How To Get Highlighter Out Of Clothes
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How To Get Highlighter Out Of Clothes

How to get highlighter out of clothes is not a difficult question to answer, but why are there several people finding the solutions every day? It’s mainly because cleaning stains depends on different factors such as your clothes’ material or highlighter type.

That’s why I will provide the ultimate guideline to tackle this issue without throwing away your clothes and help you prevent the same situation in the future. Scroll down and discover now!

Prevent Highlighter Leak
Learning tips to prevent highlighter leak is necessary for your daily work.

What Is Highlighter?

Highlighter is a marker made of a compound called fluorescein. It is one of the popular items for office work and receives appreciation from users thanks to its highlight function. 

Have you ever wondered how many colors of highlighters are on the market? In fact, the need for highlighting in work and study contributes to the diverse color of highlighters, up to 30 colors. Can you believe this? 

Highlighter Marker
Highlighter is a wonderful item for working and studying

Why Do You Need To Remove Highlighters From Clothes?

It’s undeniable that a highlighter is significantly helpful for your daily activities, but it can become a problem if we use it carelessly. When the ink from highlighter leeches, you can’t handle it in time, resulting in stains on the surrounding area, especially your clothes.

You should learn how to get the highlighter out of clothes to avoid harmful chemicals touching your skin. At first, you may ignore the stain and keep working, but some stubborn stains can last longer on your clothes and go deep into your skin.

Second, you can save your clothes from being destroyed. In many circumstances, the fabric quality is not good or delicate, so the unprocessed stain can easily tear your garment if you don’t have any treatment.

After all, knowing how to remove highlighter stains from clothes aims to minimize the losses on your clothes. Keep reading and find the measure you need!

Different Methods To Deal With Highlighters On Your Clothes

Having stains on clothes is not what you want to appear, but you can not predict anything in the future. Because you have to use a highlighter regularly, learning how to get the highlighter out of clothes is not redundant work. 

So, have you ever wondered how many methods you can use? Don’t wait and discover now!    

Method 1: Cleaning With Saltwater

Salt is a must-have item in every house, so you can clean the stain on your garment quickly without concerning other cleaners. There are two options you can choose according to the state of the stain. Jump to the instruction part below and follow carefully.

What you need:

  • Salt
  • Milk ( For option 1)
  • Laundry detergent
Option 1: Use For A Fresh Stain

For a new highlighter stain, you can apply this option to get a good result.

Step 1: Take a spoon of salt to dap on the stained area and wait for 10 minutes

Step 2: Soak the garment in a bowl of milk overnight

Step 3: Take the garment out of the bowl and wash them under cool water

Step 4: Launder with laundry detergent in the washing machine or wash by hand as directed on clothes. 

Option 2: Use For Normal Stain

Step 1: Mix ½ cup of salt with a suitable volume of cold water. Place this mixture on the affected area.

Step 2: Let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Then, rinse all the salt from the clothes with cool water.

Step 3: Wash as normal with the laundry detergent 

Note: You can’t use the two options above for dry clean only fabric.

Saltwater in Table
You can utilize the saltwater for different purposes

Method 2: Cleaning With Lemon Juice

You must be amazed by the appearance of lemon juice here. You may know that lemon juice contains acidic acid, which can be a fantastic tool for removing stains (1). You can learn how to do that right now!

What you need:

  • Lemon juice
  • Iron (For option 1)
  • Salt (For option 2)
Option 1: Lemon Juice And Iron

Step 1: Rub a piece of the lemon on highlighter stain

Step 2: Place the steam-equipped iron near the stain to remove.

Step 3: Wash as usual with water.

Option 2: Lemon Juice And Salt

Step 1: Prepare a cup of lemon juice, and let the stained area on your garment soak in it for 1 hour or overnight to remove the dirt entirely.

Step 3: Scrub lemon juice on the affected area with a tablespoon of salt. Place it on the affected area and rinse as usual after the stain disappears.

Method 3: Cleaning With Baking Soda And Vinegar

I believe that baking soda and vinegar are not strange to you because you have to use one of them at least once until now. These cleaners have fantastic cleaning functions, so many people prefer to buy them for treating stains from ink or oil.

Step 1: You put the stained area into enough volume of the vinegar container.

Step 2: You make a mixture of vinegar and baking soda following the ratio of 1 tablespoon vinegar: 3 tablespoons baking soda.

Step 3: Place this paste on the affected area and then rub the garment gently with your fingers.

Step 4: Let your garment sit overnight. On the next day, you can remove the remaining solids by shaking your clothes.

Step 5: Wash your clothes.

Note: If the paste you have made on step 2 can’t cover the stained area entirely. Feel free to make more mixtures.

Method 4: Cleaning With Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is a recommended method for removing different kinds of stains. Although this method is familiar to you, you shouldn’t be subjective because making a wrong action will result in unreversed damage.

What you need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towel
  • Bucket
  • Cotton ball

Before continuing with the instruction part, I suggest you mark exactly the stained area. It’s mainly because highlighter ink can deceive you in some cases. Indeed, you can’t find any stain while washing, but the highlighter stain can be suddenly visible after drying.


Step 1: Place a paper towel under the stained area and let it absorb the stain on your clothes before undertaking the next steps. By doing this, you can prevent the highlighter stain from spreading deeper into the fabric.

Step 2: Check the efficiency of rubbing alcohol on a hidden side of the garment. If you see any changes in the texture or clothes’ color, stop using this technique with your clothes. If the rubbing alcohol is safe to use on your garment, you can continue to step 3.

Step 3: Wet a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and dab on the stained area. It’s not suggested to scrub the stain because it can spread to other places of clothes. This way will work best with a small stained area.

Step 4: If the stain is big, you can place your garment in a bucket and pour the rubbing alcohol on the stained area.

Step 5: Use paper towels to blot the surfaces of the affected area.

Step 6: If the stain doesn’t disappear, you should repeat the process

Note: You can add salt to the washing container that can help increase the effect of cleaning.

Rubbing alcohol and its practical benefit on removing ink on clothes. Watch this video:

Watch this video: Incredble Ink Removal Process

Method 5: Cleaning With Milk

Milk? Use milk to remove the stain? They are the exact questions you are thinking, right? It sounds unbelievable, but milk actually works for cleaning stains. Still do not believe it?. You can try to apply this tool by yourself and see the outcome.

What you need:

  • Milk
  • Water
  • Container (Bowl, etc.)


Step 1: Fill a container (e.g., bowl) with a suitable quantity of milk

Step 2: Soak the stained area into the milk container and brush carefully.

Step 3: Wash your clothes with water

Step 4: Keep repeating the steps above if you can see the stain on your garment

Method 6: Cleaning With Hair Spray

Hair spray containing alcohol will be your best choice if you want to clean the stain on synthetic fabrics. Scroll down and discover how you use hair spray to get the highlighter out of clothes.

What you need

  • Hair spray


Step 1: Spray enough hair spray on the stained area until you feel slightly wet on the backside.

Step 2: Wait for the stain to be clotted and crackled in 5-10 minutes.

Step 3: Wash your clothes with cool water

Method 7: Cleaning With Ink Or Stain Remover

I believe that you have wondered if any products specialize in cleaning ink or stains. The answer is yes. If you don’t want to consider tools for removing stains, you can buy ink or stain remover in the stores. 

What you need

  • Ink remover (recommend use Amodex)/ Stain remover
  • Brush
  • Laundry detergent
  • Paper towel


Step 1: Don’t let the clothes wet because some stain remover can’t work effectively with wet clothes. In addition, you can prevent the highlighter ink from leaking by placing a paper towel beneath the stained area.

Step 2: Read the instructions on the product package carefully before cleaning to avoid unexpected damage to your clothes.

Step 3: Pour an appropriate volume of ink remover/ stain remover on the stained area. You use a brush to scrub the affected area.

Step 4: When you see the highlighter ink is invisible, you can launder it with a small amount of laundry detergent.

Step 5: Check the result. You can put them in a dryer and follow the directions on the clothes tag. 

Method 8: Cleaning With Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is a popular solvent that you can find in any supermarket or online store. However, it can’t apply to all clothes materials, especially delicate fabric. I don’t suggest using this technique for silk, leather, and suede fabrics. Be careful!

In addition, hand sanitizer with strong alcohol content won’t work effectively with dark-colored materials.

What you need

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Paper towel
  • Tissue (optional)


Step 1: Place a paper towel or tissue under the stained area

Step 2: Spray hand sanitizer on a paper towel/tissue and put it on the affected area.

Step 3: You gently let the wet paper absorb the highlighter ink

Step 4: Rinse the stained area with water for a couple of minutes, and you can see the ink dissolve slowly.


  • You can use paper towels or cleaning tissues to dry the stained area instead of washing with water.

If you worry about ink stain on your clothes, this video is right for you:

Watch this video: How To Remove Ink From Clothes

What Should You Do With Old Highlighter Stains?

Supposing you will go out with your friends, you suddenly find minor highlighter stains on your white shirt. You don’t have any memory of this accident, and you must be worried about this stain because you have missed the best time to treat it.

However, you should calm down and find an important tool to treat this stain as soon as possible: rubbing alcohol.  As I have mentioned above, rubbing alcohol is highly effective for both new and old highlighter stains. You can follow my instructions below.

What you need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towel
  • Container
  • Swab (optional)


Step 1: Fill the container with alcohol and then dip the paper towel or swab into the container.

Step 2: Rub the stained area on your clothes carefully until the highlighter stains are invisible. 

Step 3: Cover a new paper towel or swap on the stained area to dry the clothes’ surfaces.

Step 4: If the stains are still there, you have to repeat 3 steps above.

On the other hand, you can replace the rubbing alcohol with nail remover to get rid of highlighter stains. However, you should avoid applying this technique with wool, silk, and other fabrics which don’t run color with washing.

Another technique that you can apply to old highlighter stains is the freezer. It sounds strange, right? First, let your garment soak in saltwater, and then take it out and squeeze a bit. You place your clothes in the freezer overnight.

The next day, you can defrost your garment and launder as usual.  


You can find rubbing alcohol at any stores such as supermarkets, medical stores, or home product retailers.

Rubbing alcohol works properly with plastic and metal surfaces. However, with the varnished surfaces, this tool is not effective and even peels the paint.

If you are afraid of your clothes being ruined by rubbing alcohol, you can test with a hidden area before applying it.


Although I have tried to cover all aspects of getting rid of highlighters, there are some concerns that you need to solve. Hence, I have created this section to meet your requirements. Let’s check one by one!

Is Rubbing Alcohol Safe To Use For Cleaning Highlighter Stain?

Rubbing alcohol is safe to use, so you don’t need to be worried. Moreover, I suggest that you can use gloves to protect your hands when approaching with chemical-contained cleaners.

Can Vinegar Bleach The Clothes Color?

Yes, it can. Vinegar usually helps you remove unwanted stains on your clothes, but it also changes the original color of your clothes quickly. Therefore, you should consider the instruction tag on your clothes and use a suitable quantity of vinegar.

Are There Any Differences Between Isopropyl Alcohol And Rubbing Alcohol?

Yes. Isopropyl alcohol and rubbing alcohol are different. While rubbing alcohol is mainly used in cleaning products, isopropyl alcohol is an essential item in hospitals, sanitation rooms, etc. (2)

Can I Use Over Two Methods At The Same Time?

No, you can’t. Because each method is different in usage, it’s suggested to apply one by one to avoid damaging your clothes.

What Should I Do If All Methods Don’t Work?

In this case, I advise you to go to the professional dry cleaner and identify the problem with your clothes.

What Can I Do If I Can’t Treat The Stain Immediately?

Because of specific reasons, you can’t treat the stain immediately. In this case, you can try to rinse with cold water to remove most parts of the stain.

Can I Get Highlighter Out Of Bed Sheets?

Definitely yes. You use a sponge soaked in rubbing alcohol and then dab around the stained area. Next, you can treat the stain by applying the alcohol directly to the affected area. You can replace the rubbing alcohol with hand sanitizer.

What Methods Can I Use To Get Highlighter Make-Up Out Of Clothes?

You can let the stain come off clothes by dapping a makeup remover wipe on the stained area. This way would help with fresh stains. A piece of tape covering the stain is an excellent choice to remove the powder stain.

A different method is to dampen a sponge with a dish soap and water mixture and dab on a stained area.

Shaving cream is another choice for you to treat highlighter makeup stains. Cover the stained area with enough shaving cream. Let the garment sit for 10 minutes, then wet a cloth with cool water to remove the shaving cream.

Bonus Tips For Getting Highlighter Out Of Clothes

Besides the cleaning methods I have introduced above, there are some extra tricks that you can learn to have a better cleaning efficiency.

  • Treat the stain as soon as possible.
  • Remember to test the chemical supplies on a hidden area on your clothes before treating the stains.
  • Read the instruction tag on your clothes before laundering.

In any circumstances, don’t give up too soon and try your best. I hope that this post will be helpful for your home life. If you have any ideas or thoughts about removing highlighter stains, don’t forget to leave your comment below!

How To Get Highlighter Out Of Clothes


1. 2021. Cleaning With Lemon Experiment | Science project |

2. 2021. Isopropyl Alcohol vs. Rubbing Alcohol: Are They the Same? | Pulchra.

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Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

Home Cleaning Specialist

Expertise: In-depth Knowledge of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses, Advanced Home Sanitization, Techniques Expertise in Cleaning and Maintaining, Various Floor Types, Innovations in Home Cleaning Tools

School: American College of Home Economics

Kevin Jones is a seasoned home cleaning specialist with over a decade of experience in the industry. A stickler for cleanliness and organization, Kevin brings a systematic and innovative approach to home maintenance. His expertise ranges from traditional methods to modern cleaning technology, ensuring homes are not just clean but healthy environments too.

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