How to Remove a Highlighter Stain From Jeans

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Things You'll Need

  • Wash cloth

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Liquid laundry detergent

  • Large bucket

  • Fabric safe powdered bleach

Highlighter ink can cause stains.

Hitting the books hard to study for exams often means many late nights of work. Getting sleepy comes with the territory. Highlighting important text is easy and convenient using highlighter pens. The dye is more see through than ink pens, but are still composed of a product that soaks into fabric. Accidental brushes of highlighter pens against jeans will leave a visible stain. Removal of the highlighter ink as soon as possible will produce more promising results than tossing them in a corner to clean at a later date.

Step 1

Wipe the highlighter mark with rubbing alcohol. Pour a small amount on a wash cloth and rub lightly. Rinse with warm water.

Step 2

Pour 2 tbsp. of liquid laundry detergent on the stain. Rub it in vigorously. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 3

Mix 1 cup of color-safe powdered bleach with 2 gallons of warm water. Place the jeans in the solution and let it soak for four or five hours.

Step 4

Wring out the jeans and place them in the washing machine. Add 1 cup of laundry detergent and run them through a normal wash cycle.

Step 5

Check the area to ensure the stain is completely gone. If not, repeat the process of soaking them in fabric safe bleach and laundering. Place the jeans in the dryer and dry them.


Test a small area to see if the jeans are sensitive to rubbing alcohol. Most are not, but it is good to be cautious.


Wear gloves when using bleaching products.

Do not use chlorine bleach with jeans. It causes irreversible color damage.

references & resources

Claudia Henning

Claudia Henning began her writing career as a "Lake Sun Leader" columnist in 1989. Her experience includes radio and Web writing, where she specializes in construction and home improvement project methods. She has an Associate of Science degree in physics/math from Del Mar College.