Your hand slips once and a pen leaves a big mark on your best cashmere sweater. As tempted as you may be to stuff the item in the back of your closet, don’t lose hope yet. Ink stains can generally be remedied with cold water and a mild shampoo. If this isn’t enough, a little bit of rubbing alcohol or non-acetone nail polish remover may get your cashmere looking as good as the day you bought it.
EditWashing with Soap and Water
- Lay the cashmere on a clean towel. Spread the cashmere out on a flat surface. Since you’ll be cleaning with water, it’s not a bad idea to do this in the bathtub or sink. Make sure you pick out a towel you don’t mind getting dirty, or use paper towels instead.
- Blot out the ink with an absorbent cloth. Remove as much of the ink as you can before washing. Paper towels work well enough and can be thrown away once they’re ink-stained. Press one against the ink stain, but don’t rub. Keep doing this until you can’t lift anymore ink from the stain.
- Mix some shampoo into cold water. You won’t need a lot of water, so get out a small bowl. Fill it with cold water, then add about a teaspoon of a mild shampoo like baby shampoo. You may also use a neutral dish or laundry detergent in place of the shampoo. Look for one that’s advertised to handle grease.
- A neutral detergent is one that’s mild or pH-neutral. If yours has bleach, brightening agents, or enzymes, it’s not safe to use. Look for ones that have the words mild or neutral on the label.
- Make sure the water is cold. Hot water causes stains to set in!
- Dab the soapy water onto the stain. Find a clean cloth, sponge, or cotton ball. Dip it into the water, then press it against the stain. Remember, rubbing spreads the stain, so avoid doing that. Press soapy water all over the stain and let it soak for 10-20 minutes.
- If you don’t mind getting the rest of the cashmere wet, it may be easier to wash it in the sink. Submerge it all in cold, soapy water.
- Rinse off the soap with clean water. Place a clean cloth or sponge under cold water until it’s damp, then use it to remove the soap. Dab it against the stained area until you’re sure all the soap is gone. If you’re having a hard time with this, you can rinse the entire cashmere object under cold water.
- Press a towel against the back side of the stain. If the stain is still there, flip the cashmere over. The stain should be face down with a towel or cloth under it. Get a second clean cloth or paper towel and hold it behind the stain. Now press down on it to force the ink out.
- Move the bottom cloth as it fills with ink. As you push out the ink, the bottom towel will absorb it. Check on it after every press. If the towel looks a little dirty, reposition it so the cashmere’s stain rests on a clean portion. This prevents the cashmere from reabsorbing the ink, so stay diligent.
- Lay the cashmere flat on a towel. Leave it exposed to the air but out of direct sunlight. To speed up drying, you can roll up the towel to press out excess moisture. This won’t harm the fabric as long as you avoid twisting or wringing it. Afterwards, lay the cashmere flat on a dry towel until it’s as good as new.
- If you try machine drying, stick to a short cycle on a cool temperature setting. Consider placing the cashmere in a laundry bag to prevent twisting.
- Avoid hanging the cashmere if possible, since gravity will cause it to stretch.
EditTreating Stubborn Stains
- Absorb ink with baking soda. Baking soda is a handy tool for lifting stains. Sprinkle it until the stain is covered by a thin layer. Now wait for the baking soda to do its magic. After a few minutes, it’ll appear dry and you can brush it off the cashmere. It won’t have much effect on dried stains, so move on to other treatments.
- Dab rubbing alcohol into the stain. Get a clean towel, sponge, or cotton ball and dip it into a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Press it onto the stain rather than rubbing it in. You should notice that some of the ink transfers to the towel. Repeat dabbing the rubbing alcohol on with clean portions of the towel until the stain vanishes completely.
- Some hair sprays can be used in place of rubbing alcohol. This works if alcohol is a significant ingredient in the product. Many modern hair sprays don’t include much alcohol, so they won’t help here.
- Blot the stain with non-acetone nail polish remover. Before you apply nail polish to your best cashmere, check the labeling. The product should not contain acetone. If yours doesn’t, pour a little bit of it on a clean towel, sponge, or cotton ball. Dab it on and repeat with more as needed. With any luck, even the toughest stain will fade.
- Always test out a cleaning solution on a hidden spot. This way, you won’t end up ruining good cashmere.
- Bleach should never be used, since it wears out cashmere threats.
EditThings You’ll Need
EditCleaning General Ink Stains
- Clean towels
- Mild shampoo or detergent
- Cold water
EditTreating Stubborn Stains
- Baking soda
- Rubbing alcohol
- Non-acetone nail polish remover
- Cotton balls or towels