Maybe you invested in a leather chair because you liked the look, or did you buy that leather lounger because you were told that “leather is way easier to clean!”
If you are the latter, you may be feeling a little lied to right now. Yes, for spills and food leather is a wipe-clean wonder!
But the same cannot be said for ink.
We have all been there, a pen bursts in your bag, or you let your child get artistically expressive on your shiny, new leather sofa. The aftermath can look like an uncleanable disaster, like nothing in the world could fix those black blotches.
Thankfully, this isn’t the case. There are several cleaning methods you can use to attack the inky disaster.
And the sooner you can do it, the better. Let’s crack on.
- Before you begin, there are some things you need to know.
- The Best Ways to Get Ink Stains out of Leather Seats:
- Leather Stain Remover
- Method 1: Soap
- Method 2: Hairspray
- Method 3: Rubbing Alcohol
- Method 4: Nail Polish Remover
- Method 5: Brake Parts Cleaner
- Aftercare For Your Leather Seats
- How to Remove Ink Stains from Faux Leather
- To Summarize
There may be affiliate links in this article. You can read more about this in my disclosure.
Before you begin, there are some things you need to know.
Leather is a special kind of material, that needs to be treated with care. Leather comes in many different kinds of types and finishes, but the main thing you need to identify is whether you have finished or unfinished leather.
Most commercial sofas and chairs will be made with finished leather, and hopefully, yours did too. This kind of leather has a protective layer on top, making it less porous, and therefore less likely to soak up any spills.
To check if your seat is finished leather or not, drop a small amount of water on it. If the leather is finished, the water will roll off. However, if the water soaks in, you have unfinished leather.
Unfinished leather is a less practical choice, but it can be seen as the more fashionable one.
It doesn’t have a protective coating, and as such, it laps up any accidents. It’s a much less forgiving material and needs even more care.
This article will explain the best methods for cleaning both kinds of leather. All of the methods are safe to use on finished leather, and a few can be attempted on unfinished leather.
The Best Ways to Get Ink Stains out of Leather Seats:
Okay, let’s start with the obvious. Leather cleaners are made specifically for – you guessed it – leather.
These products will be less likely to cause damage and can be the most effective at removing any kind of stain. If possible, purchase a cleaner that mentions the removal of ink marks.
There are products made for both finished and unfinished leather, so shop around and choose the one that suits your needs best. If you happen to have some in your house or want to invest in one, this is the safest bet.
However, ink stains are best treated immediately, so check your cupboards and see if you have any of the following products.
Here are 5 time-tested home remedy methods to remove ink stains from leather seats.
Method 1: Soap
This method is a simple one but can be effective at removing stains. This method is great as it is unlikely to cause damage, and you’ll be sure to have some in your kitchen.
First, dab the stain with a dry paper towel to absorb any excess ink. Try not to spread the stain around, be precise where you dab.
Then simply drop a little soap onto the stain, and dab it with a dry rag or paper towel. Repeat these steps until the ink is lifted.
A moisturizing soap works best for this method, as it won’t dry out the leather and lead to cracks, and saves the need to use a leather conditioner after. There are more aggressive methods to try, so don’t worry if this didn’t work for you.
Method 2: Hairspray
This cheap and widely used product doesn’t only keep your flyaways in place but can do a great job at removing ink stains from leather.
Before you try this method, spray a small amount on a hidden area of the chair as a test patch to check that it doesn’t react adversely with your kind of leather.
Follow these steps to use hairspray to remove ink stains from leather seats:
- Spray and saturate the stain with hairspray.
- Rub away the residue with a rag or a paper towel, without spreading it further.
- If the stain remains, coat the stain with hairspray again, and add a drop of dishwashing soap.
- Rub with your fingers and wipe clean with a wet rag.
Follow up with a leather conditioner to protect the leather.
Method 3: Rubbing Alcohol
This method is a firm favorite for many kinds of stain removal. Rubbing alcohol is an extremely potent product that yields instant results.
But be careful, and wear gloves if possible when using this method. Check the product warning label for further precautions to take.
Grab a piece of cotton wool (can be a cotton ball, cotton round, or Q-tip), and soak up some rubbing alcohol. Gently rub the affected area, using a circular motion, for a few minutes.
The ink stain should gradually disappear as the ink transfers to the cotton. Use a new piece of alcohol-coated cotton if needed.
As with all the methods, treat with a leather conditioner to re-moisten the leather.
Method 4: Nail Polish Remover
I know what you’re thinking, more beauty products? Really?
Luckily for you, the crazy range of chemicals in our household beauty products can be top-notch at cleaning. Check that you’re using an acetone-based nail polish remover, and let’s begin.
Grab some cotton wool, apply some nail polish remover, and carefully rub the ink stain.
Afterward, wipe with a damp cloth. Repeat this process with some new cotton wool, and hopefully, your ink should be running scared from your leather seats.
Use a leather conditioner afterward if it appears dry or cracked
Method 5: Brake Parts Cleaner
Perhaps your bathroom isn’t so laden with beauty products, but your tool shed is. This solvent is strong and can tackle even the oldest and most saturated stain.
Make sure you’re not using a brake part cleaner than lathers into a foam. Similarly as before, apply some of the liquid to a piece of cotton wool or Q-tip and rub the stain.
Wipe clean with a cloth and repeat.
Aftercare For Your Leather Seats
Hopefully, your leather seat has been restored to its former glory, and your eye-catching ink stain has disappeared. But all of these stain-tackling chemicals can be damaging and drying to your leather.
Dry leather tends to split and crack, so it’s important to use a leather treatment.
Leather conditioners also help protect them from stains in the future, so next time a pen decides to combust in your car, it won’t be as difficult to remove.
How to Remove Ink Stains from Faux Leather
If you’ve been reading along, wondering if all of this information applies to faux leather, or whether faux leather will be an even bigger challenge, you’re in luck.
Faux leather is non-porous, meaning the ink will not be absorbed. Instead, it clings to the faux leather and sits on the surface.
So, the ink stain will probably be much easier to remove, hurray!
The rubbing alcohol and hairspray methods can be attempted on faux leather. But you can use something even simpler and more gentle, baby wipes.
Baby wipes contain mild cleaning agents and moisturizer, doing 2 jobs in 1! This method is most effective on fresh ink stains, and all you need is a few baby wipes and a microfiber cloth.
Start by firmly pressing on the stain with a baby wipe. Continue doing this until the stain is no longer visible.
Finish by removing any excess moisture by wiping the area with a microfiber cloth.
Ink stains can be dramatic, and can cause serious damage, even to leather. We have all been there, optimistically wiping a black blotch of pen ink from a leather sofa or car seat,
only to quickly realize its removal won’t be that simple. The methods discussed are the best out there for tackling your inky enemies without breaking the bank.
Just a little TLC and elbow grease and you should reign victorious over those stains.
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API