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School Supply Stain Removal: Ink, Glue, and Washable Paint

school supply stain removal


The transition between summer sun and heading back to school brings with it a whole new set of stains. While summer months were spent trying to remove stains like ice cream, mud, and grass, school supplies like glue, ballpoint pen, and washable paint seem to dominate laundry day during the school year.

To help make school year laundry a breeze, we put together a simple guide of tips that you can try to help with these common school stains. Remember, before trying any of these tips, check your garment’s care label.


Ballpoint pens are a back-to-school staple, but their ink can be a pain to remove. To try treating the stain, you’ll want to grab a few items: paper towel, isopropyl alcohol, and liquid laundry detergent.

  1. Check the garment for colorfastness. Flush the stain with isopropyl alcohol, being careful to apply it to the stain directly. Leave the alcohol on the stain for 15 minutes, and use the paper towel to blot the spot. This may help the ballpoint pen ink dissolve
  2. Rinse the stain under cold water and consider using a stain-fighting liquid laundry detergent to pre-treat the stain.
  3. Wash on the usual cycle, using the hottest temperature indicated on the garment’s care label
  4. Check the garment to see if the stain is lifted before placing it in the dryer.


School glue, also known as white glue, is used often in grade school for projects in school and at home. Its runny liquid consistency makes it easy to apply, and easy to drip onto clothes by accident.

Once you’ve checked the garment’s care label, you can try these steps on the stain:

  1. Remove any excess hardened glue by gently scraping the stain with a dull knife
  2. Turn the garment inside out and flood the stained area with cold water
  3. Wash the garment per usual. If the stain persists, you can retry the steps above. Do not place the garment in the dryer if it is still stained.


Paint stains? Don’t panic. There are some things you can try to help when washable paint gets on clothes:

  1. If the spot is still wet, gently scrape off any excess paint with a dull knife. If the stain is dry, or if you’ve removed the excess from the fresh stain, start by pre-treating liquid laundry detergent. Let the detergent sit on the spot for 5 minutes.
  2. Fill a clean sink with water and liquid laundry detergent and soak the pre-treated garment for about an hour.
  3. Wash the garment per usual. If the stain persists, retry the steps above. Do not place the garment in the dryer until the stain is removed.

Relevant Products in this Article

  • all® fresh clean liquid laundry detergent, SUNSHINE FRESH

  • all® fresh clean OXI PLUS ODOR LIFTER liquid laundry detergent

  • all® fresh clean MIGHTY PACS® laundry detergent, SUNSHINE FRESH