How to Remove Gel Ink from Upholstery


Linda asked: My grandson wrote on our light colored, polyester fabric upholstery with a Pilot Dr. Grip Gel pen. What can I do to remove it?

Gel pens are made with different ink than ball point pens. Gel ink is designed to be permanent. Below is a method that has been successful for some. Always test the cleaning solution on a hidden area first to ensure it does not remove the dye in the upholstery.

You Will Need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • Soft cloths
  • Small bowl
  • Cotton swabs
  • Water
  • Laundry detergent

Steps to Remove the Ink:

  1. Treat these ink stains as soon asĀ  possible for the best chance of removal.
  2. Mix together one part rubbing alcohol and one part vinegar in a bowl.
  3. Moisten a soft cloth and dab the mixture onto the ink stain. A cotton swab can be used to apply it more directly to the stained area.
  4. Moisten the ink well and leave it to set for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Cover the area with salt.
  6. Leave the salt sit on top of the stain for a couple of minutes and then scrape it away.
  7. Moisten a clean cloth with warm to hot water and blot the stain.
  8. Continue blotting until the stain is removed.
  9. If needed, a few drops of laundry detergent can be added to the water.
  10. Once the ink is removed, wipe the area with a clean cloth and plain water to remove any soap or cleaning residue.
  11. Allow the area to air dry completely.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Gel ink stains are stubborn and may require several attempts to completely remove them.
  • Simple green can also be sprayed onto the stain to aid in removal. Blot with a clean cloth moistened with plain water to remove.
  • If the upholstery cannot get wet, such as some silks and microfiber upholsteries, consult a professional cleaning company to remove the stain for you.


  1. MD says:

    You have mentioned to treat this method ASAP, but I want to know within how many days do I have to treat, using this method to remove an ink stain from upholstery fabric? I have an upholstery fabric that stained over a month ago.

  2. Angela says:

    This worked great; thank you!

  3. Mateo says:

    This worked amazingly well on WHITE upholstery to remove blue ink from a Pilot G2 pen. I was amazed, and grateful. Thank You!

  4. Susan says:

    It really works!!! I was amazed and grateful. Thank you very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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