How can I remove ballpoint pen ink from leather? My 3-year-old niece wrote all over the family room sofa. It’s cream-colored leather and the ink is blue.
Estella Nadeau, Harrisonburg, VA
If there are a lot of ink marks, you might want a professional cleaner to take a look at your sofa. Otherwise, I can give you a tip on the best way to remove ballpoint pen ink from leather or to remove ballpoint ink from clothing and carpet. You can use a simple product most people have at home. We covered it in an article about getting ink out of clothes before.
That product is plain old rubbing alcohol that probably resides in your medicine cabinet. It takes care of a variety of stains on many fabrics and can dissolve ink, even on leather. Of course, solvents like alcohol may also remove the dye in your leather. But since your couch is a light color, you might be in luck.
As an added bonus, alcohol can also be used to get Super Glue off leather, in addition to a variety of other sticky substances. When using any cleaner on leather, be sure to test a small inconspicuous spot first to ensure that you don’t damage the material while removing a stain.
Soak a cotton ball in alcohol and use it to massage the ink stain with circular motions, trying to just work on the stain rather than the surrounding area. It shouldn’t take long to see if it works to remove pen from leather. When your cotton fills with ink, replace it with a clean one until you have no more staining left.
Once the ink is gone, it’s important to treat the spot with a homemade leather cleaner and conditioner. The alcohol will dry out the leather just like it would your own skin.
Now if you want to give your sofa an all-over cleaning, try this recipe. Mix a quarter cup of white vinegar with half a cup of olive oil. Use that to wipe down the leather. You can also let it sit for a few minutes on stains before you remove it. Then afterward, apply leather conditioner.
Finally, for more information on cleaning stains on leather, this article can help: https://www.tipsbulletin.com/how-to-clean-leather-with-simple-homemade-leather-cleaning-recipes/
If you don’t have leather conditioner on hand, you can make your own at home. The article I mentioned above will tell you how.
In conclusion, I hope this helps you restore your sofa to its original creamy color.