It's an inevitable occurrence, and usually on your favorite item. Ballpoint ink tends to get in the worst places, no matter how diligent you are in keeping the ink from spreading to more than just the paper it was intended for. When ink gets on and all over the plastic in your life, there are a few ways to get it gone.
Tools of the Triumphant
If ink has found its way to a plastic cover, plaything or tablecloth, there are a few tools you will need to have in place before you begin to extract the stain from the material. A toothbrush, rubbing alcohol, clean cloth to transfer the ink, a can of WD40, hair spray, liquid dish soap and a soft cloth to wipe away any residue is important to have on hand for ink and other permeable stains that tend to happen as you go about your daily life. If you have these on hand and are also armed with a lemon or two, you more than likely will be able to remove ink from vinyl or any other surface, much less plastic, oilcloth or urethane-based materials.
How to Remove Ink From Plastic
To remove ink from plastic, you may need to take a few swipes at the stain before committing to a cleaner. Bring out your best and hunker down to test the spot. If the plastic is portable, such as a cutting board or play item, take it to a sink or hold it over a tub. Grab a clean cloth and some rubbing alcohol and test a small area that isn't obvious. If the rubbing alcohol works well with the plastic material, rub away until the ink lifts from the porous plastic surface and onto the clean cloth. Once the ink is removed, wash the spot with some soapy water to rid the plastic surface of potentially harmful rubbing alcohol film or residue.
Small Stain Surgery
If you have an ink stain on a precious item, such as a doll or figurine, you will need to be delicate in your removal process. Test a very small area to see what works before dousing the treasured piece in a chemical or homemade solution. Plastic doll faces can be wiped clean with an alcohol swipe or vinegar and liquid dish soap solution. However, both of these solutions can also cause damage to any hand painted or factory painted features, so be careful where you swipe. Move in small circles around the stain to pull it out of the plastic.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.