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How to Remove Pen Ink From Surfaces in Seconds

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

how to remove pen ink from surfaces

Are you tired of those stubborn pen ink stains on various surfaces? Whether it’s on clothing, furniture, or walls, learning how to remove pen ink from surfaces can be a lifesaver.

From simple household remedies to specialized products, we’ve got you covered with the knowledge you need to say goodbye to pen ink stains and restore the beauty of your belongings.

Dive in to learn more about useful ways to get rid of pen stains and tips to avoid them.

Ways to Remove Pen Ink From Surfaces


1. Natural remedies

Natural hacks to erase pen ink from surfaces include using baking soda, milk, and vinegar.

<strong>For Wood surfaces</strong>

Step 1: Apply baking soda to the ink stain area.


  • Mix baking soda and water to create a paste with a thick consistency.
  • Apply the paste to the ink stain on the furniture using a clean cloth, sponge, or your hands.
  • Gently rub the paste into the stain. Be careful not to apply too much pressure that could damage the surface.
  • Let the paste sit on the stain for about 10-15 minutes.

Step 2: Clean the area


  • Dampen a clean cloth with water and wipe away the paste.
  • If any ink stain remains, repeat the process.
  • Once the stain is removed, wipe the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residue from the paste. Let the wood surface dry.

Note: Baking soda can remove ink stains from white table without damaging the surface.


Step 1: Prepare a milk solution


Pour a small amount of milk into a bowl. You can use regular whole milk or any milk you have available.

Step 2: Soak the stain


  • Dip the stained area of the clothing into the bowl of milk. Make sure the ink stain is fully submerged in the liquid.
  • Allow the milk to sit on the ink stain for 5-10 minutes.
  • Rinse the stained area, launder the clothing, and let it air dry.
<strong>For Walls</strong>

Step 1: Prepare the vinegar solution


Dip a cloth or sponge into vinegar. Alternatively, you can spray the solution directly onto the ink stain.

Step 2: Wipe the ink stain


  • Dab the cloth or sponge onto the ink stain on the wall. Avoid scrubbing too vigorously, as it may damage the paint.
  • After allowing the vinegar solution to penetrate the ink stain, use a cloth or sponge to wipe the stain gently.
  • For stubborn or older marks, you may need to repeat the process a few times to remove the stain completely.

2. Chemical remedies

<strong>For Clothing</strong>

Step 1: Apply rubbing alcohol to the ink stains


  • Blot the ink stain gently with a clean cloth or paper towel to remove excess ink.
  • Moisten a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol.
  • Dab the ink stain with the alcohol-soaked cotton ball, working from the outside of the stain towards the center. Avoid rubbing, as it may spread the ink.

Step 2: Rinse and wash your clothes


  • Allow the alcohol to sit on the stain for a few minutes.
  • Rinse the fabric under cold water to remove the ink and any residue.
  • Launder and dry the clothing as usual, following the care instructions.
<strong>For Plastic</strong>
  • Using Magic Erasers


  • Wet a Magic Eraser sponge with water and squeeze out the excess moisture.
  • Gently dab the Magic Eraser on the pen ink stain with light pressure.
  • Clean the surface to remove any residue from the Magic Eraser, then let it dry.
  • Using toothpaste


  • Apply a small amount of toothpaste onto a cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Gently rub the toothpaste onto the ink stain using circular motions.
  • Continue rubbing for a few minutes, then rinse the plastic surface to remove the toothpaste and any loosened ink.

Related: Steps to remove dry erase marker from plastic

<strong>For Walls</strong>
  • Using hair spray

Step 1: Spray the ink stain


  • Apply a generous amount of hair spray directly onto the ink stain.
  • Allow the hair spray to sit on the ink stain for a few seconds or a few minutes if you have old ink stains.

Step 2: Blot or wipe the stain


  • Take a clean cloth or piece of cotton and gently blot or wipe the ink stain.
  • Use a dry cloth or towel to pat the wall dry.
  • Using nail polish remover


  • Moisten the cotton ball or cloth with a small amount of nail polish remover. Make sure it is not dripping wet.
  • Blot the ink stain on the wall with the nail polish remover-soaked cotton ball. You’ll see the ink transferring onto the cotton ball or cloth.
  • Dampen a cloth with water and gently wipe the treated area to remove any residue.

Related: Detailed guide on removing dry erase marker from walls

<strong>For Wood surfaces</strong>

Step 1: Prepare a cleaning solution


Fill a small bowl or bucket with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap. Mix the solution until it forms a soapy mixture.

Step 2: Blot the stain


  • Take a cotton ball and dip it into the soapy water solution.
  • Begin blotting the ink stain on the wood surface with the cotton ball.
  • Dip a clean cloth into the solution and bolt the ink stain area until you get ink off a table.

Additional Tips and Precautions


1. Blotting Versus Rubbing

  • Instead of rubbing the ink stain, it’s better to blot or dab it gently. Rubbing can spread the ink and push it deeper into the material, making it more difficult to remove.
  • Besides, it can damage the surface of furniture or walls.
  • Blotting with a paper towel helps to absorb the ink without causing further damage.

2. Avoiding Harsh Chemicals

  • Various household items and commercial products can help remove ink stains from hard surfaces. However, it’s best to avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the surface.
  • Before using any cleaning agent, test it on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure it doesn’t cause discoloration or harm to the material.

3. Prevention Tips

  • Promptly address ink stains: The longer the ink sits on a surface, the more difficult it can be to remove. Prompt action can help prevent the ink from setting or spreading further.
  • Store pens properly: Store pens upright with their caps securely closed. It prevents ink from leaking or drying out, which could lead to messy accidents.
  • Keep surfaces clean: Regularly clean the surfaces where you write or work with pens. Removing dust, dirt, and previous ink residue reduces the chances of stains forming and makes it easier to clean ink off.


In conclusion, knowing how to remove pen ink from surfaces is essential for maintaining the cleanliness and appearance of various materials.

By applying effective methods for pen mark removal, such as natural remedies and chemical products, you can easily remove ink stains from plastic, fabrics, wood, and other surfaces.

DIY tips aside, prevention is key. Using protective covers, storing pens properly, and keeping writing surfaces clean can help minimize the occurrence of ink stains.

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