How To Remove Highlighter Stain From Washable Fabrics

February 15, 2023

Highlighters are a popular tool for students, teachers, and anyone who needs to mark up text in a document. However, if you accidentally get highlighter ink on your clothes or other washable fabrics, it can leave behind a stubborn stain that's difficult to remove. If you're looking for effective ways to get rid of highlighter stains and save your favorite clothing items from ruin, you're in the right place. In this article, we'll share some easy-to-follow tips and tricks for removing highlighter stains from washable fabrics. Whether you're dealing with a fresh stain or one that's been sitting for a while, these tips will help you get your fabrics looking as good as new.


Various Colors


These stains may appear as a fluorescent-colored mark on the fabric, and could be slightly sticky or dry. They may also have a chemical or sharp smell.


Cold (65° to 75°F)


Cold water helps to prevent the dye from setting and spreading.

The Science Behind Highlighter Stains

Highlighter stains clothes because the ink in highlighters contains fluorescent dyes that are designed to glow under black light. These dyes are water-soluble, which means that they can easily seep into the fibers of fabric and bond with them. The combination of the fluorescent dyes and the fabric fibers results in the bright, often neon-colored stain that can be difficult to remove.

What You'll Need To Get Rid Of Highlighter Stains

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Liquid laundry detergent
  • Stain remover (e.g. OxiClean)
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Clean, white cloth or paper towel
  • Cold water

Step By Step Process To Remove Highlighter Stains

  1. Blot the stain with a clean, white cloth or paper towel to remove as much of the ink as possible.
  2. Rinse the stained area under cold water to further remove the ink.
  3. Combine one tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of liquid laundry detergent with two cups of cold water. Soak the stained garment in this mixture for 30 minutes.
  4. Rinse the garment thoroughly with cold water.
  5. If the stain remains, create a paste using baking soda and cold water, and apply it to the stained area. Let it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing with cold water.
  6. If the stain is still visible, apply a stain remover (such as OxiClean) to the affected area and follow the product instructions.
  7. Wash the garment in the washing machine with cold water and laundry detergent. Do not use warm or hot water as it can set the stain.
  8. Inspect the garment before drying to ensure that the stain has been completely removed. If not, repeat the above steps.
Note: Before using any of the above items, it is always a good idea to test them on an inconspicuous area of the garment first to ensure that they don't cause any damage.

In Brief

Highlighter ink stains clothes due to the water-soluble fluorescent dyes in the ink. To remove these stains from washable fabrics, blot the stain, rinse with cold water, soak in a solution of white vinegar and laundry detergent, and wash in cold water. Use baking soda or a stain remover if necessary. Always test on an inconspicuous area first. Avoid using hot water, which can set the stain.

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