How to remove ink from leather – 3 Successful Methods

Learn how to remove ink from leather

Sometimes accidents can happen, maybe the kid used an ink pen to draw on the couch or you’ve got ink on your leather purse or jacket. It’s not the end of the world. In most cases, you can remove ink from leather objects at home. But, on rare occasions, you need to take it to the cleaner to be professionally removed. If you need to know how to clean upholstery, then check the guide for that.

As I was saying, ink can be difficult to remove from leather, doing it wrong can permanently damage the leather. Before trying to remove the ink, you need to ask yourself if it’s worth it. If the object on which you attempt is expensive, my recommendation is not to try. In case you fail, you’re going to need to replace the purse/jacket.

3 methods to remove ink from leather

Before starting, there are a few rules that you need to follow.

The first one is to try only on a small part of the stain. By only testing on a small part, we try to minimize the damage in case the method fails or damages the leather.

The second rule is to have patience. Hurrying the process will not get you anywhere. Take your time and be sure to follow the steps accordingly.

The 3rd rule is to be gentle while attempting to remove the ink from leather. Aggressively rubbing the area will get you nowhere.

Use water and soap on leather to remove ink

In a bowl mix warm water and some soap. Take a kitchen sponge and gently rub the area, be sure not to use the abrasive part of the sponge. Rub the area for a few minutes.

This method can successfully remove the ink only if the ink is not deep inside the leather. Deep marks made with a pen are almost impossible to get out with this method.

Using alcohol to remove ink stains from leather

Removing ink marks with alcohol is an old method that works in most cases. But don’t start by pouring whiskey or another type of alcohol on the ink mark. You need rubbing alcohol. Get an ear cotton swab and dip it in rubbing alcohol. Let the excess alcohol drip back in the bottle. We don’t want excess alcohol on the ink stain. Gently rub the area in circular moves for 20-30 seconds and check if the ink is not so visible anymore. If the method is successful, repeat the process until the ink is removed completely from the leather.

Caution is advised, if the leather is stained, the alcohol may discolor the respective part. Try to restrict the alcohol action only on that small part.

Removing ink with leather cleaning solutions

At the local Walmart or Target, you can find a big range of cleaning products designed to clean and remove stains from leather. Be sure to check the labels and look for leather cleaning agents. These products are safe to use on leather and they will not damage the leather.

While you are at the local supermarket, look for an ink stick. These sticks are the simplest way to remove ink from leather and they are relatively cheap, you can find them for as low as $3.  

Spraying WD-40 on leather to remove the ink stain

While some guides recommend WD-40 to remove the ink stains, we strongly advise against it. WD-40 contains lots of chemicals that may damage the leather beyond repair. The chemicals may damage the painted leather and remove the color, even making the leather hard and brittle.


Don’t be frustrated if you failed. Not all ink stains can be removed by yourself. If all the above methods failed, then contact a local cleaning service and tell them the issue you encounter. A cleaning service has seen all the stains possible and has experience removing almost any kind of stain they may encounter.

Following the methods and tips in our guide will most likely help you succeed in removing ink from common house items, couches, jackets, shoes, or even purses. Leave a comment below and tell us which method failed and for which object. If you could also add some images, we would be grateful.

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