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Removing Pen on a Leather Purse

Category Leather
If you get pen marks on a leather purse it can be difficult to get cleaned off. This is a guide about removing pen on a leather purse.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 16, 2016

I have a few places on the outside of my leather purse where I accidentally put ink lines. The ink lines are visible and have been there for about one year. I tried a few times to remove the ink but to no avail.

What can I do to remove the ink without ruining my purse?

Thank you.

Answer Was this helpful? 1
December 17, 20161 found this helpful
Best Answer

I have had the most success using a magic eraser or dipping a q-tip with alcohol.

Both of these seem to work better (for me) than hairspray which sometimes removed/changed the color.

My son uses saddle soap (found in almost all shoe departments of Walmart type stores) on his leather boots and this seems to work for a larger area but this also conditions the leather so it might also be worth a try.

Try to rub lightly as even rubbing hard with a magic marker can/may remove some of the color.

Let purse dry and determine if you need to retry one method before going to another solution.

It seems one point to remember with any solution you try is to test a small inconspicuous area before attempting the "seen" areas.

I always finish the cleaning routine by applying a leather conditioner to the spot - using a clean towel.

Even leather cleaners/conditioners from the auto department have worked for me.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
December 23, 20160 found this helpful

Hair spray, a magic eraser and some elbow grease.

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December 23, 20160 found this helpful

Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer works very well.

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0 found this helpful
March 13, 2011

I have a medium tan soft leather purse; there's blue ink scattered on back of purse and bottom. How do I remove the ink without ruining the purse?

By squirrel from Uniontown, PA

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
March 15, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

I had an expensive Fosil purse with a ballpoint pen mark. I got it off with a dampened cloth and Dawn dish detergent. An older friend told me this. I was afraid it would leave a water stain but it didn't.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
September 26, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

Don't use hairspray! While it has a high alcohol content, the other ingredients could stain the leather. How to clean the purse really depends on the type of leather it is (see below). The instructions below have helped me and I hope they help others, as well!

Types of Leather:

  • Suede: stop reading and take your garment to a professional dry cleaner specializing in cleaning suede.

  • Smooth leather: Test cleaning methods in an inconspicuous place and proceed with care. If your garment or accessory is very expensive and you will be devastated if you ruin it, take it to a professional cleaner.

  • Vinyl or pleather: begin cleaning.

Types of Ink:

  • Ballpoint pen: proceed with cleaning method.

  • Felt tip marker: proceed with cleaning method.

  • Permanent ink or marker: consider having your garment dyed to match the stain or a darker shade. Permanent ink cannot be removed from leather without causing a great deal of damage to the garment. Professional dry cleaners or shoe repair shops can dye leather.

Cleaning Method:

Isopropyl alcohol, rubbing alcohol, works best for home removal of ink stains from leather. Fresh ink stains are easier to remove and usually come out easily, while older stains may require repeat treatments. Leather is porous and the stain can penetrate deep into the hide.

Begin by dampening a white cotton cloth or cotton swab with the alcohol. Dont use a colored cloth because it can transfer dye to light colored leather. Work from the outside of the stain toward the middle by dabbing with the cloth. Keep the work area small do not spread the ink into a bigger area.

You should be able to see the ink transfer to the cloth. Dampen a clean area of the cloth or get a new swab as you see ink coming off to prevent re-staining the garment. Gently, keep blotting away until the ink is gone. Do not scrub harshly as that can remove color and a layer of the leather.

Allow the garment to air dry after or between treatments. Once the ink is removed, treat garment with leather conditioner to help it remain supple and smooth.

Old Wives Tales & Myths:

There's a million blogs and tips about using hairspray, dish detergent, laundry soap, mayonnaise and abrasive erasers to remove ink from leather. Yes, someone from somewhere has had success using these methods, but they cant be recommended.

The most common misconception is using hairspray, which contains high alcohol content, but the other ingredients in the spray can cause staining and other problems. Use it ONLY in an emergency on a fresh ink stain.

The abrasive erasers will probably remove the ink but theyll also remove a layer of the leather. So, youll need to decide if you want a stain or a hole.


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May 15, 20140 found this helpful
Best Answer

I just wanted to mention that I tried the rubbing alcohol on a blue ballpoint pen ink stain on a brown leather handbag and it unfortunately faded the color of the leather but left behind the ink. So, I would definitely recommend testing the rubbing alcohol on an inconspicuous area first before trying it on the stain. I'm going to try the Dawn method suggestion, and if that doesn't work, I'm taking it to the dry cleaners.

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April 16, 20130 found this helpful

How do you remove an ink mark from a cream colored leather purse?

By Joy

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 30, 20100 found this helpful

What can I use to get ink off my light pink leather Coach purse?

By omie from Oak Lawn, IL

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July 18, 20160 found this helpful

I have the same issue...can anyone suggest a method that will work without ruining the purse???

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August 29, 20050 found this helpful


I need to clean ballpoint ink off my leather purse.

Thank you,

Removing Ink From Leather Purse 09/28/2004
Try the Mr. Kleen Magic Eraser - it's like a miracle magic wand for cleaning. I can't believe all the stains it has removed. Good luck
By nanalori
Removing Ink From Leather Purse 09/30/2004
Try hairspray
By Shirley (Guest Post)
Removing Ink From Leather Purse 12/01/2004
Unfortunately, because leather is extremely porous, any solvent you chose runs the risk of damaging the outside finish, or flushing the ink color into a big blotch on the leather. Since the mark is on the inside I would leave it. However, you may contact the Tandy Leather Compnay in Fort Worth for advice. Using a very small amount of alcohol, or acetone, followed by aggressive pressure and blotting may remove most of it, but will cause the stain to bleed. Be careful, and seek out a professional. Coach is worth it.
By Darrell (Guest Post)
Removing Ink From Leather Purse 09/24/2005
Hi, I am no expert of course, but what about trying an Armour-All wipe? Good Luck!
By shesbertsernie (Guest Post)
Removing Ink From Leather Purse 04/27/2006
Mr. Kleen Magic Marker does not work, at least it didn't for me.
By Dyanne (Guest Post)

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August 10, 20160 found this helpful

Nail polish remover works much better on leather with pen marks

Reply Was this helpful? Yes

March 13, 20110 found this helpful

How can I remove ball point pen ink from a leather purse?

By Linda from Carlisle, PA


Pen on a Leather Purse

Hairspray removes ink pretty well. But on a leather purse, I'd be really careful. Try spraying hairspray on a cotton swab, then test it by swabbing it on a tiny, non-visible part of the leather to make sure it doesn't get damaged. Then if the leather doesn't get damaged, test it on a tiny part of the purse where the ink is. The hairspray has to be wet to work, I believe; so you'll have to refresh the cotton swabs as you're doing it. (10/31/2010)

By Joanne

Pen on a Leather Purse

I got ballpoint pen marks off one of my leather purses with Dawn liquid dish detergent. The spot looked dark from the water, but it when it dried in a few minutes the ink was gone. (10/31/2010)

By TXBetty

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

September 28, 20100 found this helpful

How do I clean ink marks off of a light tan soft leather purse?

By Dorothy from Houston, TX


Pen on a Leather Purse

I would try one of those magic erasers, I think they're made by Mr. Clean. They've worked very well on ink stains for me. (08/22/2010)

By rking0717

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

August 22, 20100 found this helpful

How do I remove a pen mark from a red leather bag? I tried alcohol and it took the color off.


July 22, 20100 found this helpful

I got ink on my nice leather bag. How do I remove it?


February 25, 20100 found this helpful

I lent a white leather purse to a friend who marked across it with a blue pen. I used rubbing alcohol without testing it first.


April 1, 20090 found this helpful

I have pen marks on my Italian leather pocketbook. I tried using hairspray and a spot remover pen, but nothing has worked.


March 9, 20090 found this helpful

I have blue ballpoint ink on a Coach sand pebbled leather bag. What's the best way to remove it?


January 18, 20090 found this helpful

How do I get pen ink out of a leather purse?


January 29, 20080 found this helpful

How can I get pen ink out off a leather clutch bag?


May 27, 20060 found this helpful

Someone at my workplace drew a huge line of blue pen on my light pink, leather Juicy Couture bag. I can't get it out.

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