Pat said, “Need to know how to remove Sharpie ink from hands (leaky pen).”
Regardless of the type of ink, be it ballpoint pen, permanent marker or printer ink, the removal methods are the same. For stronger inks like permanent marker, it will just take more time and more cleaning solution to remove it. If you can try to remove the ink immediately, it will be easier since the ink is still fresh. On the bright side, the ink will naturally come off of your skin over time.
You Will Need:
- Cleaning solution (choose one):
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Hand sanitizer (alcohol-based)
- Nail polish remover
- Vinegar (apple cider or white)
- Lemon juice
- A cloth
- An exfoliating tool or scrub
Steps to Remove the Ink:
- Choose a cleaning solution from the list above. If you don’t have isopropyl alcohol, drinking alcohol like vodka or rum can be used instead. Alcohol usually works very well on any ink.
- Put the cleaning solution on a cloth. If using toothpaste, wet the cloth first. If using saliva, apply it directly on the ink instead of on the cloth.
- Scrub the ink off with the cloth, rotating it to a clean area as the ink transfers to the cloth.
- When you have removed as much as you can with the cleaning solution, try exfoliating to further remove the ink.
- This can be done by scrubbing with some hand soap on a nail brush or other soft-bristled brush like an old toothbrush, or by using a loofa scrubber or pumice stone.
- Another option is to make an exfoliating body scrub by mixing some salt and oil, preferably olive oil or coconut oil, though any cooking oil should work. Sugar can be used instead of salt if needed.
- Saliva is suprisingly effective, even on Sharpie ink. Saliva was used to remove the Sharpie ink from the hand puppet in the image at the top of the page about 30 minutes after it was applied. As you can see, a faint bit remains, but for a quick spit bath, the results were great. Saliva contains a natural cleaning enzyme, amylase, which is why it works. Some scrubbing with a cloth is required as well though. If you need to use your shirt, rub with the inside of the shirt in case any ink is transferred to the fabric.
- If removing the ink is an emergency, one thing that will usually work almost instantly is 1/2 teaspoon of chlorine bleach in 1 cup of water. However, using bleach on your skin is a health concern, so only do this if you need to remove the ink for a job interview or other major life event. As soon as the ink is gone, wash the area with soap and scrub it clean with a cloth to remove the bleach. Do not increase the amount of chlorine used as you may end up with a chemical burn.
- Haley’s Cleaning Hints by Graham and Rosemary Haley
- Better Basics For The Home by Annie Berthold-Bond
- Clean It Fast, Clean It Right by Jeff Bredenberg