How to Remove Ballpoint Ink from Vinyl


Allyse asked: How do you get black ballpoint pen out of a vinyl chair seat? We have a 50’s kitchenette set and a friend’s child drew in black pen on the cream vinyl seat.

Fortunately, ballpoint ink is fairly easy to remove from most surfaces, including vinyl. Follow the guidelines below to remove the ink and return your vinyl seats to new again.

You Will Need:

  • All purpose spray cleaner
  • Household ammonia
  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Paper towels or soft cloths

Steps to Remove the Ink:

*Always test a small hidden section first to ensure the cleaner will not cause any adverse effects to the surface of the vinyl.

  1. Begin by applying an all-purpose cleaner to the stain.
  2. Gently wipe with a soft cloth. Avoid applying too much pressure.
  3. Repeat if needed.
  4. Rinse the area completely.
  5. If the stain remains, moisten a clean cloth with a small amount of ammonia.
  6. Place the cloth on the stain and allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  7. Use the cloth to gently wipe the area until the ink is removed.
  8. Mix a mild soap with water and use a clean cloth to clean the entire area.
  9. Allow it to dry completely.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • Gel ink is different from ballpoint ink and is nearly impossible to remove. Use caution whenever writing with gel ink pens.
  • If you are concerned the products used above will damage the vinyl (or the test spot showed adverse effects), there are vinyl conditioners available that will remove the ink.
  • Regular white toothpaste is another alternate cleaner that can be applied to ink stains. Simply apply and rub gently with a soft cloth. Rinse and allow the area to dry.
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is also great for removing ink. Test a small hidden area first to ensure it does not cause any discolorations.
  • Acetone nail polish can also be used to remove ink, but use very little and watch for any discoloration of the vinyl.


  1. Rebecca says:

    Cheap aerosol hairspray is great at removing pen from vinyl.

  2. Amy says:

    My daughter wrote with a ballpoint pen on the seat of the school bus. They said I might have to buy a new seat for the bus. I’m going to ask that she has the opportunity to clean it off first. Which method should we use?

  3. Don says:

    None of these suggestions worked on ballpoint pen marks on my truck’s vinyl seat.

  4. Deepali says:

    Hi, I agree with Don – no amount of acetone, Magic Eraser, or Clorox bleach pen worked on my daughter’s raincoat. I could not erase old phone numbers from her vinyl raincoat…she is really upset. Guess I will have to buy a new raincoat!

  5. Diana says:

    Thank you; the acetone did help a little. It did not take it completely away, but it did fade the blue ink so that it does not POP out at you. I have a gray vinyl Bible and it had a small blue ink line on the back.

  6. Mary T. says:

    None of these worked on my cream-colored bar stool.

  7. Elvis says:

    Has anyone tried a penetrating oil like WD-40?? I too have an ink stain on a vinyl seat and none of these suggestions worked for me.

  8. Trevor says:

    Eucalyptus oil worked well to remove pen mark from vinyl handbag.

  9. Thrifty Mom says:

    Someone suggested hand sanitizer, so I tried it; it works. Use it a couple of times; the ink will fade eventually.

  10. Cheryl says:

    I found the only thing to work was the acetone. Tried Spray n’ Wipe, bicarb with vinegar, ammonia, and toothpaste.

  11. Darlene says:

    Try cheap hairspray; it works on a lot of things. But always test in the hidden spot first. I always use this for ink on clothes! Spray, let it dry over night, spray again, and wash as usual. Check the stain is gone before drying; if not, spray and immediately wash again! Saturation with hair spray is good. Anybody know how to clean old vinyl furniture? Help needed please. Thank you.

    Check it out! We’ve answered your question! Yay!

  12. Diana says:

    I used “Goof-Off” to get off a pen mark from our soft vinyl chair.

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