Whether you accidentally brushed against a highlighter or had a pen mishap in your pocket, dealing with highlighter stains on clothes can be frustrating. These vibrant ink stains are notorious for their stubbornness, but fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through various methods to effectively remove highlighter stains from different types of fabrics. From common household items to commercial stain removers, we’ve got you covered with tried-and-tested techniques. Say goodbye to those pesky stains and restore your clothes to their former glory!

How to Get Highlighter Out of Clothes

Highlighter stains can be a daunting challenge, but with the right approach, they can be conquered. Here’s how to remove highlighter stains from clothes effectively:

1. Blot the Stain Gently

When you notice a highlighter stain, act quickly to prevent it from setting. Take a clean, dry cloth or paper towel and gently blot the stain. Avoid rubbing, as it can spread the ink and make the stain worse. Blotting helps to lift excess ink from the fabric’s surface, making it easier to treat later.

2. Test a Hidden Area

Before applying any stain remover or cleaning solution, test it on an inconspicuous area of the fabric to check for colorfastness and any adverse reactions. This step ensures that the treatment won’t cause further damage to your clothes.

3. Pre-Treat the Stain

To effectively remove the highlighter stain, pre-treating is crucial. There are several pre-treatment options you can try:

  • Liquid Dish Soap: Apply a small amount of liquid dish soap directly to the stain and gently rub it in with your fingers. Let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda: Make a paste using equal parts of vinegar and baking soda. Apply the paste to the stain, and let it sit for about 15 minutes before rinsing.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol: Dampen a clean cloth with isopropyl alcohol and dab it on the stain. Be cautious with delicate fabrics, as alcohol may cause discoloration.
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Apply a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

4. Wash as Usual

After pre-treating the stain, launder the garment following the care instructions on the clothing label. Use the warmest water temperature recommended for the fabric type. Check the stain before drying the clothes; if the stain persists, repeat the pre-treatment process before washing again.

5. Use Commercial Stain Removers

If the highlighter stain remains after your initial efforts, consider using a commercial stain remover specifically designed for ink stains. Follow the instructions on the product’s label and make sure it is suitable for the fabric you are treating.

6. Natural Remedies for Delicate Fabrics

For delicate fabrics like silk or wool, it’s essential to use gentle stain removal methods:

  • Milk: Soak the stained area in milk for a few hours before washing it as usual.
  • Cornstarch: Cover the stain with cornstarch and let it sit for a few hours to absorb the ink. Gently brush off the cornstarch and wash the garment.

How to Get Highlighter Out of Clothes: FAQs

Q: Can I use bleach to remove highlighter stains?

A: It is not recommended to use bleach on highlighter stains, as it may cause further discoloration and damage to the fabric. Stick to safer stain removal methods to preserve your clothes.

Q: Can I use a hairdryer to speed up the stain removal process?

A: Using a hairdryer on a highlighter stain can set the ink permanently. Avoid heat until the stain is fully removed.

Q: What should I do if the fabric is not colorfast?

A: If you notice color bleeding during the stain removal process, stop immediately and rinse the area thoroughly with cold water. Take the garment to a professional cleaner for further assistance.

Q: Are highlighter stains permanent?

A: Highlighter stains can be challenging to remove, but with the right techniques and quick action, they are not always permanent.

Q: Can I use lemon juice to remove highlighter stains?

A: Lemon juice can be used as a natural stain remover. Apply it to the stain, let it sit for a few minutes, and wash the garment as usual.

Q: Should I use hot or cold water to remove highlighter stains?

A: Use cold water to remove highlighter stains, as hot water can set the ink and make the stain more challenging to remove.


Dealing with highlighter stains on clothes may seem like a daunting task, but armed with the right knowledge and techniques, you can effectively eliminate these stubborn marks. Remember to act quickly, pre-treat the stains, and use suitable methods for different fabric types. Whether you opt for household remedies or commercial stain removers, always test them on a hidden area first. By following the tips and tricks outlined in this guide, you can bid farewell to highlighter stains and keep your clothes looking fresh and clean.

Remember, practice patience and persistence when dealing with stubborn stains, and don’t be afraid to seek professional help if needed. With these expert tips, you’ll soon become a stain removal pro!