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This is a tip for removing ink from a white or cream colored leather sofa.
Important: try using a small, less noticeable area of your leather sofa to treat for ink stain, and see how it works on your leather sofa before treating the whole sofa. You may notice a lightening of the fabric area if you rub too hard against the sofa with the Q-tip that contains the solution, or if you use large quantities of the Goof Off liquid. Apply only a small amount of the liquid onto the Q-tip first to see how the leather sofa responds to the liquid.
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.
My leather couch is white and I have a huge blue stain. I tried the Magic Eraser, but it only lifted slightly. What else is there?
By Sandy from Mississauga, Ontario
I had some ink stains in my white coach bag. I used hand sanitizer and it came right off.
I have iodine and ball point pen ink stains on a cream leather sofa, do you know how I can get rid of them? It is not my sofa and I am freaking out.
Why would you have Iodine on your sofa? For leather, lighter fluid on a cotton ball or a q tip works wonders, it will even take off perm. marker or blood in most cases. This will work for pen defiantly, probably for the Iodine also. Just wet a cotton ball with a moderate amount of zippo lighter fluid (or something very similar) and rub the stain until it lightens and disappears.
How do I get blue pen ink off of my cream leather couch? I have tried rubbing alcohol, leather cleaner, Murphy's oil and the last resort, hair spray is not advisable.
By R. Brown
You mentioned using alcohol, but you didn't indicate the percentage. You must use 91% isopropyl alcohol for good results in removing pen ink from leather. Dab a cotton swab or cotton ball with 91% isopropyl alcohol, and approach the stain at one side.
I have shiny cream leather sofas. My grand-daughter wrote several lines and made many drawings on them using a black coloured ballpoint ink pen. On the other sofa's she wrote with blue coloured ballpoint ink. What must I use to clean and remove these two types of ink on my leather sofas without damaging the colouring or paint on the sofas?
By Paul from South Africa
I have found that hair spray or fingernail polish remover has worked for me in taking out ink marks. I would try both or one on a spot of leather where no one can see if it does not work. You will have to make a small ink mark first to see if either works, but out of sight.
How do I remove ink stains from a leather sofa?
By annette from Wales
WD-40 works wonders.
I want to get pen marks off my brown leather couch. What do I do?
By Henna from Oceanside, NY
Hairspray, aqua net, aerosol can like grandma used to use.
How can I remove old blue pen marks on my light gray leather chairs? I have tried acetone, hair spray, Chapstick, alcohol swabs, just about everything I can think of and nothing worked. Is there anyone who actually had a product that really worked?
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Take a soft white cloth and spray with hair spray (the cheaper the better) Before using on a visable area try on an inconspecuous place on your sofa. WIpe and see if you may need a little mor. Don't satuerate your leather. After treatment, be sure to use a thin layer of vasalne to re-condition the leather. Good luck. (07/20/2004)
I tried for ages to remove the lovely design on my cream sofa left by my son but with no results until i tried the hairspray. It worked wonders, infact the areas i cleaned stand out from the rest of the sofa as they are so clean! Maybe a few tins of hairspray are in order!
Unbelievable... I was so upset when I found a huge line of ball-point pen on my new cream leather couch! But, I tired the hairspay and it completely came off! Thank you for the amazing tip! (01/05/2005)
How do I remove pen from fake leather .. I tried hairspray but that didn't work = ( (01/08/2005)
I had a little mark of ballpoint on my off white leather sofa, my husband was really upset at that. I tried milk, shampoo, did not work, but I tried isopropyl alcohol and it removed the stain. I applied vaseline after that to condition the area. (01/17/2005)
B E careful alchol and hairspray discolour the leather very very quickly and doesn't necesarily remove all ink it lightens it... (02/14/2005)
i was just looking for the same solution - I haven't tried yet but I read in my home remmedies book that you rub on dry baking soda and dust off and repeat until the mark has gone - apparently it will absorb the colour. (03/04/2005)
By lizzy lochrie
Hi, Thank you you have saved my life , my sofa is only 3 weeks and someone had put blue pen on it I tryed the hair spray and it works Thank,s xxx (05/11/2005)
Biro and stains can be removed by the use of pencil erasers. Bear in mind that pen removers are solvent based and could potentially remove the color dye. I just cleaned an expensive poppy red leather sofa by putting a speck of water on an eraser and rubbing out the black biro (ballpoint pen) stain. Worked like a dream.
By Rainika (06/02/2005)
I just tried hairspray...the hairspray removed the dye from the leather sofa. So now the sofa is discolored :-( (06/13/2005)
I have just used the hair spray solution for removing a small ball point pen mark from my cream leather sofa. It has worked like a dream. Thank you for this suggestion. (06/21/2005)
By Judith Bassett
I stupidly fell asleep in my tan leather recliner with a blue ball point pen over my ear. Needless to say I discovered a huge mess the next day. Tried EVERYTHING then saw the hairspray idea on this sight. Worked like a charm! (08/02/2005)
Ok, i have a suede sofa that has ball point pen on it.
How do i remove it?
This worked perfectly on my leather car seat. Thanks! (09/10/2005)
I tried the hairspray solution after my 16 month drew with ball point pen all over my tan leather sofa. It removed the stain from the smaller patches and faded the darker more intense lines. I also put leather conditioner on the sofa immediately after to avoid fading. It seems to be working (09/24/2005)
I think this tip saved my marriage...sat down in home office to pay bills, wife at work, two year old gets hold of ball point pen and decides to make a 4 square foot drawing on new tan leather couch behind my back...took about four applications (rinse and dry leather in between) to get lines out, then condition. What a relief...(I think my wife may notice that her hair spray bottle is a bit lighter) (09/24/2005)
Just used hairspray to remove red pen from cream leather.
Worked a treat.
By Frank Horton.
I DON'T NO IF WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME PLANET BUT NONE OF THIS WORKS.. TRIED ALL ON THIS PAGE... HELP PLSE (11/05/2005)
By BURGUNDYSTARR at HOTMAIL.COM
worked great just be careful to rub stain as little as possible as it starts to remove the dye from the leather too. I conditioned right after removing stain. (11/10/2005)
I think you should try this.
I have an Ivory couch. I decided to make a joke and draw a face on my toe, next thing the face was face was printed on the couch twice...oh my god
ok I used some warm water then using a bar of white soap I rubbed it thoroughly, and left it for about 15 minutes.. and voala the ink is gone and there is no loss of color at all..so the answer is a bar of white soap... (11/12/2005)
NONE OF THIS IS WORKING FOR ME. (11/14/2005)
THank you for the hair spray trick. Just removed ball point pen from our new brown leather sofa. My 18 monthold decided to use it as a canvas. (11/29/2005)
deodorant works, but is a bit too strong an leaves it very dry. (12/04/2005)
Took delivery of my brand new cream leather sofa yesterday ... today horror of horrors a small but noticeable biro pen mark noticed after my grandchildren had been, tried all to remove it but with no avail, then found this site and tried the hairspray ... hey presto all gone! conditioned the leather after. (12/17/2005)
By Babs (Guest Post)
Thank you for the hair spray tip, it worked like a charm after my 3yr old thought the couch was a gaint piece of paper. (12/17/2005)
you should scrub it off with 409 as quick as possible. If that dosen't work apply a special amount of armorall (12/18/2005)
what is the hair spray trick (12/25/2005)
Tried hairspray on pen stain on sofa. Worked a treat. (12/25/2005)
i have a 2 year old and i am ready for her to go to a far away college...first i have to wean her from the breast. anyway.pen...leather.BRAT! hairspray works! YAY. hopefully she'll go to harvard. (12/28/2005)
A 2 year old, a blue ballpoint pen and a cream leather suite.
NOT a good combination! One seat panel completely covered with doodles.
One smacked bottom later we were trying the pen removal wipes supplied with the leather suite - NO GOOD! Then tried baby wipes, nail polish remover and everything else we could think of. In desparation I went onto Google and typed in "Remove ball point pen from cream leather suite" which brought up this site.
Hairspray works! Spray onto a dry cloth and apply, then wipe with damp cloth when it gets sticky. It is amazing. Probably damaged the coating on the suite, but you can't see it and we are reconditioning the whole thing now to protect it again.
THANK YOU (01/07/2006)
By Hooray for Hairspray!
what hairspray do u use ? liquid or the spray version (01/10/2006)
Hello there! tried hairspray but only removed small marks! Anyone out there how to remove more visable marks as my 2 yera old has gone to art school on my cream leather suite please please let me have some ideas (01/12/2006)
By louise williams from leeds uk
Thanks for the help, it worked a treat! The pen came off my brown leather couch straight away with hairspray - no effort what so ever. (01/18/2006)
Brillo pad. I see you all cringing but it works brilliantly. My Mother got me into it, I just rub gently and then wipe, it comes up like new. (01/18/2006)
Just be carefull with these home remedies... and do not over rub... The KEY is speed ink will come up even with soap and water if you get it very fast... Hairspray and alcohol can work as well when the ink is attacked fast.. However; if it does not come of easy do not over rub.. You will remove the color from the leather as well as the ink... http://advancedleatherrepair.com (01/20/2006)
By mobile leather service
I had the same problem with our Ivory chair and ball point pen! My friend brought some acetone & that removed it without harming the colour. I put the leather care product on after (similar to dubbing) to stop it drying out. Hope this helps. (01/24/2006)
Noticed ballpoint mark on my beloved cream coloured suede jacket this morning. Used a pencil eraser to rub the mark off. Worked as treat - yipee, the mark is gone! (01/26/2006)
if there's no luck with the hairspray, try alcohol...you may have to scrub. Also, sofamart sells an excellent leather cleaner that finished up the job. (01/26/2006)
Be very careful with Hair spray. I used it after my two year old decided to be Picasso but it removed color off my brown sofa instead of the art. And I was very careful about not rubbing very hard. (01/30/2006)
By Picasso's mom
The longer the ink sets into the leather , the harder it is to remove... If you try these home remedies..
1.) you should test an area that will not be seen if what you are using will damage the leather finish...
2.) If it does not come off easy it will not come off. Any further heavy scrubbing or rubbing will damage the leather finish... In other words You will lighten or totally remove color as well as the ink..
3.) There may be a leather Repair company in your area that can help. We see ink all the time and most times we lighten the ink as possible and then do redye work in the area to eliminate the ink stains..
By Leather Service
Thanks all. Was really stressed out about my daughters picture drawn on the bedroom door in blue biro early this morning. After revieing your comments I tried a Pencil eraser on the Bedroom door and Behold the Biro Mark are all gone. (02/04/2006)
I don't know why you say hairspray works? Becauce it doesn't for me. Maybe i'm doing it wrong. could someone tell me how to do it, please? I relly would like to get the smily faces off my new leather sofas.(quote)(/quote)(u)(/u)(i)(/i)(b)(/b) (02/11/2006)
By Anna Bausch
Try the new Mr. Clean Magic Erasers...They work WONDERS with ink stains on everything! Try on a hidden spot first to make sure it won't remove leather color though. (02/13/2006)
Hair spray seems to work on a very soft expensive leather sofa.. But it takes a bit long. Not completely clean yet. Will try again tomorrow. (02/19/2006)
deodorant worked it removes the stain in an instant (02/20/2006)
Be careful with Hairspray deodorant... Its the alcohol thats working... Test in a hidden area first.. If it does not come off.. DO Not Over Rub.. You will also remove some of the leather finish...
By Leather Advice
please tell me how (03/12/2006)
By elke grainger
Some of the home remedies here can and will work. However; please be advised, that regardless of the method used, if the ink does not come off with minimal pressure, it has set in and you risk rubbing the color of the leather of as well as the ink. We see it all the time. Check out this page for more details on what I mean.
My 22-month-old son just decided that he would scribble all over the wedge part of our light taupe leather sectional. He used a blue ball point pen. I just grabbed what I could find, which happened to be 100% pure acetone and rubbing alcohol and cotton balls. The rubbing alcohol lightened the pen marks quite a bit, but did NOT completely remove all of the marks. I reluctantly used the 100% acetone, but IT WORKED! After getting all of the pen marks off, I followed up with a very thin layer of Vaseline (petroleum jelly) just in case the acetone and/or alcohol dried the leather any. Hope this helps anyone who is in the same situation I just found myself in! (03/23/2006)
It was the timing that helped you out... Keep in mind that the acetone has stripped any protective coating off of your leather finish.. You need some conditioner over that area not vasaline. Good Luck
The hairspray worked for me! Sprayed it on, waited until it got sticky, like 1 min. than wiped right off and conditioned afterwards. No marks at all now on my ivory leather sofa. (04/03/2006)
Hairspray, and clean very fast, then remove the white layer (that leaves the hairspray) with warm water. That work for us. (04/26/2006)
i think you just saved me from getting grounded! my mum just found a biro stain on the sofa. i tried soap and water, vanish, didnt work. tried hairspray an it came off after a couple of applications (rinse in between) yay! it came right off! (04/30/2006)
just reluctantly used acetone on an red leather wallet: stains not completely gone, but its usable again!hooray! there is slight discolouration, but ud only notice if you knew to look! (05/03/2006)
Acetone will remove the color as well as the ink... Test an area first... You can get an ink remover to have on hand @ http://stainsafe.com but check out this link before using
some good links on the pages as well (05/05/2006)
Chanell no5...really... (05/15/2006)
Thanks for the tip re hairspray.
Worked a treat!
Now all I have to is tell my 84 year old mother she can't do the crosswords in my newspaper when she visits any more! (05/16/2006)
By Janet O'Brien
i need help. nothing is working tell me please
we got so much ink all over the back of my cream sofa, and were trying to get it off, and i just cannot do it. (05/27/2006)
how do i remove ink from my face? it wont come off and my face is starting to hurt :'( (05/29/2006)
Got new leather sofa and that day when I came home after letting my husband watch the kids they left a gift for me on my new sofa. My 2 year old decided to draw me a picture with a dark blue pen. My husband said he didn't see her do it no doubt he was on the computer at the time. What shoud I do I tried everything and nothing works please. All the items people have put on this site is not working. (06/02/2006)
can someone give me a few ideas how i can stop the padding going down on my leather sofa and stop the creccing and make it look brand new someone please get back to me on this one thanks Tyrone (06/04/2006)
The creasing of your leather is natural to a certain degree and unavoidable... You should however adjust the cushions often to avoid the creases folding and pressing down. creases are natural but a folded crease over a long period of time can turn into a split... You need a good conditioner so these areas do not get so dry... Lexol, or No bull leather treatment are a couple good ones for more finished leather... See leather types here...
By Leather Helper
After having disbelief that any of these remedies would work on the stains my neice left all over my BRAND NEW cream leather ottoman, I tried alchohol.
I didn't have aerosol hairspray so I used a q-tip and alcholhol to test a spot and it stripped the conditioner but faded the stains right off. I reconditioned after I got them all off, and wahhh lahhhh. IT WORKS! (07/12/2006)
If you want to remove the stain yourself use this product - http://www.furnitureclinic.co.uk/LeatherInkRemover.htm (07/13/2006)
By Ben Staerck
try Avon's Skin So Soft, that stuff is amazing! (07/14/2006)
Hairspray worked, but be careful it may take the color right out of the leather
HAIR SPRAY WORKS! Many thanks everyone. I take it that the alcohol in the hair spray does the job. No discolouration at all! (07/25/2006)
By Mike Hobbs
Some of these home remedies will work... However you need to be carefull not to strip the leather finish right off.. We see it all the time...
Check out this before and after pic... Someone used fingernail polish remover to try and remove ink... OOPS... http://mobileleatherservice.com/Beforandafter.html (08/04/2006)
By Leather repair
My two and four year old drew all over my brand new camel colored leather sofa. I used non acetone nail polish remover very lightly with a qutip and then very quickly wiped away. It took in off after a few attempts and did not take the color off. (09/13/2006)
my dumb broher wuz doing home work and got pen on the couch the hairspray worked awsome thanks so much
thanx so much for the hairspray tip. My mums gone on holiday and me and my boyfriend drew a big tattoo on my back and i lay down and it tranfered to the cream leather! hairspray took it off right away and made it look cleaner x (10/17/2006)
To my horror as I was walking out the door I notice my son had drew on the sofa I have had to leave it all day and I am not even sure when he has done this! does anyone know if the hairspray will work if it been on there for a few days ahhh help (10/20/2006)
What makes hairspray work is the alchahol... If the ink has been there awhile it may not move... DO NOT OVER RUB... You risk removing some leather color as well as the ink... check out some links here for products and info... http://mobileleatherservice.com/Inkonleather.html
thankyou all so much, just discovered a christamas guest has got biro on our one month old brown leather sofa. *HAIRSPRAY* worked. we tested it in spare patch first and were amazed after two small sprays it had vanished. I am so happy thankyou again. (01/04/2007)
By emily b
My Girlfriend lied down for a nap with an uncapped pen in her hair... It was all over the back of the couch and the armrest. I didn't have any hairspray, but my Cologne did the trick! Left my couch smelling nice too...
It was almost too good because I had to clean the rest of the couch later. It lifted so much dirt in the process it looked a shade lighter. Scared me for a sec! (01/25/2007)
My 14 month old daughter was playing and found my ink pen. When I left for the kitchen, I heard her squealing excitedly. I came back into the living room and she was drawing with my pen all over my cream colored leather couch! I went and got the rubbing alcohol (my hair spray is alcohol free) and it took it right out. (02/06/2007)
HELP...I HAVE A BIG BLUE DENTED LINE OF BIRO ON MY WHITE SOFA MY HUSBAND IS GOING BONKERS! (02/07/2007)
NONE of this stuff is working for me. The only thing that came close was alcohol and it removed the color as well and not when I initially tried it, after it sat. I sent my husband to buy aerosol hairspray...last hope! Well see.
P.S. No more pens in the house, my 2 year old thinks she's an artist! 3,000.00 couch ruined! (02/10/2007)
OH MY GOD THANK YOU THANK YOU my 20 month old thought it would be funny to draw on my New leather couch just bought this week but thanks to this site i got it out with perfume. Thank my husband for buying me a new perfume this valentines day! (02/21/2007)
fantastic aftershave worked and it smelled good too this is a trick i will not be forgetting in a hurry! (03/12/2007)
PLEASE HELP...MY DAUGHTER DYED HER HAIR AND GOT THE DYE ON MY CREAM LEATHER SOFA... (03/18/2007)
Thank goodness the non-acetone fingernail polish remover took the ink off my Mom's offwhite leather couch before she found it. Test a patch someplace unnoticed first to make sure it won't discolor the leather. Be careful not to scrub too much. I found that a q-tip was soft enough to use and helped clean in the groves of the "grain" of the leather. Final step was using a slightly wet (h20) cloth to make sure the remover didn't sit and discolor the fabric. (03/28/2007)
Thanks for the hairspray tip my 14 month drew all over my cream leather sofa and the hairspray took it straight off, it even looks cleaner now. x x x (04/11/2007)
By Laura Hart
I'm 17, my parents just bought brand new light tan leather sofas. I was laying on the couch doing notecards for school...and accidently got blue pen on the couch. Needless to say i did NOT tell my mother...and she JUST left the house...i ran online and immediately found this site. I tried hairspray and it didnt work for me...so i tried rubbing alcohol. That removed the pen immediately but it also took a little coloring off the sofa...theres a tiny white spot on it now...i hope no one notices...thanks for the tips! (04/11/2007)
11.30pm and no hairspray to hand and didnt want to leave it till tomorrow. Tried the Chanel No 5 and IT WORKS! Thanks so much. My cream leather sofa is back to its former glory!
By Angela B
Thank you for the hairspray tip. I just got the pen mark out of my New expensive white leather purse! Thank you! I can't believe it worked. It just came right out. (05/16/2007)
Used the alcohol trick on dark burgundy leather and it removed the color but not the ink now my couch looks worse-any ideas...
Remove black ball point ink even if it is days old. Try Men cologne or womens perfume be sure that they are the real thing not imitation fragances. It worked it worked however spray on small batches and immediately with a SOS pad (which is a bit harsh on leather) the ink will come off. Be sure you scrub as you spray because if it dries up the ink will not be removed.(quote)(/quote) (05/22/2007)
I recently noticed that my new white leather bag somehow got pink ballpoint pen scribbles on it (i've not got any kids - may have been the cat) so used two different kinds of perfume (CK Euphoria & D&G Light Blue fyi) and it has managed to take most of the ink out but there's still faint pink scribbles so it didn't work totally. I then tried using nail varnish remover which didn't help at all - maybe it's one with no alcohol in it. Maybe I could just paint over it in tippex... (05/31/2007)
My son turned two yesterday . Guess what - today I got first ballpoint pictures on my light chestnut leather armchair :-)
Tried Magic Eraser - did not do anything dry , with a small amount of water it cleaned up , I would say 90 percent - it is hard to tell , the leather is still somewhat damp and thus dark . Magic Eraser ( with water ) did an incredible job on an old
marker 9 not permanent kind , but a regular flo-master )
stain - the same leather chair . One stroke took it of fwith no trace . Wow !
I had some pen marks on my red leather school bag but perfume (chanel coco mademoiselle) took them right out. Thanks for the tip! (07/17/2007)
MY 20 MONTH OLD DAUGHTER DREW ON THE ARMREST OF MY LEATHER COUCH WITH A PEN...BURBERRY LONDON PERFUME WORKED!NOT ONE MARK LEFT ANYWHERE ON IT! (07/23/2007)
I didn't believe you all! The perfume trick definately works. Thanks. Phew! (07/25/2007)
By Pauline NZ
WOW the perfume trick works! While my Dad was at work my brother fell asleep on one of the recently purchased white leather couches. Little did he know that he would drool all over his hand that had pen written on it. The pen on his hand left an exact image of a band's name he had written on his hand. With my Dad arriving home shortly this site popped up as I typed in "removing ink from leather"! What a life saver..definitely use the perfume trick! (07/28/2007)
I just removed dark blue pen from my black leather ottoman using the pencil eraser and water tip and it worked! I then conditioned the leather with a cream so the brush marks blended in. Worked like a charm! Now to hide the pens from my toddler...
I used men's perfume and it worked, although there is a slight discoloration (small white spots) but at least the pen mark has gone. (08/26/2007)
I used the aftershave method and it got the ink off fine. (08/31/2007)
Nail polish remover pads worked! Hairspray sort of worked on the pen, but the pads just wiped it. I had to leave the pads on the stain for a while as it was an old satin! My pads are from Superdrug, their own ones ! Good luck lol (09/02/2007)
We have new leather furniture and one of the kids got the ink on it. The mens cologne worked like a charm, and it didn't discolor the dark leather! My husband is now a lot less stress! Thank you! (09/02/2007)
Help! Tried hairspray, vanish, aftershave cream. The leather chair only 2 days old ruined! (09/17/2007)
By Vicky O'Connor
I wondered why my 4 yr old was keeping so quiet while I was working. She just drew lovely circles with ball point pen on my leather organizer. I just used women's perfume and a cotton ball and it came right off! Amazing! (10/04/2007)
By GAbrielle inLos Angeles
I used Burburry London perfume on my brown leather bag to get the blue ballpoint pen ink off - it worked extremely well! The perfume doesn't stain the bag either! (10/14/2007)
So my two year old God Daughter decided to make me a pretty picture, except instead of drawing on a coloring book, she drew all over the side of my couch. We cleaned ALL of it off with Alcohol. It cleaned it all off! Thank god cause the couch is way to expensive! :)
ALCOHOL works and doesn't stain the couch at all... it looks as good as new. (10/24/2007)
I just used perfume and it took out most of the ballpoint pen, but also removed the color of my sofa (10/27/2007)
How do I get ink pen scribbles off my white leather couch? We've tried the special ink remover stick for leather and this lightened up the marks, but they are still quite noticeable
How to get ink off of a leather chair?
How do I get blue and black Biro off a cream leather sofa?
My daughter has drawn with a Biro pen all over my cream leather sofa! How can I get it off?