How to Remove Ink Stains from Leather

How to Remove Ink Stains from Leather

Leather is a great, durable material for shoes, for purses and for furniture.

Ink stains are among the most common and the most annoying stains on leather items. You might have left a pen in your purse and it exploded, the ink soaking through from the inside.

Or, maybe someone had a pen in their pocket and sat on your couch or the leather seats in the car. Either way, you’ve got a stain on your hands and it’s one you need to take care of right away.

Ink stains aren’t like food stains because ink is pigment and the leather is porous. This can be a lethal combination and there is a chance with any kind of ink stain that you aren’t going to be able to remove the pigment from the item.

Its worth giving these cleaning tips a try to remove the stain before you get rid of the item.

The best place to start if you can is with the manufacturer’s instructions for the item. These instructions will help you decide which way is the best way to handle the ink stain and other problems with the materials.

If there is a particular cleaner that the maker recommends, you should get that and use it. Otherwise, you have a few options to remove the stain yourself:

Removing The Stain:

If you can get to the ink spot right away, when it happens, you will have a better chance at getting rid of the stain. You can blot the ink with a tissue to remove as much as you can.

Be sure not to rub the stain or you might spread it or make it worse. Just press the tissue or a towel in a dabbing motion to absorb whatever ink you can. If you can keep some of it from penetrating the leather you will have less work to do.

There are a few options you can employ to try to remove the ink stain:

Warm Soapy Water:

  1. Warm, soapy water may be enough to slough the ink off the surface of the leather if the stain is still fresh.
  2. Products made specifically for leather stain removal can be a great resource and you should use them according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Rubbing Alcohol:

If the soap doesn’t work and you have rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) you might have some success with this method:

  1. Get rubbing alcohol and some cotton balls
  2. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and test it in an inconspicuous place on the material to see how the leather will handle the alcohol. Don’t be satisfied with a quick swipe for testing the leather. Instead, leave it on the surface for several minutes so that you can be sure it’s safe for use.
  3. Using a circular motion, rub the alcohol soaked cotton ball over the stain, which should lift the ink easily from the surface.
  4. Follow up with a leather conditioner.

Once you’ve gotten the stain out, you should also use leather protectors to keep all your leather items looking good for years to come.

In some cases, the stain is too set to remove or the leather just won’t come clean, but it’s worth a try to get your favorite purse or your couch looking new again.