Ink on Leather

How to Remove Ink from Leather

           ( Updated for August 2022)

Taking care of leather furniture is a unique task, one that is both enjoyable and sometimes challenging. Leather is a soft, reactive fabric, making it more susceptible to stains. If you notice an ink stain on your leather couch from recent office work, homework, or a broken pen in a pocket, don’t despair. You can remove ink from leather by responding quickly and knowing the right methods.

Here at Steamatic of Red River Valley, we know all about furniture rescues. We’ve done more than a few leather ink removals because old ink stains can be tough. But you can often remove a fresh ink stain from your leather upholstery (or clothing) at home with alternative methods such as the careful application of rubbing alcohol.

Steamatic of Red River Valley’s Guide to Removing Ink Stains from Leather

Removing Ink from Leather with Rubbing Alcohol

Ink stain removal from leather can be challenging because ink requires a solvent to break down. There are many commercial inks, so you can’t always know what kind of solvent you will need. This is why there are several ways to remove ink from leather. However, the most universally successful method is rubbing alcohol. Be careful; once you start to break down the ink, you want to focus on removing the ink stain without spreading it to nearby sections of the leather.

Remember to test a small, invisible section of your leather with any cleaning solution just in case.


  • White Clean Cloth
  • Cotton Swabs or Cotton Balls
  • Rubbing Alcohol (90% Isopropyl Alcohol)
  • Small Bowl
  • Start by dabbing the ink stain to remove any excess ink if the stain is very fresh. A white cloth or paper towel is best to avoid any risk of color transfer to the leather.

Soak a cotton ball or swab in rubbing alcohol and gently dab the ink spot. Always wipe from the outside of the stain inward to avoid spreading the ink as it dissolves. Try to dissolve and immediately soak up the ink with your cotton balls or swabs.

Repeat this cleaning method until the ink stain is fully removed. Should you prefer, our professional technicians are on stand-by.

Alternative Methods to Remove Ink Stains from Leather

  • Removing Ink from Leather with Vinegar: Another popular solvent for commercial inks is vinegar. Mix warm water and vinegar 1:1 and use a damp cloth with the dabbing method we just described to saturate the ink and immediately pull it up from your leather furniture.
  • Removing Ink from Leather with Soapy Water: With warm water, dampen your white, dye-free clean cloth (no dye). Then apply a few drops of mild liquid dish soap and blot the ink stain. You can scrub lightly but watch to avoid the ink’s spread as it begins to dissolve, but remember that professional cleaning offers much better results.
  • Removing Ink from Leather with a Magic Erase: The “Magic Eraser” has been found to be useful in a number of scenarios. The solvent inside is both mild and often works on ink. Damp one corner of a magic eraser and test it on an invisible part of your leather furniture before testing it on the ink stain.
  • Don’t Believe the Hairspray Myth: Hairspray has an alcohol base and is sometimes used as a stain remover. However, the other ingredients in hairspray often damage leather, so this method is absolutely not recommended. If rubbing alcohol does not work, hairspray won’t either and is riskier for your leather. For your safest option, give Steamatic of Red River Valley a call.

Moisturize Your Leather After Treatment

Once you have removed the stain or tried a treatment that did not fully work, always remember to re-moisturize and protect your leather with a leather conditioner. Most solvents, like rubbing alcohol, are drying agents, making the leather more likely to crack if treated and left alone. A little leather conditioner care goes a long way, both in the longevity of your furniture and in resisting future stains.

Our team is ready to help you save your leather couch with our ink stain removal and leather conditioner treatments. Leaving you with the renewed couch you know and love stain free and as smooth as before.

Why Choose Steamatic for Furniture Cleaning in Red River Valley?

Steamatic of Red River Valley has provided dedicated upholstery and furniture cleaning to the Red River Valley communities with the highest standard of care. Our team has tackled some serious stains, repairs, and cleaning tasks, from pet stains to ink stains and everything in between, so we have your back on knowing how to remove those ink stains from leather. You’ve found the right team; no matter what kind of interior fabric, you need to be cleaned or stain treated and restored. Our attention to detail and consideration for the health and beauty of your home will have your beautiful household fabrics fresh and stain-free in no time at all.

Professional Furniture Cleaning Services in Grand Forks & Fargo

You can count on Steamatic of Red River Valley for professional furniture cleaning and stain removal services. We are more than happy to help you remove ink stains  from your leather couch. Grand Forks & Fargo residents can find us locally or contact us online to schedule your upholstery cleaning services.




Grand Forks: 701-746-1856
Fargo: 701-232-4707

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Image Credit: ShutterStock/PuhaDorin

Roxanne Hagen
Roxanne Hagen
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Kevin Cooper
Great job cleaning up the ductwork in our home! Great job cleaning up the ductwork in our home!
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Penny Abar
Rug looked brand new!!
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Tammy Hruby
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Bonnie Nerby
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Virginia Pantzer
Steamatic was over-the-top helpful to us. Their restoration service of the "family home" after the death of the owner was done quickly and thoroughly. From the first phone call until the finished product, they were kind, helpful and they were able to do the work before the estimated time. Special thanks to Dalton and the person who answered the phone. STEAMATIC will always have our business!!!
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Robert Clayburgh
Head two high quality wool oriental rugs cleaned. They did a great job, very prompt, and returned them wrapped in plastic per request for storage for a few months. Very professional service.
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Todd M
Alex was truly outstanding in the performance of my carpet cleaning. On time, even in a snowstorm, his vast knowledge and professionalism are equally matched by his warm, friendly demeanor and uncompromising attention to the finest detail. Alex should be commended as a pillar of the industry. I highly recommend and would not hesitate to use the service again in the future.