DeAnn Owens
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How Not to Make that Ink Mark on Your Headliner Worse

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The first weekend I had my Jeep (my first new car ever), a rock kicked up by the semi-truck in front of me hit the windshield, scared me to death, and left a permanent mark and reminder not to get attached to material goods—no matter how awesome they are. So, when my brother-in-law brought his new car home this past weekend and promptly added a pen stain to the headliner, I felt his pain.

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Even though my windshield nick was able to be “repaired” it didn’t warrant a new windshield, so that mark annoys me every time I get behind the wheel. Yet there’s hope for my brother-in-law’s interior mishap. According to writer Laure Justice, it is possible to remove ink leaked from a ballpoint pen from a car’s fabric headliner, making it as good as new.

According to Justice, ink is comprised of an oily substance and a dye, so you’ll need to “remove the waxy part first, then treat the dye stain.” To tackle the oily part, grab a dry cleaning solvent or rubbing alcohol. For the dye part, you’ll need a “spray upholstery cleaner labeled for ink removal,” advises Justice.

“Know the type of ink you are removing before applying a cleaning solvent,” warns Justice. “Cleaning solvents that work on one type of ink, such as nail polish remover on permanent ink, will smear another type of ink and set the stain.”

Check Out: 2017Jeep® Wrangler

Justice also advises doing a test patch on a less noticeable section of the headliner before addressing the stain and avoid using too much fluid, which can make the ink stain grow.

“Use a cotton swab or artist’s paintbrush to apply the cleaning solvent or rubbing alcohol directly to the ballpoint ink stain. Work the solvent gently into the ink stain using the cotton swab or the tip of an artist’s paintbrush,” advises Justice. “Press a clean white terry cloth against the stain to absorb the ink and solvent. This will occasionally remove all the ink, but typically, you have to keep working to get rid of the entire stain.”

Repeat this process until the ink disappears, advises Justice.

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DeAnn Owens is a Dayton transplant by way of the Windy City, yet considers herself to be a California girl at heart even though she’s only visited there once. To get through the dreaded allergy season unique to the Miami Valley, she reads, writes, complains about the weather, and enjoys spending time with her husband, two sons, and their newest addition, a Boston terrier puppy that is now in charge of all their lives. In the future, she hopes to write a novel and travel through time. See more articles by DeAnn.