How To Remove Printer Ink Off Your Hands And Clothes

Changing the ink cartridges of a printer is a pretty straightforward process. Once in a while, things can get messy and spillage occurs, resulting in ink on your hands or clothes. This leads to immense frustration since removing it with water could be a challenge. 

The printer ink is not intended for skin. It can cause irritation, redness, and itching, which is uncomfortable.

The ink starts to fade away after two to three days of regular washing off of your skin. However, the ink from the fabric requires extra cleaning to be removed completely.

But, don’t fret. There are some very simple yet effective ways to get printer ink off your hands. The products used are mostly off-the-shelf and easily available in most households that can be used to remove spilled ink. Let’s continue to see what these are. 

Simple Methods to Remove Printer Ink Stains

Nail Paint Remover

Nail polish removers are versatile when it comes to getting rid of tough stains, such as printer ink or even pen ink. Acetone is an active ingredient in nail paint removers responsible for cleaning chemical solvents, such as nail paint. 

Note: Acetone can cause dizziness, headaches, and irritation in the eyes, nose, skin, and throat if exposed to it for too long.

  1. Take a cotton pad and pour some nail polish remover on it.
    Since it is extremely volatile, acetone exposure makes skin dry. Therefore, don’t pour it directly on the skin. 
  2. Rub the cotton pad on the stain, and it will instantly take off the ink.
  3. Once it’s removed, wash your hands thoroughly with soap, handwash, or a hand sanitizer.
  4. Lastly, apply some lotion and wipe dry with a paper towel.

Hair Spray

Believe it or not, the alcohol content in the hairspray is likely to dissolve the ink stains from your hands.

  1. Spray some hairspray directly onto the ink stain. 
  2. Let it sit for a few seconds. It will break down and dissolve all the ink particles sticking to the hands. 
  3. Rinse with water while rubbing your hands together. 
  4. Follow it up with soap and water and wash your hands.

Hairspray on the skin can cause dryness, so make sure to moisturize your hands after cleaning.

Baby Oil 

The safest option to remove any printer ink is to opt for baby oil that is free of harsh chemicals and is extremely gentle on the skin. Remember, this method is most helpful when the ink is still fresh and wet. However, if it has dried out, baby oil might not be a successful method. 

  1. Pour the baby oil on a cotton pad or ball. 
  2. Rub it on the ink stain until it gets off entirely. 
  3. After it’s removed, wash your hands with soap or handwash.

Oil-Based Makeup Remover

Designed to clean makeup stains, an oil-based makeup remover comes with great cleaning properties. That said, this works amazingly on toner stains as well.

  1. Use your non-chemical makeup removal pad, or simply a cotton pad, and apply some makeup remover on it.
  2. Rub down the pad on the toner spillage on your skin until it comes off completely.
  3. When done, wash your hands with soap or handwash.

Tea Tree Oil

Despite being a natural product, tea tree oil has an impeccable stain-removing ability. You can remove the stubborn printer cartridge ink from your hands with it. The best thing about this essential oil is that it doesn’t dry out the skin at all.

  1. Pour some drops of oil on a cotton pad or directly onto the stain. 
  2. Spread it all over the ink stain, so that the ink is dissolved. 
  3. After a few seconds, rub it to take off the stain.
  4. Follow by rinsing your hands with water.
  5. Lastly, use soap or handwash to clean the leftover greasiness. 

Glass Cleaners

Generally, all glass cleaners have a common ingredient, i.e., ammonia. Ammonia is excellent when it comes to dissolving printer ink stains.

  1. Start by spraying some glass cleaner on the stain.
  2. Let it sit for a couple of seconds, so the ink is dissolved. 
  3. Now rub your hands together, or particularly the area where the ink stain is. 
  4. Rinse your hands thoroughly with water. 
  5. Use your regular soap or handwash to finish the washing.

Rubbing Alcohol

If you have a bottle of rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol laying around in your bathroom, grab it to remove the toner stains. Since it has strong sanitizing and cleaning properties, it can also be used to remove printer ink stains from the skin. 

  1. Pour some solution on a cotton pad or spray directly onto the stain.
  2. Rub the area with your finger until the ink comes off completely.
  3. Rinse your hands with water. 
  4. Finish off by washing your hands with soap or handwash. 

Using alcohol on your hands might dry out your skin, therefore, use some lotion afterward. 

Alcohol Swab

A store-bought alcohol swab has similar cleaning and sanitizing properties to rubbing alcohol. Hence, it is an effective way to remove any toner ink.

  1. Grab a new alcohol swab. 
  2. Gently rub it on the toner stain. 
  3. Once all of it is removed, wash your hands with soap or handwash. 
  4. Apply some moisturizer afterward.

Follow HP Recommendations

HP also recommends washing your hands immediately with abrasive soap if the ink spills over onto your hand or clothes.

To clean the ink from white clothes, use chlorine bleach and cold water to remove the stain.

To clean the ink from colored clothes, use sudsy ammonia, a dilute mixture of detergent and ammonia, and cold water.

Please note that if you use warm water, the ink color permanently puts the color onto the cloth.

The above-mentioned recommendations are applicable when the stains are fresh. But if the ink has dried out, you will need some heavy-duty stain-cleaning methods discussed below.

Heavy-duty cleaning solutions to get dried ink from hands and fabrics

If the stain persists even after trying all the aforementioned ways, here are some heavy-duty stain-cleaning options to remove ink from your hands and clothes.

Store-Bought Hand Cleaners

There are various hand cleaners in the market designed to rid stubborn stains, including printer toner inks. They share a common ingredient that are mild abrasives, which act as a scrub to remove stains. 

  1. Take a little bit of the cleaner on your hand and rub it on the stain till it lathers up. 
  2. Rinse your hands with water to remove the cleaner. 
  3. Now use heavy-duty soap and rub it on the stain for at least 10 to 15 seconds.
  4. Rinse it off with water.


This is an extremely useful laundry staple that every household has. Bleach has active and strong agents to fight the toughest stains, and hence, can also remove ink stains. Make sure to use non-chlorine or oxygen-based bleach for the skin. 

Note: Avoid this method if you have sensitive skin. Ammonia and chlorine are known to cause eye, nose, and throat irritation. They can also cause pigment loss, and in some cases, vomiting and nausea.

  1. Take two tablespoons of bleach in a bowl, mix it with ten parts of water, and mix well.
  2. Apply the solution to the area with ink stains. 
  3. Use a soft and dry cloth to rub the solution. 
  4. Keep rubbing gently until the stain comes off. 
  5. Wash your hands with soap or handwash when done.

Bleach can leave an unpleasant smell on your skin after use. You can use scented soap or handwash to overcome it. Don’t forget to use some lotion at the end. 

Baking Soda

You might not know this, but baking soda is not only used for cooking but also to remove some tough stains. Since it is not as harsh as bleach, people with sensitive and dry skin can use this method.

  1. Take a bowl and make a mixture by adding two tablespoons of baking powder and two tablespoons of water. 
  2. Mix until it transforms into a thick paste.
  3. Wet your hands with water and then apply the paste.
    Never apply it on dry hands. 
  4. Use a dry cloth to rub the solution till the stain comes off.
  5. As you see the stain disappear, wash your hands with soap or handwash. 

Pumice Stone

Pumice stone should be kept as a last resort if nothing else works. This is because the stone is quite abrasive and used to scrape off dead skin from feet. 

  1. Fill a bowl with warm water and soak your hand in it for a few minutes. 
  2. Grab the pumice stone and rub it gently on the stain.
    Don’t be too harsh with the rubbing, as it can damage the skin 
  3. The stone is likely to exfoliate the skin and remove stubborn ink and toner stains off your skin. 
  4. Rinse your hands with water. 
  5. Apply moisturizer if needed.

Avoid Getting Ink on Your Hands While Filling The Printer Cartridge/ Toner

Prevention is always better than cure. It’s important that we learn from our experiences. Once the ink is spilled on our hands or clothes, this should not happen again.

When filling your printer cartridge or toner, it is always important to take the necessary precautions to prevent ink from getting on your hands. Always wear gloves resistant to ink and other liquids. This will keep your hands clean of any mess while you perform the task. Additionally, use a cloth or paper towel when handling printer cartridges and toners. This will help absorb any excess liquid before it gets onto your hands or clothes.

Also, remember not to touch the inside of the printer cartridge, as this can cause excess ink to spill out onto your hands.

Once you’re done with the process, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for extra protection against stains. Following these steps will ensure you stay clean and free from unwanted ink stains on your hands.


When cleaning the ink or toner stains from the clothes, always read the fabric care instructions. Using cleaning chemicals may be inappropriate for some clothes.

If you spill the ink on your hands, immediately remove it using the methods given above. This will avoid permanent ink stains on your skin and clothes.

Always use good quality toners and ink to avoid unforeseeable circumstances.