Treating ink stains on leather

pexels-photo-356407If the ink hasn’t soaked deeply into the leather or if it is not caused by permanent markers, you may have success cleaning the spot yourself. Otherwise, you will have to call a professional cleaner or re-dye the leather.

Treat the ink stain as soon as you notice it before it penetrates into the porous leather. For older stains you probably will have to repeat treatment.

To clean ink spots left by ballpoint pens or felt tip markers follow some of the below mentioned ways for removing ink stains from leather:

–       using a soap-based cleaner (not a solvent-based one)

With a soap-based cleaner and gentle treatment, you may be able to pull up some of the stain. Do not use solvent-based cleaners as they may remove the color or the finish of the leather.

–       using rubbing alcohol

Dampen a white cotton cloth with isopropyl alcohol. Blot from the outside in until the moisture is absorbed. Keep the work area small to prevent spreading of the ink and continue blotting with dampening a clean area of the cloth. Keep blotting until the ink is gone. Let the stained area dry and repeat treatment if needed. Be sure to couple this approach with leather cleaner and conditioner afterward

–       using commercial ink removers or ink sticks designed for use with leather

Although these can be pricey, they are worth it.

–       using leather cleaner and conditioner

Like saddle soap, these products help both clean the leather and hydrate it, helping to stave off cracking.


Before treating any ink stains on your leather upholstery do not forget to test your solution in an inconspicuous area first to see if it causes damage or discoloration to the topcoat.

Avoid using abrasive erasers, as they can remove a layer of the leather not only the ink stain.

To make cleaning easier, regularly apply a leather protectant.

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