Call it an occupational hazard, but just as burger flippers get splashed with hot oil and window cleaners with pigeons’ business, so the office worker will most likely spray themselves and their surroundings with printer ink. That’s just life at the white hot edge of printer usage. However, what elevates the office worker in this situation from laughing stock to quick thinking hero is knowing how to remove those ink stains afterwards.
In this article you’ll discover how to remove ink stains from a number of surfaces and fabrics that you might commonly find in an office, as you never know when that ink spray is going to occur and how far it will reach!
The chances are that if you’re in the office and some ink sprayage (OK, so that’s not technically a word but you follow the meaning!) is going to occur, then it’s your clothing that’s going to bear the brunt and these will mostly be washable fibres.
1. If possible start with a quick blast of hair spray on the stain as it will begin to loosen the ink’s hold on the fabric.
2. Make a solution containing warm water, half a tea spoon of washing detergent and one table spoon of white vinegar and leave the item to soak in it for about half an hour (if the fabric is cotton or linen then maybe lessen the vinegar dosage a bit).
3. Rinse with cold water and let dry
4. If the stain persists, then repeat 1 to 3 again.
5. If stain still persists, try putting rubbing alcohol on the stain, and also an absorbent pad soaked in alcohol and leave until the stain is removed.
There are some situations that you will get ink stains on non-washable fabrics. These go for carpets and other fabrics you cannot easily wash too. Here’s what you should do:
1. Use a sponge and water to gently rub from the centre of the stain outwards.
2. If possible use some hair spray to loosen the stain, and a few drops of white vinegar.
3. Leave for about half an hour but regularly use an absorbent pad to blot every 5 minutes or so.
4. If stain persists, repeat 1 to 3 again.
5. If stain still persists, try a few drops of rubbing alcohol, and also an absorbent pad soaked in alcohol and leave until the stain is removed.
Various softer office surfaces
Depending on how violent the ink explosion is, and how much of it you take as a body blow, you might end up staining some of the surfaces around you. These types of surfaces include plastics, ceramic tiles, glass, and vinyl. Here’s how you deal with these:
1. Start with an all purpose cleaner and follow their instructions.
2. If the stain remains cover it with an absorbent pad soaked with ammonia.
3. Clean well with a cloth of soapy water.
4. Rinse and allow to dry.
The last and perhaps most major of the surfaces you can stain with ink are the walls around you. To avoid the area around your printer looking like a poor man’s Jackson Pollock painting, here’s what you should do:
1. Wipe with a cloth soaking in soapy water with a few drops of ammonia added.
2. Rinse and dry.
3. Repeat if needed.
Mixing ink and a busy office is one day going to lead to disaster and knowing how to deal with the resulting ink stains quickly will save your clothing, your surroundings and even your dignity. Make sure your office has a ready supply of the few simple products mentioned in this article and then you can deal with the problem quickly and easily.
The alternative is always to pretend you’ve not seen that the toner needs changing and leave it for some other poor unfortunate soul to try and mop up the resulting damage.
About the author:
Michael Furniss is regular contributor to the Cartridge Save blog. From starting out his career as a journalist in Bolivia Michael has written on such diverse subjects such as pensions and travel.