We recently had company who flew here from another state. In flight, the air pressure somehow broke a highlighter that one of our guests packed along for the trip causing it to explode in several large hot pink spots on the bed sheets in our guest room. Our guest felt terrible, but I assured her that I’d look online to find a stain removal solution for the spots.
Most of the sources I found for stain removal suggested using rubbing alcohol to remove the stain. I was worried that treating the stain with rubbing alcohol might cause the highlighter to spread, bleach or discolor the fabric or burn a hole in the sheets. I figured with the pink highlighter stain they were already ruined so what did I have to lose? Here’s the stain removal technique I used to get rid of the highlighter in my cotton sheets:
What you need:
Instructions for Highlighter Stain Removal:
1. Mark the stains.
Before I started this stain removal technique, I marked the location of the stains with safety pins so that I would know where to look when the sheets came out of the dryer to see if the stains were gone.
2. Treat the stains with rubbing alcohol.
I wadded or folded a few paper towels and held them under the stain to prevent the highlighter from spreading to other parts of the fabric when I treated the stain. I then poured a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto another paper towel and used it to dab the stain. For larger or more saturated stains, I poured the rubbing alcohol directly on the stain and then continued to rub it with paper towel. The stain seemed to almost transfer from the sheets onto the paper towel that I was holding beneath the fabric.
3. Launder the sheets.
I then ran the sheets through my washer on the usual permanent press cycle.
4. Check the stains and retreat, if necessary.
When I removed the sheets from the washer I looked for the safety pins marking the location of the stains and found that most of the stains had disappeared. A few of the more saturated stains had faded to a light pink, so I retreated them using the same process as before and rewashed the sheets another time. When I removed the sheets from the washer the second time, I could no longer see any signs of pink highlighter stains on the sheets.
5. Dry the sheets.
As with any stain, it’s important to wait until the entire stain is gone before drying. Otherwise you risk setting the stain and make it impossible to remove later. Once I removed the sheets from the dryer, I checked the stain locations once more and removed the safety pins.
In the end, the sheets look as good as new and my guest was thrilled when I e-mailed her to let her know I was able to get the highlighter removed from the sheets. I also should note, my bedsheets were cream colored and a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester. I have not tried this technique to remove highlighter from other fabric colors or types, so use this method at your own risk, but do let me know if it’s successful for you!