Skip to Content

Can You Remove Ink Stains From Leather?

When you get ink stains on leather it can be a panic situation. Is it possible to remove the stain?

Soapy water is the easiest way to remove ink stains from leather. Mild soap and lukewarm water should be used and a microfiber cloth can be made damp to gently rub the stain. Always work from the outside inward so you don’t spread the ink any further.

Ink droplet

There are a number of things that need to be considered before you even start working on leather that has been damaged by ink. A lot of it has to do with how long the ink has been on the leather as well as the type of leather you are dealing with.

It’s important to work quickly because you don’t want ink stains to set in and soak into the leather any more than necessary. At the same time, however, overreacting or doing something wrong could cause irreparable damage.

Can You Remove Ink Stains From Leather? (How To)

We will cover a number of different methods that are used for cleaning ink stains from leather in this article. Some of them will be associated with the amount of time the ink has been on the leather and others will be tied to the product that is being cleaned.

The first thing to do in any case is to identify the type of leather that is being affected. You might be surprised to learn that there are different grades of leather, and each one has its own potential problems.

The highest grade leather is full-grain leather. This is what comes from the outermost layer of the hide. The second in line is top-grain leather, which is often used for jackets and handbags.

Perhaps what is surprising to most people is that genuine leather is the third lowest grade. In fact, there is no other grade of leather lower unless you are talking about bonded leather, which comes from the shavings and dust left over from the hide.

Identifying the type of leather is an important step but it is not always easy to do. If you are dealing with a leather sofa, you may be able to find a tag and the same is true on clothing. Leather seats in a car, on the other hand, are a different story.

For now, we’ll take a look at the steps necessary to remove ink stains from leather. You can then get started, depending upon the item that is being cleaned.

How To Remove Ink Stains From Leather (Step By Step Guide)

Ink fountain pen and ink bottle

The process of removing ink stains from leather is not difficult but you do need to verify the fact that it is finished leather. Otherwise, these methods are not going to work and could even cause the stain to get worse.

1. Verify the Leather – It is important to know what you are dealing with before you begin the cleaning process. You can check the type of leather by looking for a tag on the item. You can also check to see if it is finished leather by doing a water test.

Put a drop of water on an area of the leather that is inconspicuous. If it stays on top of the leather or rolls off, it is finished. If it is soaked into the leather, it is unfinished.

You should only try to clean ink from finished leather. More than likely, the ink will remain mainly on the surface and can be cleaned away with a DIY method. If it is unfinished leather, you should get a professional involved.

2. Mix the Concoction – The next step in the process is to mix some mild liquid soap with some lukewarm water. Try to use something that is pH neutral, such as dishwashing liquid. Mix the water and soap thoroughly.

3. Blot – Grab a white rag or microfiber cloth. Never use a rag with color because you could stain the leather with the dye on the rag. Gently blot the area of the ink stain, working from the outside of the stain inward. Never scrub the spot because it can drive the ink into the leather or make the damage even worse.

4. Dry – Use a dry, white microfiber cloth to gently blot the area where you cleaned the ink and remove as much of the water as you can. You should then let the leather air dry.

5. Commercial Clean – Use a commercial cleaner & conditioner on the leather. There are a number of quality products available on the market. It will help to clean the leather further and keep it from showing damage from water spots.

Q-Tip Method:

You can use rubbing alcohol to clean the leather as well. This should be tried if the soap and water method did not work to your satisfaction.

Dip a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and gently dab the stain. Rubbing alcohol cleans very well so you won’t need much to remove more of the ink.

Be sure to follow up with a quality leather conditioner, which will help to mitigate any damage from the alcohol and keep the leather looking great.

Hairspray Method:

Although hairspray may help to remove the ink from leather, there are some issues that are potentially associated with it. Before you use this on the ink spot, use it on an inconspicuous area to make sure you don’t stain the leather.

One other option is to use hairspray on a leather ink stain. Make sure that the hairspray is alcohol-based and spray it onto a Q-tip or a white microfiber cloth. Blot the area to remove any additional ink.

Finish this process by using a commercial leather conditioner. The conditioner will help to keep the leather supple and will keep it from cracking.

Contact a Professional:

It’s always nice to do a DIY project yourself but there are times when you just have to get a professional involved. That is especially true for leather products that could be permanently damaged if you don’t treat them properly. Professionals have both the experience and the tools necessary to get the job done.

Can You Remove Ink Stains From Leather Furniture?

Leather sofa arm

When you have an ink stain on leather furniture, is it possible to remove it?

Ink stains on leather furniture can be removed with a solution of mild soap and warm water. Use a white microfiber cloth or a paper towel to gently blot the area using that mixture. Always work from the outside in and give it plenty of time to dry after you are finished.

You should also identify the type of leather you are dealing with, as this can differ from one piece of furniture to another. Look for a tag on the furniture that will tell you what type of leather it is, such as full-grain, top-grain, or genuine leather.

Can You Remove Ink Stains From Leather Car Seats?

Leather car seats

If you have leather car seats and you get ink on them, is it possible to remove the ink completely?

Most leather car seats are not actually leather, they are vinyl. You can clean vinyl car seats with a solution of soap and water and a clean rag. If you are dealing with genuine leather seats in a high-end automobile, use rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip to blot the stain and lift it.

Genuine leather needs to be treated properly. This would include using leather conditioner after you use any type of cleaner on the seat.

Can You Remove Ink Stains From Leather Handbag?

Leather handbag

Did you get ink on your leather handbag? Don’t worry, all is not lost.

A cloth that is dampened with mild soap and warm water mixture can be used to clean leather from a handbag. Make sure that you gently blot the stain rather than rubbing it and always work from the outside toward the center of the stain.

Depending upon the type of leather you have with the handbag, you may have to use a leather conditioner after you’re finished. In any case, if the stain continues to be a problem, you can use some rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip to try to remove it.

This content is owned by Wabi Sabi Group and was first published on Mar 8, 2023..

Can You Remove Ink Stains From Leather Upholstery?

Leather sofa seat backing

Did you get ink stains on your upholstery? Use this method to remove it.

Soap and water is the best way to remove ink stains from upholstery. Verify the type of leather you have and always dab at the stain rather than rubbing it. Be careful you don’t get too much water on the leather because that can cause problems of its own.

When removing ink from upholstery, always use a clean, white microfiber cloth. Using the color cloth could transfer the ink to the upholstery.

Can You Remove Ink Stains From Leather Sofa?

Leather sofa

If you get ink on a leather sofa it can be stressful but there is hope.

If the ink stain is fresh, use a mild soap and water solution along with a white microfiber cloth to dab the area. Continue to work on the area until the ink stain is transferred to the cloth. Be careful you don’t rub the area or it could spread the stain.

This article was first published on Mar 8, 2023 by Wabi Sabi Group..

You can verify the type of leather on the sofa by looking for a tag. It will give you the guidance necessary to make the best decision possible.

Mild soap and water make a good solution for cleaning ink from leather. Always blot the stain and never rub it. Work from the outside in and continue to work with it until the stain is gone. You can also use a similar method with rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip.

Related Articles

Can You Remove Sweat Stains From Leather?

Can You Remove Grease Stains From Leather? (How To)

Can You Remove Water Stains From Leather? (How To)

WabiSabi Group is the owner of this article and was published on Mar 8, 2023 and last modified on .

Can You Clean Head Oil from Upholstery?