Tips and Tricks Part Three: Stain Removal

Yesterday I wore a dress I really like to work, and I found myself having to test a paper with various types of ink. Unfortunately during the process, I accidentally splattered sumi ink everywhere-including on my dress. I certainly wasn’t happy about it, but I was thankful for a tip a sweet customer taught me this summer when I actually had sumi on one of my favorite dresses due to a small spill during a quick demo. When I used that same advice yesterday, one of our staff members suggested sharing it on the blog. Thus, part three of our Tips and Tricks series was born! And, no, the tip is not simply to never use sumi while wearing clothes you like. While we certainly suggest wearing clothes you wouldn’t mind having stains on when doing large volumes of calligraphy or when taking classes, inevitably you will end up with ink on clothing you care about-even if you wear an apron. So how do you salvage a piece of clothing after and ink spill? Master’s Brush Cleaner.

20151029_122242Master’s Brush Cleaner is a product we carry designed to clean out your brushes. It comes in a small plastic container, and if you ran a knife around the side, you could get the product to pop out of the container if needed. However, that isn’t necessary to clean your brushes and probably not even necessary to clean your clothes.

20151030_083327Because I wasn’t planning to write an article on removing stains at the time that I spilled sumi, I didn’t take a picture of my dress before applying the brush cleaner. However, as you can see in this after shot, there is no sumi left. Because you need to see the before and after, I recreated the situation.

A few years back, Steve, our employee who does custom printing, made t-shirts for the IAMPETH convention in Albuquerque. Steve said red is one of the hardest colors to work with when printing because it requires extra steps to get inks and transfers to show up on it, and it is nearly impossible to remove ink if you have a misfire during the printing process. Thus, it worked well to use a red shirt for this demo. While it was much more difficult to get the ink out of the shirt, it still shows how effective this product can be.

20151029_122129First, I laid the t-shirt on a table, and I applied sumi ink to it. Unfortunately, it came out a little more quickly than I anticipated, and it thoroughly saturated the shirt (seeping through to the back). I was curious to see how well Master’s Brush Cleaner would work on such a large, deep stain.

Next, I took the shirt and rubbed each spot into the brush cleaner container, being sure to coat it pretty well. Then, I wet the shirt and used a paper towel to start rubbing out the stain. I also rubbed the shirt against itself a bit to create suds.


20151029_122552From there, I continued to alternate applying the cleaner, rubbing it, and rinsing it. Because it was so saturated, I also used a kitchen scrub brush. After the first couple of rinses, I decided to focus my efforts on the largest part of the stain.

20151029_133734-1As you can see, the large stain is pretty much gone, and the other spots are much lighter. This is only from applying the Master’s Brush Cleaner and using a paper towel, a brush, and some rinsing. I highly suspect a run through the wash would remove what was left. I can say that for my dress, the stain was completely gone with just using the cleaner, water, and a paper towel to rub out the stain. The customer who suggested this tip said it removed black ink from a white blouse.

I would certainly suggest adding Master’s Brush Cleaner to your supplies-especially when you are working at conferences or in classes. It, of course, works well to clean your brushes, but the added stain removal property make it a must have. We’d love to hear your other tips on removing stains! Please share any tips you have in the comments of this article!


  1. …and by chance I tried this method out of desperation (before I read this tip) when I spilled black ink on my new jeans last week. I really didn’t expect the success I had, but had nothing else around to use. The ink had soaked right through the fabric to my leg. After the Master’s and a wash, the ink was all gone. I have to add that it was much harder to remove from my leg – and I am not kidding!

    • I’m glad it worked on your jeans! Yes, removing ink from your skin can be horrible. The same company that makes Master’s makes a hand soap, and it’s pretty good. However, I find it might take a couple of washes to get it all off even with that soap.

  2. Thanks for letting me know about it. If you’re using rubbing alcohol (aka isopropyl), daub it into the stain full-strength, let it air-dry, rinse it with alcohol, and repeat.

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