Pen on a Leather Purse

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

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Try rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball. I got red pen on my new coach purse. They told me to use their cleaner. I had some under the sink, its pure rubbing alcohol. It came off right away. Test the purse first on the bottom to make sure you wont damage the color or leather.

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Try hair spray if it hasn't been there too long. Test it on the bottom first, but I've had good luck with it.

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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.

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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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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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Thank you to the one who suggested Spray & Wash!

I soaked a corner of a soft cloth in Spray & Wash and used it to gently rub the blue ink out of my rose-pink leather Coach. Just be careful not to rub too hard or else the layer of color can rub off to expose the brown leather underneath.

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I tried the suggestion of Dawn and it worked great on my new leather Douney and Burke purse. Thanks goodness because I was

heart broken about the stain on my new purse that I got for Christmas.

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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

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

By omie from Oak Lawn, IL

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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

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

By June from NY

Pen on a Leather Purse

Have you tried a baking soda paste? (08/06/2010)

By carnation037

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

By Carolyn

Pen on a Leather Purse

I just read this tip on the 6/15 Newsletter and thought I'd pass it along in case you didn't see it.

A client of mine accidentally made a long ink pen line on the leather in my Cadillac. I tried all of the suggested removal methods and they did not remove the ink. Finally, I decided to call Dr. Vinyl in Naples, FL to have the area redyed. The owner, Mark, first suggested applying plain chap-stick on the ink line and letting it sit for several days. It will gradually remove the ink. Remove the chap-stick. If there is still evidence of the ink, reapply the chap-stick and let it sit until the ink disappears. It worked! Remove the chap-stick with leather cleaner and apply a leather conditioner. I hope that it works for you!

By Olendon from Naples, FL (06/21/2010)

By Scooterrhea

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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.

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

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

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

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

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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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I need to clean ballpoint ink off my leather purse.

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Home and Garden Cleaning MiscellaneousMarch 13, 2011
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