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Removing Pen and Ink Stains from Wood Furniture

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Spilled ink on wood surface. There is also an open bottle and a pen.

Ink spills on wood furniture can be very difficult to remove especially if it penetrates the finish. Before you just grab the nearest cleaner make sure that it is safe for your furniture's finish. This is a guide about removing pen and ink stains on wood furniture.


Solutions: Removing Pen and Ink Stains from Wood Furniture

Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".

Tip: Removing Ball Point from Varnished Wood

I followed the advice about using nail varnish remover and it worked beautifully. However, using Pledge afterwards did not seem to restore the varnish as I would have hoped. I tried olive oil instead and that did the trick nicely.

It seems that nut oils have a lot of restorative qualities for wood. As an aside, try Brazil nuts for wood scratches - simply rub the nut along the scratch.

    By matthewk [1]

    Tip: Removing Ink Stains off Wood

    I used an eraser sponge. All you need to do is make sure the eraser sponge is just damp and rub the area. Today, I removed felt pen marks off a varnished dresser; the marks had been there for over 15 years! They looked black but after 10 minutes of rubbing, they were gone and my sponge had turned pink!

    Now all I need is my hair dryer or iron to remove the white water mark. Then, it will be a rub over with 3 parts oil and 1 part white vinegar. I have found this helps to cover up minor scratches and it will look as good as new.

      By Elizabeth J. [1]

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      Here are questions related to Removing Pen and Ink Stains from Wood Furniture.

      Question: Felt Tip Pen Stain on Wood Furniture

      I have brought a bed and found felt tip pen all over the wooden part. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get it off?

      By Katherine from Saltash, Cornwall, UK


      Most Recent Answer

      By Jennifer00702/10/2015

      Mr. Clean Magic Eraser! I had leaked red ink on my finished window sill. Normal scrubbing did not work, neither did the alcohol. In fact, the stains I tried alcohol on seemed to imbed deeper. I had tried Magic Eraser in the past, but it did not seem to work because I had not given it enough time. However this time, I started on one of the smaller stains and the difference was very noticeable. So I continued to scrub, and scrub, and scrub until it was gone! Then I moved onto the larger, more prominant stains. It took a lot longer, but they all disappeared as well. And all that scrubbing did not hurt the finish.

      Question: Removing Pen Ink from Furniture

      I was wondering if any one can help me? My dog got to a pen and it exploded and it's all over my furniture. I was wondering if there is anything to take the pen out?

      Thank you much!


      Most Recent Answer

      By Scaramouche02/03/2010

      A defective ballpoint pen left smudges of blue ink all over my oak desktop. I used nail polish remover (with acetone), putting a little on a paper towel and rubbing lightly, just enough to take the ink off. After I was finished, I polished the surface with Pledge and you'd never know anything happened.

      Question: Paint Pen Stain on Wood Furniture

      How do you get ink stains off of a wood desk without damaging the wood? With alcohol? Thanks.

      By Susan from Riverview, FL

      Most Recent Answer

      By Summit312210/04/2013

      Hi Monique - I just wanted you to know that the hand sanitizer worked wonders! In this instance, I used Purell since that was all that I had around the house. Before I began, I tested a small spot where the ink was and after rubbing it in vigorously the ink disappeared. Afterwards, I wiped the area off with a damp microfiber towel and added a small amount of Vitamin E oil (since it is a natural oil) - to add any lost moisture. I want to note that I tried most of the suggestions here (WD-40), nail polish remover, etc. but your suggestion worked wonders for me on my Italian beige finished lacquer furniture. Sending a big "thank you" your way. *Summit 3122.*

      Question: Pen Ink Stains on Wood

      Any ideas on how to remove pen stains from wood without damaging the wood?

      Pete Ricks

      Most Recent Answer

      By marieaa65 [2]05/28/2006

      Wipe with WD-40 it will clean it right off

      Question: Removing Ink from Wood Furniture

      How do I get green Biro ink off an oak wood dressing table?

      By R Hall

      Question: Ink Stains on White High Gloss Furniture

      I stupidly left an un opened greeting card on my bedside table while I went travelling, and now I have an ink mark from the price label stained on the shiny, white, high gloss surface. I know you can only use certain products on high gloss furniture so I wondered if anyone had any magic solutions to this problem? I feel like it needs soaking in something as the stain seems well and truly sunken in.

      Alternatively is there any professional service I can use to have it re-surfaced or something, the way you would a scratch? I know this would cost an arm and a leg, but I don't want my boyfriend knowing I ruined his very expensive furniture! Please help!

      By G.M.

      Question: Removing Ink from Wood Furniture

      How do I get ink pen off of solid oak furniture?

      By Ruthie from Millersport, OH


      Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

      Archive: Paint Pen Stain on Wood Furniture

      My child got a red paint pen stain all over my cherry wood desktop. I can't get off? Any ideas without ruining the wood?

      Mike from Malvern, PA

      RE: Paint Pen Stain on Wood Furniture

      Spray some WD-40 on it and wipe clean. (05/28/2006)

      By Marieaa65