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How to Get Fountain Pen Ink Off Hands? – 10 Effective Ways

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

how to get fountain pen ink off hands

As fountain ink consists of oil-based dyes, which are insoluble in water, many people find it hard to remove ink from hands.

Although the ink doesn’t affect your health, it makes you look messy and unprofessional, whether you’re at school or at work. Hence, we will provide you with several effective ways on how to get fountain pen ink off hands without using harsh chemicals. Let’s check it out!

Household Methods

1. Different Soap, Shampoo, or Shaving Cream


  • Rinse your hand under warm water and lather your hands with soap. You can use one of the items to get rid of ink on skin.
    • Hand soap, a bar of soap, or Dr.Bronner’s soap with natural ingredients.
    • A combination of dish soap, borax, and water
    • Shampoo for oily hair or shaving cream
  • Rub your hands to create bubbles and see if the foam changes color.
  • Clean excess foam with water and dry your hands with a paper cloth.

2. Dairy Products or Oil-based Ingredients


Step 1: Rub the stains

  • Combine whole milk (or 1 spoonful of butter/vegetable shortening) and white vinegar (or lemon juice) at a 1:1 ratio.

Alternatively, you can utilize several drops of coconut oil, olive oil, or a combination of one part tea tree oil and one part baby oil.

  • Dampen a paper cloth with this mixture, pat it on stains, and let it work for several minutes to remove pen ink from hands without rubbing alcohol.

Step 2: Wash your hands

  • Wipe off oil residue with a clean towel, then wash your hands with soap to remove greasy feelings.
  • If the stains aren’t gone yet, repeat this process.

3. Baking Soda or Non-gel Toothpaste


Step 1: Apply baking soda paste or toothpaste

  • Combine baking soda and water in equal amounts and whisk them until getting a properly thick paste. Spread the mixture on stains to get fountain pen ink off skin
  • If not, you can apply a blob of toothpaste to the ink.

Step 2: Remove stains

  • Massage the stains to get rid of them.
  • Once the ink fades, use warm water and soap to clean the residue from fingers before drying with a cloth.

4. Lemon Juice/White Vinegar


I’d recommend this method for removing light stains without alcohol. For more stubborn ink smears, you’ll have to combine lemon juice/vinegar with other cleaning products, which I’ll go into more detail below.

  • Prepare a small bowl of fresh or bottled lemon juice or vinegar.
  • Damp a cotton ball with this liquid and brush ink stains gently in for several minutes until the stains are gone.
  • Clean your hands as normal.

5. Lemon Juice, Rubbing Alcohol or Toothpaste, Baking Soda, and Vinegar


  • Add juice from half of a lemon, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of isopropyl alcohol to a bowl and mix them well.

Another formula is to combine 2 teaspoons of vinegar, 1 teaspoon of whitening toothpaste, and 1 teaspoon of baking soda for a consistent paste.

  • Apply the mixture to the stain and scrub until the stain goes away.
  • Rinse with water.

Commercial Cleaning Products

1. Bleach

  • Never apply concentrated bleach to your hands for too long since it is quite harsh on your skin. Hence, you should dissolve bleach and water at a 3:1 ratio
  • Dab a bit of mixture into the stains until they are gone.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • To get rid of the bleach smell, wash your hands again with lemon or orange juice.
  • Then, apply lotion to add moisture to your skin.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol or Acetone Products


  • Add a large amount of sanitizer containing 60-90% alcohol to your stains or a towel. Then, rub the stains in circular motions.
  • If you don’t have sanitizer, use rubbing alcohol, hairspray, or acetone-based nail polish remover to get the same result. Dip a cotton ball into this liquid and dab on the oil-based ink.
  • In any case, never use rubbing alcohol products in small areas or near heat sources due to their strong smell and flammable nature.

Ink Removal Products

1. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and Pumice Stone

  • Submerge the sponge in water and squeeze it dry.
  • Scrub it onto stains until they disappear
  • Wash your hands as usual.

2. Pumice Stone


  • Run your hands underwater.
  • Scrub the stains with a pumice stone.
  • Once the blemishes are gone, wash your hands again with soap.

3. Removal Products

Select one of the following products and scrub it onto stains to get pen ink off skin fast.

  • Astonish cream cleaner and Gojo hand cleaner. Be careful when removing ink from hands with the former, as it can be a little harsh.
  • ReDuRan takes ink off skin well, but you’ll have to leave it on the stain for 8 hours.
  • Ensure your hands are dry completely before using Kesto kolor ultra or Amodex. Spread it on the stains and wait for several minutes before rubbing them.
  • When using Fast Orange or lava soap, you just need to follow the manufacturer’s directions to make your hands clean again.


Why is removing fountain pen ink important?

If you don’t clean stains on your furniture, hands, and clothes correctly, they can set in permanently. There’s also a chance that you may transfer the ink stains to other objects. Not to mention that the ink blotches can make you come across as disheveled and unsightly.

In addition, the ink can trigger irritation on sensitive skin.

How hard is it to remove fountain pen ink? And why is it hard?

Whether fountain pen ink stains are hard to remove depends on how long they’ve been there. Generally, the older the stains are, the deeper they’ve set into the surface, making it more challenging to remove the unsightly blemishes.

Another reason that makes removing fountain pen ink difficult is that it contains dyes—an oil-based ingredient. Oil isn’t soluble in water, so just using water usually isn’t enough to wash away the stain from hands and nails.

How to choose the right method for you?

You can try out the methods mentioned above in ascending order in terms of cleaning products’ harshness. First, you can try to use household products to clean them. Then, you can give commercial products a chance, and the last resort is to use ink removal products.

Prevention is better than cure

  • Wear protective gloves while refilling ink to avoid spillages.
  • Check your pen before writing to ensure there is no chance of leakage.
  • Always keep an ink removal product at home to get rid of ink stains as soon as possible.
  • Apply a layer of adherent protective layer on your hands and start writing only when this layer dries.
  • Keep paper in front of your hands while writing.


Ink stains aren’t a nightmare anymore when you know how to get fountain pen ink off hands properly. The “golden period” to remove pen ink from your skin is right after you stain your hands. However, if you miss this point, you can apply the above suggestions.

Fountain ink pen requires a little time and effort to wipe off; therefore, don’t lose your temper if the ink isn’t gone on the first try. You should repeat the process several times to have good results. Good luck to you!

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