How to Remove Ink Stains from Leather Upholstery


Shashi asked: How do I clean ballpoint ink stains from leather chairs?

Ink and leather do not make a pleasant combination. Though these stains can be difficult to remove, it’s definitely worth the effort to save the furniture piece from a trip to the dump! Here are several methods you can try to remove the ink.

You Will Need:

Steps to Remove Ink Stains:

  1. Start by applying a leather cleaner such as Tannery Vintage Leather Cleaner and Conditioner. Follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.
  2. After the stain is removed, allow the area to dry completely.
  3. If necessary, apply a conditioner to the area to keep the leather supple.
  4. If the leather is smooth, you can also try rubbing alcohol to remove the ink.
  5. Moisten a small part of a soft white cloth with the rubbing alcohol and gently blot at the stain. As you are blotting, you should notice the ink transferring to the cloth.
  6. Work from the outside of the stained area towards the center and switch to a new section of cloth frequently to keep from spreading the stain.
  7. Allow the area to dry.
  8. Older stains may take several applications to be removed completely.
  9. When finished, condition the leather to keep it from drying out.

Additional Tips and Ideas

  • If the piece is valuable and you don’t want to risk damaging it, consult a professional who is experienced in removing stains from leather.
  • Stains on leather can sometimes be erased away. However, use this method sparingly and with caution. When erasing, a layer of the leather will be removed and may result in a weakened area that may lead to a hole.
  • There is a product called LTT Ink Stick that is designed to remove ink from leather.
  • Don’t procrastinate! Fresher ink stains are much easier to remove. As the ink sets on the leather the dyes will soak into the leather and be much more difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

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