Printer ink stains are notoriously difficult to remove from just about every surface. Unfortunately, this also applies to ink that gets on our hands and other parts of our skin.
If you work with printer ink professionally or just casually as part of a hobby, you have probably encountered a stubborn ink stain or two on your hands and arms.
With the right technique, you can use DIY methods to successfully remove printer ink without drying out or damaging your skin.
This guide will explore how to get printer ink off hands using 6 different methods!
1. Use Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is a useful option for removing printer ink from your hands. Not only is rubbing alcohol very affordable, but it’s also easy to find.
Washing with rubbing alcohol is our top recommendation because it’s easy, effective, and affordable, which is why removing ink stains with rubbing alcohol is a popular option amongst professionals who work with printer ink daily.
To clean printer ink with rubbing alcohol, wet a clean cloth or paper towel with a few dabs and apply it to any part of your fingers or hands that have printer ink on them.
The alcohol should loosen up the ink and help you wash it away from your hands. After the ink is gone, you can wash your hands with regular soap and warm water.
Read our related article on How to Keep Printer Ink from Drying Out. Prolong the use of your printer ink with the advice from this complete guide!
2. Apply Hairspray to Your Hands
Just like rubbing alcohol, hairspray acts as a solvent and removes printer ink from your skin.
Spray a generous amount directly into your hands and allow it to sit for a few seconds, as this will help to break up and dissolve the ink.
After you’ve waited between 5 and 20 seconds, wash your hands over the sink with any regular soap and warm water.
TIP: You may want to apply some hand lotion to your hands after they have dried, as hairspray can pull some of the natural oil and moisture from your skin.
3. Wash with Tea Tree Oil
If you’re concerned about harsh chemicals damaging and drying your skin, we highly recommend trying tea tree oil. This gentle substance is surprisingly effective at cleaning out stains, but best of all, it will moisturize your skin simultaneously.
Pour a few drops directly onto your skin or a clean and dry washcloth. Rub your hands together, or use the cloth to scrub the printer ink stains from your skin.
It may take a few attempts to remove the ink from your hands, but you won’t have to worry about your skin drying out or becoming itchy.
Unfortunately, tea tree oil is more expensive than the previous two options, but it’s incredibly effective and a good option if you get printer ink on your hands frequently.
BONUS: Tea tree oil also works incredibly well for removing permanent marker or Sharpie ink from the skin and various hard surfaces. It also has a very mild and natural scent!
Once the tea tree oil has removed the ink from your hands, you can rinse them with clean, warm water. You shouldn’t even have to use any soap!
4. Try Cleaning Your Hands with Baby Oil
Baby oil is another option that can offer some impressive results.
Much like tea tree oil, baby oil is very gentle on your skin, so you won’t have to worry about dry, itchy, and cracked skin even if you use it numerous times.
Simply apply the baby oil directly to your hands and rub them together. The baby oil will help break up the ink and separate it from your skin.
Once you see the printer ink leaving your skin, you can wash your hands with an effective soap (like Lava soap) and warm water.
Again, this technique is great for those with sensitive or fragile skin, but it can leave your hands feeling somewhat oily, which may take some extra washing to remove.
If you routinely rely on one of the harsher cleaning techniques, you can try mixing in baby oil every once in a while as you clean your hands. This will help restore some of the moisture to your skin.
Read our related article on How to Remove Printer Ink from Carpet. Ink spills happen, but it doesn’t have to be the end of your favorite carpet! These tried and true methods work to remove ink from your carpet.
5. Apply a Glass Cleaner to Your Hands
Any commercial glass cleaning product, such as Windex, should help to remove stubborn printer ink stains from your skin.
To use it, spray the glass cleaner directly onto your hands, but don’t allow it to dry to your skin. You’ll have to rub your hands together very quickly, as most commercial glass cleaners dry quickly after the product leaves the bottle.
Seconds after spraying it onto your skin and rubbing at the ink stains, you should wash and rinse your hands using mild hand soap and warm water.
Keep in mind that this is one of the harsher techniques on the list, so you shouldn’t use it daily.
TIP: To reduce drying, apply moisturizing hand cream after using glass cleaner to remove ink from your hands.
6. Diluted Bleach Will Work in a Pinch
While it’s certainly not good for your hands, heavily diluted chlorine bleach is very effective at removing ink stains.
Pour a small amount of bleach into a bleach-friendly container and mix it with at least ten parts of clean water.
Rub the solution on your hands until you clean the ink from your skin. After the ink has rubbed free, you’ll need to wash your hands with soap and water.
WARNING: Since chlorine bleach is such a powerful chemical, the smell can linger long after washing it from your skin.
If you detect an odor, try using citrus juice on your skin. Both orange and lemon juice work well at cutting that unpleasant bleach odor from your hands.
Once again, bleach can be very harsh, so you must make sure you dilute it properly before applying it to any part of your skin. You should also avoid using this technique regularly, as it will dry out your skin.
With that said, it’s incredibly effective and works very well for removing printer cartridge ink from other surfaces, such as tile floor, carpet, and tabletops.