The funny thing about living anywhere in the world is that even though you might speak the same language some things are just called by different names, which often makes it hard to communicate. Most Americans would not know how to remove Biro stains, but they might have some idea how to remove ballpoint pen stains. In effect they are the exact same thing because a ballpoint pen is referred to as a Biro (after the inventor Lazlo Biro) almost everywhere around the world except in the United States! However, it doesn’t really matter what you call those tenacious stains that are among the most difficult type to remove. What really matters is finding a way to remove them without ruining your clothing.
There are a number of laundry stain removing products on the market that are advertized as being effective in removing Biro stains. One of those products is Resolve. They actually have three different formulas that are listed as being capable of removing ink stains which include Resolve Laundry Stain Remover Foaming Aerosol, Resolve Max Trigger and Resolve In-Wash Stain Remover. Each of those comes with their own set of instructions which should be thoroughly read prior to using the product.
Two other manufacturers have products as well, among which are the Clorox Bleach Pen Gel and any of the Shout Stain Remover products. Unfortunately, most of the commercially marketed stain removal products just don’t seem to be on hand when you notice those stains seeping through your shirt pocket or on your cuff where you somehow managed a tidy little smudge of Biro ink.
Turpentine, Mineral Spirits, Isopropyl Alcohol and WD-40
If you are going to use turpentine, mineral spirits, isopropyl alcohol or WD-40 you would want to be in a well ventilated area to avoid inhaling the fumes. While alcohol shouldn’t cause any health issues, the other solvents may so it is recommended that you make sure there is adequate ventilation prior to working with them. Turpentine and mineral spirits work in much the same way as a solvent but are totally different in formulation. While turpentine is derived from the distillation of sap from trees, minerals spirits are petroleum based. In any case, this type of product is generally used for materials other than delicate clothing.
If the Biro stain is on a piece of fabric, place a paper towel under the material and generously saturate the stain with one of these products. Take a clean white cloth and gently rub the stain off. Wash the item immediately. For ink stains on upholstery make sure to continue wiping with a clean damp cloth after the product has had a chance to dissolve the stain. One of the benefits of trying WD-40 is that you can actually direct the spray through the nozzle more easily which avoids dripping the solvent where it isn’t needed.
Removing Biro Stains on the Go
It’s all well and good to know how to remove Biro stains at home, but what can you do when you are out on the town or at work and notice an ink stain on your clothing? If you don’t happen to have a Clorox Bleach Pen on hand, there are a number of ‘home remedies’ that you could use to lift the ink before it has a chance to set. One of the problems with getting ink stains on your clothing while away from home is that your body heat will often set the stain even deeper. Two homemade recipes that are known for their efficacy are hairspray and milk.
Most women carry a small travel can of hairspray in their purse so if you don’t happen to have any on hand, grab the nearest lady! Place a napkin or paper towel under the fabric and generously spray the ink spot. After allowing it to soak for a few minutes, try to rinse the area as thoroughly as possible. When using milk, you would again place a napkin or paper towel under the stain and then start dabbing the spot with a milk saturated cloth or paper towel. Continue soaking the spot with fresh milk-soaked cloths until you don’t see any more ink coming away. Try to rinse the area as well as you can, otherwise you may walk around smelling like a sour baby bottle. (At least the Biro stain will be gone!)
In any case, the key is to try to lift that stain while it is fresh. The number one piece of advice you can give anyone when they ask you how to remove Biro stains is to attack them the moment you notice them. The longer those stains sit there, the harder it will be to remove them. If you are using any type of chemical formulation, remember to be in a large, well ventilated room and try to avoid getting the chemical on any area that does not need to have ink stains removed. Any of these products/techniques should do the trick if you catch the stain quickly enough. Just try to remember those words of caution your mother always advised when bandaging your knee after those minor ‘accidents’ as a child. “Try to be more careful next time.”