Cindy said, “Hi I had emulsion paint on my t-shirt that is made of 65% polyester and 35% cotton and everyone has said rubbing alcohol will remove the stain but it has left lighter patches where the rubbing alcohol has been is there anything I can put on to remove the light patches”
Although rubbing alcohol is very effective for removing some types of stains, such as paint, ink or tree sap, it can also cause stains of its own. There are two reasons why rubbing alcohol may cause stains. First, rubbing alcohol is not pure isopropyl alcohol; it contains other ingredients, including dye, which can leave a dye stain on fabric. The other way that rubbing alcohol can leave stains is that it acts as a mild bleach, as do other forms of alcohol such as vodka or isopropyl alcohol.
Removing Alcohol-Caused Dye Stains:
These stains are most common on lighter colors of fabric. To remove the, use the steps in the article How to Remove Dye Stains from Clothing.
Removing Alcohol-Caused Bleach Stains:
Just as the alcohol can work well for removing dye stains like ink or marker from fabric, it can also loosen or remove the fabric dye. Since the fabric dye has been removed, the only way to repair the problem is to replace the dye. There are several ways this can be accomplished.
You Will Need:
- Cotton balls
- Rubbing alcohol
- Fabric marker
- RIT Color Remover
- Fabric Dye
- RIT Dye Fixative
Steps to Remove the Stains:
- The fact that the alcohol has remove the fabric dye means that the dye is loose, which means that it can be moved. Moisten a cotton ball or cleaning cloth with some rubbing alcohol and rub the cloth around the stain to loosen the dye around it, then rub the cotton ball over the stains to drag the loosened dye over the area.
- Another way to replace the dye is to use a fabric marker that is a same or similar color. Lightly brush the marker over the stain to gently apply the ink, using caution not to apply too much ink at one time. If too much ink is used, simply blot the area with rubbing alcohol to remove the excess.
- If necessary, the entire garment can be redyed. Select a fabric dye from your local craft store or supermarket that is a similar color to the current color of the item. Use RIT Color Remover to remove the rest of the current dye from the item, then dye it the new color following the instructions on the label of your selected dye. Afterward, use RIT Dye Fixative to set the new dye.
Additional Tips and Advice
- All types of rubbing alcohol are considered poisonous. Wear gloves when handling rubbing alcohol and avoid inhaling the fumes.
- Don Aslett’s Stainbuster’s Bible by Don Aslett
- Stain Removal by Stephanie Zia
How do I get isopropyl rubbing alcohol 70% spots from my leather boots? I used it to stretch them, and it left spots in certain areas; it looks like dried water spots. If you could give a solution, that would be great. Thank you, Laura
Leather has its own care and cleaning procedues. First, use a leather cleaner. If the stains remain, try using a leather conditioner. If they still won’t budge, you may need to redye the leather.
Help! I dropped alcohol bottle on hardwood floor, left a large white splotch. Can I get rid of it?
Alcohol stains on wood are usually only stains on the sealant, not damage to the wood itself, and they can sometimes be removed with some oil. Put a few drops of cooking oil on a cloth and gently rub it over the stain until it’s gone, then use the dry part of the cloth to remove any excess oil. If that doesn’t work, you can try using a furnigure polish. If those don’t help, you will need to refinish the area, but it’s not as difficult as it sounds. Test the wood to determine what type of finish (sealant) you have first; here is a guide that can help. Next, tape off the area, use a wood stripper to remove the sealant, then wipe new sealant over the area. Here is a YouTube video that shows the process using polyurethane. Good luck!
Apologies, my white polo shirt (100% cotton and not to be bleached per label) had a ballpoint pen mark on it and so I used a paper towel and soaked the area with isopropyl alcohol for 30 minutes.
Then I cleaned the affected area with water and placed the shirt in the washing machine the following day. I can now see a stain on the affected area. It’s a apparent circular light brown stain which gets worse from the center to the outer border of the circle. Think I may have used too much isopropyl alcohol on the area. =(
This is my first time cleaning ballpoint point from a fabric and I obviously messed up. =( I presume the stain is dye from original fabric? But I am confused on why it’s turned brown unless it’s due to the mixture of colors to get the white/cream?
I really like the shirt so am afraid to experiment any further causing further damage. I would be grateful for any help and suggestions on what is best to do next. Many thanks.
The trick to using alcohol to remove ink stains is that you need to blot up the ink with a cloth. The alcohol loosens the ink so it can easily be blotted up. It sounds like since you only soaked the stain, the ink spread. Cotton fabrics are naturally white, not brown, so the discoloration is almost certainly ink even though it has faded to brown.
Soaking the area again with alcohol may work, but be sure to repeatedly blot to remove the stain. Soak for a minute, then blot (press a cloth onto the area), soak again, blot, and so on until the area is white. Use a white cloth for blotting so no color is transferred to the shirt, or cotton balls can be used instead. This is the guide that you need: How to Remove Ink Stains from Cotton Fabrics. There are several other suggestions on there as well besides alcohol.
Also, when a clothing tag says “Do not use bleach,” it’s referring to chlorine bleach. OxyClean is an oxygen bleach and should be safe to use.
The rubbing alcohol made the stains in my microfibre couch worse. Now I have a bunch of circles like water marks.