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How To Get Pen Out Of Leather?

Removing ink stains on leather is a tough job. That's why professional cleaning services are available to do the job for you. And there are special products on the market that will work better than your common household cleaners.

But if the above options are unavailable, you can use home remedies such as isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, hairspray, and good old soapy water. There is no guarantee that these remedies will be effective, however, as different brands will work differently on different types of leather.

Before trying to remove ink stains on your leather couch, purse, jacket, or other items, it helps to consider first some of the do's and don'ts of ink removal on leather. You can also follow our step-by-step ink stain removal for the best results and minimal risk of damage.

Do's

Do Treat It Right Away

Tackling the ink stain right away makes a big difference on your stained leather items. Immediately wipe the ink stain off and treat it quickly because time is your enemy. The longer you leave the ink stain on your leather, the harder it will be to remove it.

Do Check The Leather First

Before using any harsh chemicals or cleaning agents, check the type of leather that makes up your leather purse, couch, etc. A leather cleaner or conditioner may work on finished leather but cause damage to unfinished leather, for example. 

Do A Spot Test

Whatever stain remover you decide to use, you must always test it first. Use a cotton swab to apply your cleaning solution to an inconspicuous area of your leather goods. Watch out for any harmful effects and let the leather sit for a few minutes before applying the solution to the visible parts of your leather item.

Do Condition Regularly

Regularly conditioning your beloved leather goods is not only beneficial to keep them shiny and smooth. Doing this forms an effective protective layer on the leather surface so that any future stain will be easier to remove. 

Don'ts

Don't Use Too Much Solvent

Solvents are chemicals that can dissolve other particles. Examples of solvents are alcohol in rubbing alcohol and hairspray, acetone in nail polish remover, and methanol in perfume. When you remove ink from leather, any excess solvent will dissolve leather components and result in damage.

Don't Use Too Much Water

Water is also a solvent that can dissolve almost any material to some degree. As with using too many chemicals, using too much water is also damaging to leather. Don't wipe a soaking wet cloth on your leather item, or you'll end up with water stains and other damages.

Don't Expose It to Sunlight Or Extreme Heat

You may be tempted to dry your leather under the sun or use a hot blow dryer on the damp-stained area. But drying your leather rapidly with high heat makes the leather fibers contract drastically, resulting in uneven texture and eventual cracking. UV rays from the sun also cause damage and discoloration on leather.

Don't Use Rough Scrubs

Avoid scrubbing too hard when cleaning your leather, or you'll make scratches on its surface. Scratches on the leather surface dull its patina and weaken its water resistance and durability. Any ink stain will also seep deeper into a scratched leather surface. 

Remove Pen Ink Stain Step By Step

Removing ink stains from leather is a complicated process, and it can be nerve-racking if it involves an expensive leather couch or designer handbag. Any strong chemical can dissolve pen ink on leather, but it can also damage leather. Below is our ultimate step-by-step guide to removing ink stains without harming your leather items.

Step 1. Wipe Off Excess Ink And Dirt

Wiping the stained area immediately is necessary to remove the excess ink and any dirt or debris on the leather surface. If you don't remove the excess ink, you allow it to seep deeper into the leather. Any dirt and debris on the leather surface will also prevent any cleaning method or materials you might use.

Using a dry paper towel, blot the stain to remove any wet ink on the leather surface. Be careful to dab and not smudge the ink, or you'll only worsen the stain. After wiping the stain dry, use a damp paper towel to wipe off any dust, dirt, or debris, then wipe it dry again.

Step 2. Clean With Soapy Water

Cleaning your stained leather with soap and water is always the best place to start. This method is mild on most types of leather but effective in removing minor stains, grime, and even bad smell. You can use any mild liquid soap like Ivory or Dove, a naturally moisturizing soap like Castille soap, or a special leather cleaner called a saddle soap if you can get your hands on one.

Mix some soap in clean, preferably distilled, water until bubbles form. Dip a clean cloth into this soap and water solution, making sure you use an un-dyed lint-free cloth; a microfiber cloth is preferable. Gently rub the soapy cloth on your leather in a circular motion to remove ink stains. Rinse the soap off by wiping with damp cloth repeatedly and drying with a dry paper towel after.

Step 3. Use Stain Removers

If soap and water can't completely remove ink from your leather, you can use a stronger solvent like rubbing alcohol or acetone-based products to do the job. Solvents remove ink stains by breaking down ink components, but they can also dissolve the oil that makes the leather surface smooth, shiny, and durable.

To use these solvents, wet a cotton ball or cotton swab with your chosen solvent and lightly rub on the stained area. Use a large cotton ball for larger stains and a cotton swab for smaller stains. By doing so, you prevent exposing more leather surface to the harmful effects of these solvents.

Step 4. Wipe Off And Dry

The soaps and solvents you used to remove ink from leather will leave a residue that, if allowed to build up, will end up ruining your leather. Soap film, even from the mildest leather cleaner, will dry up and cause cracks on the leather. Don't be surprised if you see cracked and discolored spots on your leather couch a few days after treating it with soap or rubbing alcohol.

Rinse off soaps and residue from the treated stain repeatedly by dabbing with a damp cloth towel. Next, dry the damp area completely by blotting with dry paper towels. Even when wiped dry, the dampened area still retains a little water, so you must let the leather air dry for a few hours to up to a day before the next step.

Step 5. Condition The Leather

Stains or no stains, you should condition your beloved leather products on a regular basis. Conditioning after removing ink stains is critical because it restores the oils removed by cleaning materials. A leather conditioner maintains a leather's shiny and smooth texture and protects it from further damage.

You can buy one of the many commercial brands of leather conditioner out there, but you can also use any wax or natural oil like olive oil. Using a clean, lint-free, and dry cloth, wipe a thin layer of the conditioner on the clean and dry leather surface. Add another coat of conditioner if you feel the leather has remaining dryness, or wipe off the excess if you think you've added too much.

Step 6. Store It Properly

Let the cleaned and conditioned leather air dry for it to rest and absorb the leather conditioner completely. Refrain from using your leather furniture or bag for the meantime. It's also essential that you keep your leather items away from humidity or extreme heat during this time.

Easy Does It!

Removing stains becomes a complicated process when the stained items are as sensitive as leather. Removing ink stains from leather is easy if you keep in mind the do's and don'ts and our foolproof method for stain removal.

If you want to own leather that's easy to manage in terms of stain removal, check out our water-resistant, durable, and high-quality products here.

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