I bought new sheets for my son, and I put the Target plastic bag, with heavy sheets in it, on top of the washer for the sheets to be washed. This morning I picked up the bag, and I've got red bullseyes on my white washing machine! How the print won't come off this surface easily is amazing, but per my Google search, this isn't out of the ordinary when you combine walls and furniture (and apparently appliances) with printed plastic bags. Who knows what causes it in each case, though. I checked the off-white carpet where this bag sat prior to being placed on the washer, and it's clean. I'm guessing I had liquid residue on my washing machine (probably from spraying stain remover on 1/4 of the clothes that get washed) that coaxed the print off the bag.

Windex did not work. Magic Eraser did not work. Baking soda did not work. Goo Gone did not work. Multi-purpose cleaner (generic 409) did not work.

I am left with light pink bullseyes :(

I also have Murphy's Oil Soap (which I have as a kind-of-solution for getting dry erase marker out of clothes, long story, only use on white fabric!) but have not tried it because I only have a few drops left. If I need to buy more, so be it. Does anyone have any thoughts on it?

Before I turn my laundry room into a deli, does anyone know what the alleged magic of mayo is? I see a lot of people suggesting using it both in this forum and elsewhere.

Thank you!

  • Do you know what kind of plastic the bag is made of? What number recycling is it?
    – Edwin
    Jun 18, 2015 at 1:14
  • It says 4 and "LDPE" underneath.
    – Rebecca
    Jun 18, 2015 at 1:31
  • I did some quick google foo, and I can't find what kind of ink they use to print these bags. Apparently it's a difficult process to print them. Though, the ink may have properties similar to the plastic. That's bad news, because the only chemicals I know will dissolve LDPE will also take the paint off your dryer instantly on contact. The only suggestion I have is to try some butane from a lighter refill, or maybe, if your desperate, gasoline or any kind of dryer-paint safe hydrocarbon.
    – Edwin
    Jun 18, 2015 at 1:53
  • 1
    Fingernail polish remover may work (acetone), but test on your dryer where you can't see it first.
    – Edwin
    Jun 18, 2015 at 1:57
  • Thank you! I'll try acetone in a remote location, then, if all goes well, on the stain. If that doesn't work, I'm not inclined to start using butane or gasoline. I'd like the stain to be gone, but I'm more interested in maintaining the finish on my washer. Thanks again!
    – Rebecca
    Jun 18, 2015 at 11:03

7 Answers 7


I had a similar problem about two years ago and a guy friend brought over something called "Rubbing Compound" or sometimes called "buffing compound" used to polish away scuffs and scratches on cars. It worked, but wasn't a bag from Target that left the imprint so not sure if it's the same coloring chemicals. From what I gather, if rubbing compound doesn't work, then it means the color is absorbed in to the paint and may be more difficult to remove.

  • Yea, automotive scratch remover might work with a toothbrush. Or steel wool with a lubricant.
    – Evil Elf
    Jun 24, 2015 at 12:21
  • 1
    @ Jun: I would not recommend trying it with steel wool or anything even mildly abrasive, since rubbing compound or buffing compound has it's own microscopic abrasives anyway. When I saw it done, the guy used like a padded buffing wheel on a variable speed drill, but he said it could also be done with any clean, disposable or scrap terry washcloth, it just takes a little longer than using a power tool to do it. Jul 1, 2015 at 14:50
  • I've used ultra fine steel wool and oil on a car once to get another car's paint off of it. Small rub in a parking lot. After waxing it, it was nearly mint. It's a last resort but it may work.
    – Evil Elf
    Jul 1, 2015 at 18:23

I experienced a similar problem, nothing was taking the colour off - magic eraser, soft scrub, wd40. But nail polish remover (with acetone) did the trick! There's a faint colour spot still but only to me because I know it's there.


I don't see bleach on your list of things? Red has a real problem with bleach. If that doesn't work, you may try WD-40 or even carburetor cleaner. Just use either with a lot of fresh air available. Soft Scrub works pretty well for this kind of thing, too, but it uses bleach, so may not be any better than using straight bleach.

  • Thank you! I got home and tried rubbing alcohol as well as white vinegar. Neither did much, unfortunately. I do have Soft Scrub on hand, so I'll update after I try that. Because this is an area where clothes go (and my tendency to put dirty clothes on top of the washer), I've been resisting using products with bleach. I'm afraid that I won't rinse enough and will end up ruining clothes! I'll try it, though, and will update. Thanks again!
    – Rebecca
    Jun 17, 2015 at 21:24
  • I was out of Soft Scrub, so I used my Clorox bleach pen to no avail. Soft Scrub is slightly abrasive, though, so I'll have to go get that.
    – Rebecca
    Jun 17, 2015 at 22:14
  • 1
    WD-40 is able to remove most adhesives.
    – abhi
    Jun 18, 2015 at 15:52
  • @abhi - WD-40 was originally designed to clean the skin of aircraft, plus it has water displacement properties. The cleaning aspect is why I was suggesting it to the OP. Removing adhesives is just a bonus ;-) Jun 18, 2015 at 17:12
  • Soft Scrub did nothing. It's light pink now (I think rubbing alcohol on a paper towel left to sit on it was the most effective), and it's just the washing machine/laundry room, so I'll let it go. Thank you for the help and ideas!
    – Rebecca
    Jun 18, 2015 at 18:32

try liquid dish soap. squirt onto stain and let sit for a few hours. this will take the old style blue ink (that used to be on packages of meat when I was a kid) out of your sink or formica countertops. The stain rises to the top of the soap puddle. Then you can repeat. no scrubbing needed just time.


Try sprinkling baking soda, then cover with white paper towel, then pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to wet the paper towel. I do this to bleach my porcelain sink. I let it sit that way overnight. It might work.


I don't know who needs to hear about this out there, but olive oil and baking soda will get plastic bag ink stains off! Make a thick paste and just let it sit.


Just adding my results for a plastic (acrylic) bath that had blue ink from ice bags.

Rubbing alcohol removed the ink from the bath.

Acetone nail polish remover cleaned the drain plastic.

Goodluck!! before and after picture

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