighter stains on the garment
- Start from the outside of the stain towards the center to keep the highlighter ink from spreading on the unaffected areas of the fabric
- If the stain has not come out completely, gently scrub the clothing with a toothbrush until you remove the highlighter stain
- Wash the garment as usual in your washing machine, wipe the affected area with a damp cloth, and then blot it dry with another cloth.
Method 7. Baking soda
Another relatively safe way to remove highlighter ink on clothing is with baking soda. However, combine baking soda and vinegar for a more effective method of tackling highlighter pen stains that have dried in the clothes.
- Drape the clothing items over the sink and pour vinegar on the affected area
- Make a paste with a tablespoon of vinegar and three tablespoons of baking soda
- Rub the paste in the dried highlighter stain until it’s covered
- Let the fabric sit overnight, then scrape off the dried paste
- Wash the clothes as usual with laundry detergent and the washing machine
- Inspect if the stains are completely gone before drying the clothes
Method 8. Toothpaste
Toothpaste is a common household product that can be a highlighter stain remover. You can work it within the fabric fibers, then rinse the garment!
- Target the dried highlighter stain with toothpaste
- Let the fabric sit for half an hour
- Wipe off the area with paper towels
- Wash the clothing as usual with laundry detergent
Method 9. Salt
Salt works well on ink stains, which can be combined with other DIY products to remove highlighter ink. For example, mix salt with water to form a paste or combine salt with milk to clean the highlighter stains off the cloth.
- Make a paste with salt and water
- Target the affected area with the paste
- Let the salt sit in the garment for 20 minutes
- Rinse the clothing under cool running water
- Wash the fabric as usual
- Check if the stain is removed before putting the garment in the dryer
- If the highlighter ink is just starting to dry, another method is to rub salt on the color and let it sit for 10 minutes
- Then, submerge the affected area in milk and soak it overnight
- Rinse the piece of garment under cool running water
- Wash with your usual laundry detergent
Method 10. Lemon juice
A more natural solution for highlighter stains on fabrics is lemon juice, and it’s typically safer than other chemical products. Use the lemon directly or work with lemon juice for the process.
- Fill a bowl with freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- Soak the affected spot on the bowl overnight
- Scrub the highlighter ink stain with salt until it disappears
- Rinse and wash the clothes as usual
- You can also rub half a lemon on the stain
- Saturate the area with steam by holding a steamer close to it to dissolve the dried stains
- Rinse under cool running water
- Wash the fabrics as usual with a laundry detergent
Method 11. Vinegar
You can combine vinegar with other stain remover products to remove dried highlighter from clothing. A trick you can try is vinegar with baking soda for the process.
- Pour the vinegar over the affected area
- Make a paste with vinegar and baking soda
- Rub the paste into the highlighter ink to cover it completely
- Let the fabric sit overnight
- Remove the dried paste, then put the garment in the washer
- Clean with your regular laundry detergent
Method 12. Ice cubes
You can use ice cubes as a highlighter stain remover. Some highlighters leave a thick stain resembling smeared wax, so hardening them is better for easier removal.
- Put several ice cubes over the area with the highlighter stain
- Hold the ice cubes firmly against the fabric to help them solidify the highlighter ink
- Remove the ice cubes and rub off the stain with a damp rag or towel
- Blot from outside going to the center of the highlighter ink stains until they’re removed
- Launder the clothes as usual
Method 13. Hairspray
You can also get dried highlighter from clothing items with hairspray if you don’t have other products available. Follow these steps, but make sure your fabrics are safe to use with this product:
- Spray the affected area with hairspray until the fabric feels damp
- Let the garment sit for 10 minutes until the hairspray hardens
- Run the fabric under cool water to clean off the dried ink
- Repeat the process as needed
- Wash the clothes in the washer as usual to remove the residues
What Are Some Of The Best Products To Use For Removing Highlighter Stains?
Dried highlighter stains are one of the most challenging stains to remove from clothing, but 80% of respondents from a survey of 1,000 people said they had removed this type of stain from their clothes at least once in their lifetime.
Therefore, you should know the best process and product for tackling highlighter ink, which is 70% rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Then, you’ll use a clean white cloth so it can absorb the highlighter ink once the ethanol breaks it down.
- Lay paper towels over the area where you’ll treat the garment
- Put the garment over the paper towels and soak the white cloth in ethanol
- Dab the stain gently to saturate the highlighter ink that’s set within the fabric
- Blot the highlighter stain with another cloth until it the ink transfers to it
- Rinse the clothing with warm water and clean the clothing as usual
- You can also wash with laundry detergent to remove the rubbing alcohol on the garment
- Dry the garment after confirming it’s free of highlighter stain
Rubbing alcohol is a must-have, not just for disinfecting purposes but because it’s also an effective stain remover. For example, did you know how to remove Neosporin stains from clothing? You can also use alcohol!
What Are Some Of The Best Home Remedies For Removing Highlighter Stains?
If you’re looking for a homemade solution for getting highlighter stains out of clothes, baking soda and vinegar are the most popular methods. The bubbles they produce should break down and remove the highlighter ink.
- Make a solution of one part white vinegar and one part water.
- Soak the affected clothes in the vinegar mixture.
- Add one part baking soda and leave the solution to bubble away.
- After the bubbles subside, check the garment to see if the stain remains
- If there is still some stain, you can rub it gently to remove it completely
- Wash the clothing item as usual
What Are Some Of The Best Tips For Removing Highlighter Stains From Delicate Fabrics?
More than removing highlighter and its color on your clothing items, remember to pick the methods that suit your fabrics. Keep these tips in mind to determine the safest process for tackling highlighter stains on your clothes:
- Always test your chosen stain remover on a small inconspicuous part of the fabric
- If the area where you applied the solution didn’t fade or experienced other reactions that changed its color or texture, your chosen product should be safe
- Read and follow the care tag on your garment
- Check the product label and follow the instructions when preparing it
- Be mindful of using a strong stain remover like bleach on the garment
- If your item is dry-cleaned only, then you should only use the type of solvents recommended for this cleaning method
- Consider gentler products like laundry detergent, dish soap, or baking soda on delicate items
- Avoid drying the clothing until the stain is not completely removed, as it will set deeper in the garment and make it harder to remove
What Are Some Of The Best Tips For Removing Highlighter Stains From Dark-Colored Fabrics?
A top concern when treating highlighter stains is the color of the affected fabric. A stain remover might effectively remove the highlighter ink but leave the affected area faded compared to the rest of the dark clothing.
So what process would be safe for dark clothes? Follow these steps:
- You can choose between a color-safe bleach or a detergent that’s safe for colored clothes to remove the highlighter ink stains
- Wash the dark garment in cold water to keep the fibers and color of the fabric intact
- Wash the dark clothes as fast as possible to help them maintain their color
- Hang the clothing dry instead of using the dryer because the dark-colored fabric can look faded after tumbling in the dryer; it shouldn’t also be exposed directly to the sun
What Are Some Of The Best Tips For Removing Highlighter Stains From Light-Colored Fabrics?
Removing highlighter stains and maintaining your fabrics’ light and bright color is possible. For white clothing, you can bleach the fabric to remove the highlighter ink and keep the vibrant color:
- If your area has hard water, it’s better to use water that’s not full of minerals as they can cause discoloration on clothes, especially with light-colored fabrics
- Choose a detergent that contains brighteners and is safe for the type of fabric you have
- Follow the product instructions for using the detergent
- Do not overload your washer to clean the clothes effectively
- Use the recommended amount of bleach, typically ⅓ cup for a regular load
- Some garments, like spandex-free clothes, can be soaked in bleach, but for small highlighter stains, you can spot treat with a weak bleach solution
What Are Some Of The Best Tips For Removing Highlighter Stains From Synthetic Fabrics?
How should you clean highlighter stains in clothes made from synthetic fibers? Try these methods that are safe for polyester clothing:
- Spray the affected area with aerosol hairspray to loosen the highlighter ink
- Once the stain is on the fabric’s surface, you can create a solution of one quart of warm water, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap and target the highlighter stain
- Soak a white cloth in the homemade stain remover and apply the mixture to the affected area
- Let the clothing sit for 30 minutes, and press the stained garment together until the highlighter stain disappears
- Rinse the clothing with cold running water to remove the vinegar solution
How To Remove Yellow Highlighter From Fabric?
Yellow highlighters like neon yellow are harder to remove than other highlighter color stains. Therefore, you should use a more concentrated stain remover, like a detergent, and target the affected area.
- Cover the yellow highlighter stain with a detergent that’s safe for the fabric type you have
- Rub the detergent into the stain with a clean, white cloth
- Let the clothing sit for half an hour
- Rinse off the detergent and wash the clothes as usual
Can Highlighter Be Erased?
Keep hope if you accidentally get highlighter ink on your clothes. It should be removable from common household products like alcohol, acetone, hydrogen peroxide, and even lemon juice.
However, dried highlighter stains are harder to remove. Furthermore, you should consider the safest process for your fabric type, especially delicate materials and dark colors.
All in all, check your garment’s care tag and follow the stain remover’s product label on how to use it. You can also bring your clothes to a cleaning service rather than experiment with products that might ruin your items.
Is Highlighter Permanent On Clothes?
Highlighter ink is not permanent on clothes, but depending on the stain, you may need to do the process a couple of times to remove the stain altogether. You can also combine different methods like baking soda, vinegar, and detergent.
You can also pre-treat the stain before soaking it in a cleaning solution. Some highlighter brands might also have an official FAQ page tackling highlighter clothes stains on their website.
But if you get the highlighter ink on another home item, you can browse our blog for the helpful steps you can do. For example, do you know how to get highlighter out of carpet?
And that’s it! You just learned how do you get dried highlighter out of clothes using 13 methods.
Choose from alcohol, acetone, hydrogen peroxide, laundry detergent, bleach, dish soap, baking soda, toothpaste, salt, lemon juice, vinegar, ice cubes, and hairspray. But ultimately, test the stain remover on a small fabric spot to ensure no reaction.