Removing Pen Ink on a Wood Table

Category Furniture
Finding the right way to remove ink from a wood table without doing damage can be frustrating. This is a page about removing pen ink on a wood table.


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January 14, 2019

My daughter has got a pen mark on my new wooden table and has slightly engraved it! How can I clean it off and fix the indentation?


January 14, 20190 found this helpful

Try a baking soda paste. Try on an inconspicuous area first. They have wood crayons. You can use this to fill it in if it is not too deep.

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March 8, 20190 found this helpful

Well you can get the ink off with hairspray but the indention is some other matter maybe some type of putty but you probably have to buff and restain whole table

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

March 30, 2010

How do I remove felt tip pen from a solid wood table without ruining the finish?

By Stacywilson from Warwickshire


Removing Ink from a Table


Pour the rubbing alcohol onto the sponge or pad of paper towels. Make sure the sponge or paper towels are soaked in the alcohol solution then rub the alcohol-soaked cloth or towels vigorously into the stain. Rub the stain until the majority of it is gone or absorbed into your rubbing device.

By Alicia

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September 1, 2009

Removing Ink from a Table

I have a nice wood cocktail table. It is a very lightly stained wood with no finish on it. It is very rustic. My nephew found a black ball point pen and wrote on it. We have only had it about 2 months. Can someone suggest how to get the marks off without damaging the wood? It is only a surface mark. The pen did not indent the wood. Thanks!


By Elizabeth Henson from Lebanon, MO


Removing Ink from a Table

If you have access to ethanol, make a 95% solution (95 parts ethanol to 5 parts water) and apply to a clean rag or piece of gauze. Rub onto stain. Since there is no finish on the table, it should not cause it any harm. If you do not have ethanol, you could try applying some hairspray to the rag before rubbing it onto the stain. Best of luck! (04/17/2009)

By patty

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April 14, 2009

How can I remove ink from my wood breakfast table? The wood is a light brown color.



Removing Ink from a Table

Thank you for the tip about the baking soda. My daughter wrote on our computer desk with a ballpoint pen and the baking soda took it right off. I'm so amazed. Thanks! (02/28/2007)


By Tina

Removing Ink from a Table

Hairspray on a q-tip (cotton swab) worked wonders for my dresser, none of the finish was removed. Rubbing the hairspray soaked q-tip on the spot and then wiping with water as a safety measurement did its job. (04/08/2007)

By Cassue

Removing Ink from a Table

Baking Soda! (04/27/2007)

By shaylee

Removing Ink from a Table

Thank goodness for this website and the internet. The baking soda mixed w/ warm water took ball point pen right out of my butcher block island top. Thank you for the tip - what a lifesaver. Now I don't have to freak out if my 2 year old does this again (but hopefully he won't). (04/30/2007)

By Margot

Removing felt-tip Ink from a Table

I used the water + baking soda and it worked perfectly, removing green felt-tip ink from a cherry table. I recommend making a slurring of the baking soda and water and using your finger to rub off the ink. No damage to the table. It only took a few minutes to remove several ink lines. No need to use alcohol, just the water. Good luck. (06/19/2007)


By Ronn

Removing Ink from a Table

Absolutely incredible! Baking Soda took an entire ink pin that my 4 yr old opened, off my oak desk without damaging the finish too badly. It was solid ink about 4 inches by 4 inches wide. After making a mess of it with rubbing alcohol I found this site and to my astonishment it worked, well. Thank you so much for this tip!

P.S. If you do make a mess with the rubbing alcohol, clean the mess up with the baking soda first then go back over the haze with rubbing alcohol and it'll look like new. (06/24/2007)

By Daniel

Removing Ink from a Monitor

Hair spray works! Thanks Adam. Our monitor also suffered an ink attack from a two-year-old and some hair spray and a q-tip took it off without any trouble. This also works for leather, which is why I had the hairspray in the first place, but I never dreamed of trying it on a monitor. (07/25/2007)


By Ashley

Removing Ink from a Table

Baking Soda Wins! Just made a paste of it, put it on a finished oak stool top with ball point pen all over it. Rubbed the baking soda mix with my finger, all ink was removed. Excellent! (07/28/2007)

By Nick P.

Removing Ink from a Table

I just bought a brand new cherry desk for my office, and a ball point pen leaked into a puddle on the wood. I first treated it with hairspray, and the small spots came off. Next I tried a baking soda paste and wiped it off with vodka, and it came off. (08/23/2007)

By Shelby

Removing Ink from a Table

Baking soda worked. My son is getting into all the pens and drawing on everything. I work at home and am an artist so drawing I don't discourage, but on the furniture? No way. He drew on our coffee table and our dinner table. Both cherry wood and the pen came right out. Thank you. My wife will be very happy. (09/20/2007)

By Jim

Removing Ink from a Table

Baking Soda. We had our 2 year old daughter's daily report card from day care sitting on our brand new $2,000 wood dining room table. Water spilled on the card causing the hot pink dye to stain the table. After rubbing it with everything and getting no results, I found this post and Baking soda saved the day. Cold water, Baking soda and some rubbing with a paper towel. With in a few minutes everything was gone. Thanks everyone for the posts!

By Jeff H

Removing Ink from a Table

Thanks for the feedback everyone. This worked like a charm. We had a ballpoint pen explode spontaneously on our dining room table. After trying a few household cleaners that did nothing I found this. Thanks again! (10/27/2007)

By Mike K

Removing Ink from a Table

I tried using baking soda and rubbing alcohol but it did not work. I do not know what kind of wood this is but, it's not coming out. I need help. (12/07/2007)

By vanessa

Removing Ink from a Table

Baking soda and water worked. I had an ink stain that leaked from a bag on the table. The table was a very light finish. I tried everything, but nothing worked. Then I found this site and tried the baking soda and, thanks guys! (12/16/2007)

Removing Ink from a Table

The baking soda saved my desk from a broken pen that had been sitting there for an entire day. It took a lot of rubbing with paper towels, but after fifteen minutes it came off. The finish was hurt a little bit. (12/18/2007)

By lucky man

Removing Ink from a Table

Have you tried toothpaste? it works like a charm! (12/20/2007)

By Natasha D

Removing Ink from a Table

Baking soda worked really well when removing pen's ink from the table. Thank you for advice. (12/24/2007)

By Alec

Removing Ink from a Table

I wouldn't have believed it. I had a small spot and tried alcohol which made the spot huge, and baking soda removed all like new, amazing! (01/06/2008)

By Rez

Removing Ink from a Table

Baking soda worked on felt tip pen marks on light wood. Thank you (01/29/2008)

By bray

Removing Ink from a Table

Amazing! Thank You. Ball Point pen scribbled on my light Alder wood dining table is magically removed with water, a paper towel and baking soda. Who woulda' thought? (02/01/2008)

By Kathy

Removing Ink from a Table

I used baking soda toothpaste and it was remarkably effective. (02/20/2008)

By Al

Removing Ink from a Table

Exploding pen on a white wooden table - I used every cleaning product I had - which just spread the ink, but then came across this website - the baking soda worked! Thank you so much for the tip. (02/24/2008)

By Fiona D

Removing Ink from a Table

This just worked on ball point pen ink on an Ikea coffee table -- baking soda and water and a little scrubbing. Brilliant. (03/31/2008)

By sp

Removing Ink from a Table

My 3 year old son wrote on my oak night stand and dresser. I tried the baking soda and it did not work. If you have any other advice please let me know. (04/30/2008)

By Desiree N.

Removing Ink from a Table

Thank you so much. I spilled ink on my parents' table and they would have killed me if they found out. I tried every stain remover in my house then found this. I used the water and Baking soda and that got most of it off, then I used tooth paste and a paper towel and that made it disappear. Thank you so much. (06/18/2008)

By Robert

Removing Ink from a Table

I just had this same thing happen to me. I tried toothpaste and it worked! I was so relieved. (07/13/2008)

By manda

Removing Ink from a Table

Bicarbonate of Soda worked like magic! (07/13/2008)

By Sceptical

Removing Ink from a Table

I got permanent ballpoint pen ink all over my sister's $3,500 white desk. A toothbrush and lots of toothpaste took it off in 30 minutes. (07/21/2008)

By Pezzz

Removing Ink from a Table

Thank you so much for the toothpaste advice. It was incredible, crisis averted! (07/21/2008)

By Rowan

Removing Ink from a Table

Just tried the baking soda with a tiny bit of water on a paper towel and it took off the black ink from a leaking ballpoint pen. You just saved my new cherry wood coffee table. Thanks so much for this idea..I never would have thought it was possible. (07/26/2008)

By Mrs. Z.

Removing Ink from a Table

I had some black ink from a stamp pad that had gotten on corian countertops and had sat for several hours. I tried everything and then tried Soft Scrub Deep Clean and a scotch brite pad - stain is gone, whew! (07/28/2008)

By sally

Removing Ink from Distressed cabinets

I absolutely freaked out when my two year old drew on my newly distressed cabinets with an ink pen. I used the baking soda with a toothbrush and it came right off. Thank Goodness I will not have to show her dad. (08/08/2008)

By Chrissy

Removing Ink from a Table

Baking soda was amazing. Thank you so much. Now my mother won't kill me! (08/10/2008)

Removing Ink from a Table

Wow, Toothpaste is the winner. I guess having baking soda in it really helps. Make sure you use plenty of toothpaste and scrub for at least a few minutes. (08/21/2008)

By Chris

Removing Ink from a Table

Thank you, thank you for the baking soda advice. You just saved my life, literally! Lol (08/30/2008)

By Jade.

Removing Ink from a Table

Thanks so much for the baking soda tip for getting out ink stains on wood-- my floor looks like new even after the stain sat overnight! (09/11/2008)

Removing Ink from a Table

People who made this site rock. You guys saved my life because my girlfriend would have killed me for spilling ink on her table, thanks! (09/24/2008)

Removing Ink from a Table

My son drew on his oak toy chest with a ballpoint pen. I tried the baking soda technique and it didn't work. The pen marks are kind of engraved in, maybe that's why. I also tried the magic eraser and also toothpaste, no luck with those either. If anyone has any more ideas please let me know. Thank you. (10/21/2008)

By Lacey

Removing Ink from a Table

Honestly, the tooth paste did a little bit, baking soda nothing, and nail polish remover took it right off. (11/05/2008)

By Fenella.

Removing Ink from a Table

The nail polish remover worked. Thank you so much. (11/09/2008)

By Saved Me!

Removing Ink from a Table

I had a pen break and dump ink all over the wood dining table I had inherited. Thanks for the advice. I used a wet paper towel and baking soda and scrubbed it right off. Amazing! (11/15/2008)

By Keri R.

Removing Ink from a Table

I tried toothpaste, and it pretty much took all the stain away. I tried a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol, and it went away.

By debby

Removing Ink from a Table

The baking soda worked, but it also took the finish off our rustic furniture. I think sandpaper would have been as equally effective. (12/05/2008)

By Kris

Removing Ink from a Table

I just bought a used Ikea Gutvik bunk bed (light wood) and it had green crayon heavily scribbled on it in one spot, and a little girl's name carved in black ball point pen on another spot. I was going to use baking soda to remove the pen, since it seems to have the highest success rate based on everyone's feedback. Turns out that I'm actually out of baking soda, so I turned to toothpaste since that worked for others.

My toothpaste happened to have baking soda in it (Tom's of Maine Natural Fluoride Free Peppermint), and it got the pen out very, very well. The only spots that still seem to remain visible are marks from the pen that are too deep to rub off. Rubbing the toothpaste onto the wood with a dry paper towel and some elbow grease took the pen right off. I'd say the writing is about 90% removed, as I can still see her name in the wood, but WHAT a difference. It looks so much better. And the toothpaste didn't affect the finish at all, as far as I can tell.

Also, for the crayon, mayonnaise worked wonders (got that from another post about removing crayon from wood). I suppose it's the oil and the vinegar combination that does the trick. I let it sit for a few minutes, as was recommended, and rubbed it with a dry wash cloth. No more crayon and the wood looks great! Thanks for everyone's suggestions and experiences!

Attached is an "after" picture of the ball point pen taken with my cell phone (I didn't take a "before" picture unfortunately). (12/21/2008)

By Rose

RE: Removing Ink from a Table

Removing Ink from a Table

Thank you so much! We rent and my 2 year old wrote all over the cabinets with an ink pen. I tried everything and then I looked on the internet and saw that you guys said to try toothpaste - who would think, but it worked! I thought I was going to cry, so thanks for taking the time to put good info up! (01/15/2009)

By Sunder

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

February 20, 2007

How do I safely remove ball point pen ink from a oak table? My daughter scribbled on our oak end table.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

March 14, 2003

I am trying to remove ballpoint ink from kitchen table that is either white wood or white corian?

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