How to Remove Ballpoint Pen Ink From Leather

Updated February 21, 2017

Forgetting an ink pen in your jacket or trousers pocket is an all too common occurrence. All it takes is one loose cap and the ink can leak onto the item you're wearing or the furniture you are sitting on. Since leather is such a popular choice for jackets, furniture coverings and automobile interiors, it's often at risk for staining. When cleaning leather, you must be careful not to damage or weaken the fabric. You can remove ballpoint pen ink from leather using a homemade remedy.

Blot the area with a paper towel to remove any wet ink. Do not rub or you will smear the ink onto more of the leather surface.

Spray foam shaving cream onto the ink-stained area. Do not use gel shaving cream. Allow the shaving cream to sit for 15 minutes.

Blot up the shaving cream with a paper towel.

Pour 1/4 cup white vinegar into a quart-size spray bottle and fill the remainder of the bottle with cool water. Shake the bottle to mix the contents.

Spray the cleaning solution on the leather and wipe with a soft cloth. Rinse the area with cool water and a sponge.


It is always a good idea to apply a leather conditioner to leather items after cleaning them. If the shaving cream does not lift the ink, you can try denatured alcohol instead.


Test the shaving cream on an inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying it to the ink stain.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towel
  • Foam shaving cream
  • White vinegar
  • Quart-size spray bottle
  • Soft cloth
  • Sponge
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About the Author

Kaye Morris has over four years of technical writing experience as a curriculum design specialist and is a published fiction author. She has over 20 years of real estate development experience and received her Bachelor of Science in accounting from McNeese State University along with minors in programming and English.