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How to remove pen ink from leather

There's no use crying over spilled ink. Discover our top tips for how to remove ink from leather in quick and easy methods!


By Cleanipedia Team

remove ink from leather

Key steps

  • Dab the stain with a paper towel.
  • Commercial leather cleaners provide the best results.
  • Alternatively try rubbing alcohol, hairspray or nail polish remover.
  • If using products you normally have at home, clean with soapy water afterwards.
  • Rinse with a cloth and clean water.
  • Always dry the leather thoroughly.
  • If in doubt, consult a professional.

If you’ve got school-age kids, it's likely that stains like pen ink are a permanent fixture in your life. But what should you do if you get one of these familiar stains on an unfamiliar fabric? Here we’ll provide step-by-step instructions for how to remove ink from leather through a number of different methods. It’s not just leather you may find ink stains on, so read our article on how to get ink out of clothes if you find them on shirts, jeans or other items of clothing.

While specialised leather cleaners are specially formulated for removing ink stains on leather, products from around your home can also be effective, including rubbing alcohol, hairspray, and nail polish remover.

How to get ink out of leather: a step-by-step guide

Don’t cry over spilled ink! With the following steps we’ll show you how to get pen marks off leather, quickly and easily:

  1. Always remove ink from leather as soon as you can. The more quickly you deal with the mark, the easier it will be to remove.
  2. Dab at the stain with a dry paper towel. This should soak up any excess ink. Always dab instead of rubbing to prevent spreading the stain.
  3. Ideally use a commercial grade leather care product to clean the area. You can buy ones specifically designed for removing ink. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Alternatively, try one of the following methods to clean the stained area:
    • Use rubbing alcohol. Dip a cotton bud into the alcohol and rub it over the ink stain.
    • Spray the area with hairspray. Use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe the hairspray away immediately.
    • If your stain has been there a while, rubbing it with nail polish remover should do the trick.
    • Alternatively, try applying aerosol brake parts cleaner to the spot where the stain is set.
    • After your chosen method, clean the area with a small amount of soapy water.
    • Rinse with a damp cloth using clean, fresh water.
    • Ensure you dry the spot immediately with a hair dryer to remove all traces of alcohol, hairspray, or other cleaning products to avoid further damage being caused.

5.       If in doubt about how to get pen off leather, or if your stain proves tougher than previously thought, consult a professional at a cobbler’s or dry cleaner’s to restore the leather to its former glory.

6.       For more specific removal advice on how to get pen out of leather, read our article on how to remove Biro ink from leather.

With these easy steps, you now know how to get ink off leather so you can keep your leather furniture looking its best even after the kids go back to school.

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Originally published