Temporary fabric marking pens are popular products among quilters and home sewers. However, no published studies exist concerning long-term effects of temporary marking pens to help consumers make informed decisions. The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to determine whether temporary marking pens in combination with ink removal treatments contribute to degradation or discoloration of fabrics over time, and (2) to determine whether marking pen ink that remains on fabric for 30 days can be successfully removed and thereby avoid discoloration of quilts or other home sewing projects. Specimens were marked with one of three brands of marking pen (Dritz, Clover and Crayola) and subjected to ink removal treatments (eraser pen, water, or no treatment), followed by heat or light aging. Changes in color and strength were measured. Results showed that the water immersion ink removal treatment was the most effective method for removing marking pen ink and was associated with much less discoloration than eraser pen ink removal treatments. Eraser pens caused statistically significant discoloration following both light and heat aging on both fabric types. They proved to be an undesirable ink removal treatment. Temporary marking pen inks, if rinsed out thoroughly using a water immersion treatment, do not result in discoloration or strength losses when exposed to heat and light aging. This suggests that consumers should use marking pens only if they launder their newly completed projects. Results also show that consumers may complete quilting and sewing projects over a period of several weeks without concern about ink removal because marked fabric specimens given a water immersion treatment within 30 days exhibited no more discoloration than the control specimens. Results of this study could influence the ink removal recommendations that manufacturers list on the packaging and the practices of quilters and home sewers who use the products.
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