How To Remove Water-Soluble Marks From Fabric, With Ease

you’ve spent time and love making a beautiful quilt or garment and now you are ready to show the world!

There is so much love poured into our hand-made work and whether its something we’ve made for ourselves or a gift for that someone special there comes a time in our journey when those little blue marks have to go away.

I remember one time when I was teaching a course at Martha Pullen School of Art Fashion working for hours and hours using silk dupioni. It was a lovely sky blue color and during the hand-making of the project I fell in love with silk. My project was turning out better than expected after some minor fixes and I was ready to clean it up for my husband, Marv to take the beauty shots to send off for creatives. You can probably tell where this story is headed…


  • If your project has any tearaway stabilizers or toppers gently remove
  • Fill a bucket, bowl or sink with clean fresh water
  • Because this is the most important point it bears repeating. Do not add soap, cleaners or any chemicals to your water. Soap or additives can cause a CHEMICAL REACTION with the water-soluble ink. To be safe, never use addititives until after you follow the steps below and are sure the ink has been washed away.
  • Soak your project in water until the marks have disappeared and discard the water. Notice I used the word SOAK. Think immersion, not sprinkling. Sprinkinling doesn’t remove the water-soluble ink. It moves it around and thins the ink concentration.
  • Pour a fresh batch of clean water into your container and soak again for another 20 minutes and then discard the water
  • Wring out the excess water and wrap it up in a big bath towel and do a little jig on the towel to remove the excess water
  • After this process you can launder with soap as desired

Now back to my disaster story. I followed the steps above to remove the blue marks and not only did they not disappear, they turned an ugly grey. You can imagine my feeling of panic thinking I would have to spend another 40 hours remaking my sample. Want to know why the marks turned grey? It wasn’t because I used additives in the water. The culprit was that during the process of blocking off my pattern on paper, I used a fine line permenant marker with my quilting ruler. I discovered the edge of my ruler had residual black ink that reacted with the water-soluble ink. I now have an older quilting ruler that is dedicated to drawing patterns with permenant markers and I don’t use it for anything else.

Photos: Play And Bake Shoppe, Roses & Arrows Fabric

6 thoughts on “How To Remove Water-Soluble Marks From Fabric, With Ease”

  1. looking for videos on how to use scan-n-cut 2 – bought at a great price but no lessons included on how to use

  2. Did you find a way to remove. Ive been trying to work out why i have igly yellow stains and i think the same thing happened as in your story. Did you fix your work?

    1. At one time I had sharpie marker ink on the edge of my ruler and didn’t know it. It mixed in with my water-soluble marker and unfortunately I didn’t ever get it out. Have you ever tried Biz Bleach? It is a whitening powder and I have had good success with that. Test a small area before trying it on the entire piece of fabric. Hope it works.

  3. Monique Champagne

    I bought an embroidery kit with a printed pattern on canvas (blue ink). After finishing the embroidery it says to soak the finished work for 20 minutes for the blue ink to disappear. Well, I have soaked it twice 20 minutes and the blue marks are still there. HELP. what else can I do to remove those ugly blue marks?

    1. Hi Monique. I would contact the manufacturer to see if they have some direction for you. The ink probably isn’t the same as what I used in the article, and I don’t want to steer your the wrong way.

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