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Removing Pen and Ink Stains from Wood Furniture

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.

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Spilled ink on wood surface. There is also an open bottle and a pen.
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March 15, 2010 Flag
1 found this helpful

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

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March 16, 20100 found this helpful
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I've had great luck using rubbing alcohol to remove most felt-tip permanent pens. You could also use fingernail polish remover, but that may take of some of the stain or wood's finish. They make 2 types of fingernail polish remover. The kind make for artificial nails is the safest to try first. The kind not make for artificial nails is the strongest.

Just use a Q-tip & make sure the solution doesn't drip. You may have to keep rubbing the Q-tip with alcohol back & forth. Sometimes it has to soak in a bit before it works & sometimes it works right away. Are you sure it's a permanent pen? Sometime water-color pens can look just like permanent pens & come off easily with soap & water.

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March 16, 20100 found this helpful
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Well, it depends partly on how old and worn the finish on the wood is. I would proceed cautiously in case the varnish is thin; if you start removing the ink and it smears you don't want to make it worse by spreading it onto bare wood.

Get a million q tips and some 90 per cent rubbing alcohol, at any large drug store. Most rubbing alcohol is 70 percent, but you can find the 90-91 percent. Have an old absorbent rag like a white t shirt also.

Dip q tip into alcohol and wipe with upward stroke and blot spot [on wood] immediately. See if anything happens. If it does loosen ink, proceed but don't push cloth onto other areas without ink, just use a folded little bit on the exact spot and always use a clean piece of the rag, never one that's been stained with previously removed ink. Slow and carefully, until you get the hang of it.

Alcohol could affect the varnish if it's an older varnish; not likely to if it's modern polyurethane.

Others here may know a better method, but this is where I would start. If it doesn't work you have a nice bottle of rubbing alcohol, good for a lot of things and a new stash of q tips.

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February 10, 20150 found this helpful
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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.

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Anonymous Flag
May 21, 20160 found this helpful
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Magic eraser worked great!

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February 22, 2007 Flag
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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!

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February 23, 20070 found this helpful
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I feel your pain! My 2-year old did the same with a Sharpie. If it's wood, try alcohol - you can find very "strong" alcohol at Wal Mart - it is I think 91% and we applied it and rubbed the ink off with old rags. It worked pretty well on fabric as well, but prepare for a lot of blotting. If the surface is durable, a non-acetone nail polish remover worked as well in the same manner, but test it first and be prepared to rinse it out. Good luck!

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February 23, 20070 found this helpful
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I have found that this works for both pen ink AND blood....Take a paper towel and fold it in fourths then lay it over the spot. Take regular hairspray and spray THROUGH the paper towel until saturated. You will see the ink being soaked up by the paper towel. Keep moving the paper towel to clean spots as it soaks up. DO NOT SCRUB! It might take several tries, but once the stain is faded you can use a carpet spot cleaner to finish it off. GOOD LUCK!

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February 3, 20100 found this helpful
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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.

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August 11, 20070 found this helpful

The worlds best stain remover is called "TECH" I moved into a new house that had a welcome basket of cleaning supplies, one of which was that wonder product TECH. My dog got ink pen on my suede couch...followed the directions to the letter, and you can't even tell there was an ink spot. It's good for tons of stains including blood. It is sold in some stores, but also available online.

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August 5, 2013 Flag
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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.

March 17, 2010 Flag
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How do you get ink stains off of a wood desk without damaging the wood? With alcohol? Thanks.

By Susan from Riverview, FL

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March 19, 20100 found this helpful
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Try a dab of hand sanitizer gel. It removes permanent marker pen from kitchen worktops.

Try it in an inconspicuous place first. Best of luck, Monique :)

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October 4, 20130 found this helpful
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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.*

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September 17, 2005 Flag
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Any ideas on how to remove pen stains from wood without damaging the wood?

Pete Ricks

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May 28, 20060 found this helpful
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Wipe with WD-40 it will clean it right off

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June 5, 2013 Flag
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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!Removing Ink Stains off Wood

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.

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March 17, 2010 Flag
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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

Answers:

Paint Pen Stain on Wood Furniture

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

By Marieaa65

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