Learn How To Remove Ink Stains From Fabrics & Furniture

Stains! What a nightmare! You might know how to get lily pollen out of clothes, keep them from turning yellow or even how to get rid of red wine stains like a boss. But what about ink? Ink can be found almost anywhere. We use it on a regular basis to communicate and get things done in our daily lives, from grocery lists to labels to photocopies, you name it. It’s no surprise that ink leaves a trail in your home or on your clothes from time to time. Luckily, it does not have to be a permanent ink stain, whether it is on your sofa, carpet, or clothes.

A fabric with ink stains

It’s simple to get rid of and all that is required to successfully do so are household products that can be found in every home. Learn how you can remove ink stains at home with our top tips below.

How to remove ink stains from clothes of different fabrics

The correct ink stain removal technique is always dependant on what type of fabric you are dealing with:

1. Cotton

To loosen the ink stain, lightly spritz the cloth with hair spray. Then, soak for about 30 minutes in 1-quart water with 1/2 teaspoon laundry detergent and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Don’t forget to test first in an unobtrusive spot. Then, allow it to dry after rinsing with water. If the stain lingers, use an absorbent cloth dampened with alcohol to press it out. As the stain lifts, change the cloth. After removing the stain, dab it with water and then a dry cloth.

2. Leather

Dampen a clean cotton swab using rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol). Don’t use a coloured cloth as it can transfer dye to the material. Wipe the swab against the leather fabric in an inconspicuous spot to ensure that the alcohol does not damage or discolour it. To prevent the stain from spreading, re-wet the cotton swab with alcohol and dab the spot, working from the outside to the inside.
To avoid re-staining the leather, get a new swab as soon as you see ink coming off. Continue blotting gently until the ink has disappeared. After that, let it dry. Once the ink has been cleaned from the leather, use a leather conditioner to keep the item supple and smooth.

3. Silk

Place a washcloth underneath the stain where the spot is. This prevents anything from rubbing off and staining other parts of the silk. Lightly dampen the area with another washcloth. Spray the area with hairspray after it’s wet to allow the alcohol to work its magic and break up the ink stain.
Make a small solution of humectant, dishwashing detergent, water, and vinegar (all equal in amounts, but with a little more water) and combine the ingredients.
Apply the solution to the stained area. In fact, it will be easier if you put the solution in a spray bottle and then apply it straight to the stain. Allow it to sit for about half an hour or so, but not longer than that as it may dry. After that, give it a good rinse with water.

4. Velvet

Before attempting to remove an ink stain from velvet, make sure to read the instructions on the item’s care label. To remove a ballpoint pen ink from washable velvet, soak the fabric in a mix of 1/2 teaspoon mild, clear dish soap and 1 tablespoon white vinegar mixed in 1-quart water for 30 minutes.
Rinse thoroughly. If the stain persists, use a good solvent to remove it. Always test on an inconspicuous spot first. Then, rinse with water and put it in the washer. Finally, allow it to dry once the stain is fully removed. 

A fabric with ink stains

5. Linen 

To remove ink stains from washable linen, try rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous area to ensure the fabric is not damaged. Then, lay the stained area facedown over the opening of a jar or glass while holding the fabric to prevent the ink from spreading. Pat the discolouration with the alcohol using a cotton swab.
As the ink drips into the jar, the alcohol will pull it along. After a thorough rinse and line drying, double-check that the stain is gone before laundering.

6. Wool

Blot the pen stain with paper towels as soon as possible on wool items. To test if the stain comes out, try blotting the wool with cold water first. If the stain persists, pat it with hairspray and repeat until the stain disappears. Then, blot it with warm water. You can alternatively gently scrape the stain with a soft-bristle toothbrush dipped in a 50-50 solution of water and vinegar and then blot dry.

7. Polyester or nylon

Test the treatment on a hidden corner or seam to check for colour damage before attempting to remove ink stains from polyester or nylon. The area that’s stained should then be stretched over the lip of a jar or glass. Drizzle isopropyl alcohol over the stain, capturing the ink residue in the jar as you go. After rinsing, hang to dry. If necessary, wash the item and use a colour-safe bleach as long as the care label says it’s ok to do so. Then, allow to dry and check if there is any remaining ink beforehand.

8. Chenille

Use an alcohol-based hairspray to loosen the ink on the area that’s stained. Make a cleaning solution using diluted detergent and vinegar. Soak the stain in this solution for around half an hour if it doesn’t harm the fabric. If the stain is removed after soaking, rinse with cold water and air dry the fabric. If the stain remains after soaking, rub it with an alcohol-soaked cloth until it lifts. Then, clean with a damp cloth and let it dry naturally.

9. Corduroy

Blot the ink on your corduroy with a sponge soaked in a dry-cleaning solution. This aids in the removal of certain ink. Fill your sink with lukewarm water and set your corduroy underneath it. Rinse for several minutes to remove any remaining ink and then allow the fabric to dry completely.
Soak it in vinegar using an old toothbrush. With the bristles, gently separate the corduroy ribs and scrub the residual stain. Rinse the corduroy fabric with cool water once more.
If you can still see ink, scrub the stain with isopropyl alcohol and the brush. After rinsing, use a pre-wash stain remover. Wait 10 minutes before washing. Set the washing machine to warm water and add a light detergent to the machine to wash your item. Then, allow to air dry flat on a clean surface.

How to remove ink stains from wooden furniture

Unfortunate accidents happen all the time. Getting a pen mark on your wooden furniture is not the end of the world. Below are some simple methods for getting it out:

A hand cleaning a wooden table

1. Baking soda

This product is a good cleanser because when mixed with water, it becomes slightly abrasive. To make the paste, combine half a glass of water with baking soda. Gradually add the soda until you have a thick mixture. Spread the paste on the stained wood and rub it in with your fingers to penetrate it.
Make sure to completely cover the ink trail. Then, allow the soda to do its thing and give ten to fifteen minutes for the process to complete. To remove the paste, dampen a soft towel with water. Repeat the procedure till the ink has entirely disappeared. Once you’re done, wipe the wood’s surface with a soft cloth to dry it.

2. White spirit

It’s available at any DIY store. This is a turpentine-free alternative. Lightly moisten a cotton ball using white spirit, and test it on an inconspicuous portion of the furniture. Soak a rag in white spirit for a few minutes and gently rub the stained wood with it.
Wipe down the wood with a moist cloth. Remove the white spirit and dust with a clean cloth and now the ink trail should be completely gone at this point.

3. Dishwashing liquid

For treating fresh stains, this procedure is the most successful. The dishwashing liquid works very well because of its fat-eliminating properties. It gets rid of the stain and stops it from entering the wood. Combine half a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid with five tablespoons of hot water in a small bowl. Stir it thoroughly to make the solution foam.
Before cleaning the wood, conduct a test to check how your cleaning solution interacts with the wood. You can do so by rubbing a small area of the wooden item with a cotton swab dipped in the solution. Make sure the cloth is just dipped in the foam and not the liquid. Now rub the ink trail with the soapy cloth. Then dry the wood with a cloth.
If the stain is still visible, use ultra-fine steel wool soaked in liquid wax. Remember to gently rub the steel wool over the discoloured area because only a little layer of the surface should be removed. That is why it’s vital to go slowly to avoid removing too much wood.

How to remove ink stains from your sofa

Ink spills can be particularly difficult to clean up on sofas, but whether your sofa is made of cloth, leather or vinyl, there is hope. Below are few substances that can effectively remove tough stains

a table with vinegar and soap

1. Vinegar

Vinegar works like magic on stubborn stains. Its acetic qualities enable it to effectively erase any stains. Apply a little pressure to the area that’s stained using a clean cloth or kitchen paper and only blot, not rub, as rubbing may spread the stain. Then, combine 1 tablespoon liquid dishwashing soap, 1 tablespoon vinegar, and 2 cups of cool water in a small bowl.
Now, pat the solution on the area that’s stained with a delicate cloth. Remember not to rub too hard as the discolouration might spread. Then, allow for 30 minutes of resting time. To clean, dampen a gentle cloth with cold water and wipe the affected area clean until the solution is no longer visible.

2. Rubbing alcohol 

You can remove ink from leather, cloth, or vinyl with rubbing alcohol, but no matter what material your sofa is made of, you should always test it first to see whether it changes the colour of your sofa or causes any potential unwanted damage.
Apply isopropyl alcohol using a clean white cloth. Avoid pouring alcohol straight on the stain as it could cause your sofa to become deformed if it gets wet. Then, carefully pat the stain with the cloth.
Repeat the steps until the ink is no longer absorbed by the cloth. Also, change the cloth when it becomes too saturated with ink, rather than dabbing more ink onto the sofa. If you’re doing this for an extended period of time, the alcohol may evaporate. That is why It is important to always use fresh alcohol.

3. Soap and water

Blot the stain and apply pressure to it with a clean cloth or a paper towel as soon as possible. Work your way inwards from the outside to the centre, absorbing as much ink as possible. When necessary, replace the cloth or paper towels with new ones. If the stain is still fresh, warm soapy water can be used to remove it.
To make a mixture, combine 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap with a little amount of hot water in a small bowl. Stir the solution until a thick layer of soap suds forms. Alternatively, you can put it in a bottle and simply shake it up.
Then, soak a soft cloth in the suds of the soap and gently wipe the stain with the soapy cloth. After that, rinse the solution with a clean damp cloth and dry the area with a towel.

So, whether a permanent marker slips into your shirt or a ballpoint pen breaks onto your sofa, you have it all covered now. The above simple tips should help you remove ink stains that are wreaking havoc on the appearance of your clothing and furniture. Go on and try them!

Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend