Tips on How to Remove Ink and Pen Stains From Leather

by Albert Varkki updated 08-03-2023

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Ink stains on leather can be detrimental whether it’s from a from a biro left in in your purse, jacket pocket or any other source. In this article we’ll highlight the steps you should take when you find a pen or ink stain on your real leather couch, car seat, wallet, shoes or any other genuine leather items. The first thing you should do is:

  1. Check if your leather is naked or finished

If the stain is on naked leather, it will be really tricky to remove without professional help. If the leather is finished, you have a chance of removing the stain with the steps below. To determine which type you’re working with, place a drop of water on the surface. If it soaks in, that’s unfinished. If the drop stays on the surface, then it’s finished leather.

  1. Spot test

Before committing to any of the following solutions, it’s always best to try a spot test on a tiny area. The first solution you should try is:

  1. Use a soap-based cleanser

The packaging of any cleaning product will tell you if it’s a solvent-based cleanser or not. You need a soap-based cleanser for leather as it’s softer. Don't use solvent-based cleansers as these are too harsh and may cause damage. Grab a cloth that is lightly dampened with the cleanser and try to gently rub away the stain.

  1. Try an Ink Stick

Ink Sticks are typically what a professional might use to remove tough stains on leather bags and even some forms of faux leather. You might need to shop online if you can't find a specialist leather store near you that stocks them. The sticks will come with clear instructions individual to each brand or design.

  1. Try Saddle soap

If none of the above has worked, you can try Saddle soap. Saddle soap is usually a concoction of various soaps and agents like glycerin and lanolin. It’s used as a cleaner and conditioner for hard wearing leather items like horse saddles. A light coat of this solution should be enough to reduce the stain significantly. You can then continue to apply it regularly to keep the leather protected.

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Author: Albert Varkki

Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you.

We always aim to have the highest editorial standards, and only publish accurate information on our website.

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