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Useful Tips > How to Clean Ink From Your Hands and Fabrics

How to Clean Ink From Your Hands and Fabrics

When changing inkjet cartridges, and especially when refilling them yourself, it sometimes happens that you end up with ink on your hands or, worse, on your clothes or in the carpet. The important thing is not to panic, and to turn to these simple steps for helping to get things cleaned up.
One way to prevent ink from staining your hands while refilling cartridges is to wear a pair of disposable gloves, but you may not have any on hand (no pun intended). Once you've gotten ink on your hands, there are several ways to go about cleaning them. Plain old soap and water will do the trick, but it may take a bit of time and a bit of scrubbing. Hand sanitizer is actually an excellent substance to employ in the process, as the alcohol in the sanitizer is highly effective at breaking up the ink compounds. Another household item you can use is glass cleaner, which has ammonia that quickly dissolves the ink. Simply spray the cleaner onto your hands, let it sit for a few seconds, then scrub off and wash your hands with regular soap. You can also use baby oil in the same way. It is generally a good idea to wash your hands with regular hand soap after using any of the above methods.
Things get a bit more difficult when you are dealing with stained clothing, but the process is still relatively straight-forward. An important thing to remember is to always use cold water during the cleaning process, as warm water actually helps the stain to set. There are several different ways of removing the stains, but a good idea is to dab the affected area with a wet cloth or towel (again, with cold water) until no more ink lifts onto the towel. After letting the stain air dry for a few minutes, you can use alcohol or even hair spray to coat the stain. Then, place the fabric between two dry towels or cloths and knead one side of the resulting "sandwich" so that the ink is transferred over to the cloth on the other side. Keep moving the cloth that is collecting the ink to make sure you are always dabbing onto a clean portion of cloth. You can then treat the fabric with pre-wash stain remover and toss in the wash. If the stain has already set, you can apply a little liquid detergent to the affected area and gently scrub it with a towel or even a toothbrush, which will help to lift part of the stain. For white fabrics, you can use chlorine bleach and cold water. For colors, you can use a mixture of detergent and ammonia. However, you should always test on a somewhat "hidden" area of the fabric just to be sure of the reaction you'll get with the fabric. Also, never mix ammonia and chlorine bleach, as this produces a dangerous gas.
For carpet, blot the stain with a dry towel, starting from the outside of the stain and working your way in. Then dampen a cotton towel with rubbing alcohol and blot the area until all of the ink is lifted. If the stain persists, you can also use hydrogen peroxide with a cotton towel to try and remove the remainder of the stain.
Sometimes accidents happen, but you can reduce the likelihood by always keeping an eye on where the nozzles are on the cartridge you are changing. It's a good idea to have paper towels on hand whenever attempting any printer maintenance, and a little bit of caution will go a long way.