Leather and Ink Don't Mix

Published on Sep 23, 2018

how to get ink out of leather

One of the kids has just drawn a masterpiece on your leather lounge in pen. Don’t panic … but you are going to have to gently push the budding artist aside and take action before the ink spreads and dries. The longer it stays on there, the harder it will be to remove.

Think fast and take action before the ink spreads and dries! The longer you leave the ink the harder it is to remove.

Follow our steps below – hopefully you should be able to remove the stain or see a big improvement.


Is your couch finished or unfinished leather?

finished vs unfinished leather side by side

DIY treatments work well on finished leather, but you’ll need professional help on unfinished (raw) leather. This is because unfinished leather is extremely porous and absorbent making it difficult to clean without professional assistance.

Not sure? Put a drop of water onto the surface. If the water soaks in, the leather is unfinished and you will need to call in the professionals. If the water beads up, you have finished leather and you can begin cleaning the ink stains.


Methods to Get Ink Out of Leather

cleaning leather sofa

Before applying any of the stain removers to your leather try it in an inconspicuous area. Treat a small area of leather and check to see if there is any discoloration or damage to the leather or transfer of colour from the lounge to your cloth. If you notice any damage you will need to call in the professionals to remove the stain.

A professional will have both the equipment and the expertise to be able to treat your lounge and hopefully remove the stain before it can make any permanent damage.

If you're not sure about the stain, don't hesitate to give us a call to discuss.


What you'll need

  • rubbing alcohol

  • hairspray

  • nail polish remover


Method 1 - The Rubbing Alcohol Method

Soak a cotton tip or ball in rubbing alcohol and rub gently onto the stain. The higher the alcohol percentage, the better result! As you rub, the ink should transfer onto the tip or ball. Continue until the stain is gone. You should apply leather conditioner to the lounge afterwards because the alcohol can dry the leather out.

You can usually purchase rubbing alcohol from a supermarket or chemist, and it can be used for many uses around the home.


Method 2 - The Hairspray Method

Spray onto a clean, white cloth and then blot onto the ink stain. Leave for 30 seconds and then blot until the ink transfers onto the cloth. You may need to repeat. Clean with warm, slightly soapy water once the stain is gone then rinse.

Note that hairspray may need a couple of attempts as hairspray does not contain as much alcohol as it used to. Take care when applying.


Method 3 - The Nail Polish Remover Method

Soak a cotton tip in the remover and gently rub the stain – the ink should transfer to the tip. Continue until the stain is gone and clean with warm, slightly soapy water. Rinse and apply leather conditioner if you have it because the remover can dry out or cause leather to crack.


Tips for Maintaining Your Leather Lounge

how to maintain a leather lounge

  • Keep it clean by wiping over with a sponge and warm water once a week.
  • Treat the leather regularly with a leather conditioner. This keeps the cowhide hydrated and some leather conditioners even create a seal to prevent stains and to stop cracking.
  • You can also use a small amount of olive oil to buff, shine and nourish your leather.
  • Condition your lounge after cleaning to prevent it from drying out.

If the stain won’t budge, you may need professional leather cleaning. The sooner the stain is treated the better the results will be. Got questions? Give our friendly team a call and our experienced technicians will be able to provide you with advice.


Note: These tips have been tested by Electrodry technicians however they should be used with great care. Different leather types may respond differently to the suggested stain removal solutions. Test each product before use and take great care not to over-apply the stain removal product. Electrodry takes no responsibility for the effectiveness of the above DIY stain removal guide or any damage that may occur following the application of these methods.

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