How to remove ink from a fabric car seat

Written by cynthia measom
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How to remove ink from a fabric car seat
Ballpoint pens sometimes "spring a leak" and cause ink stains. (ball-pen image by Henryk Olszewski from

Ink pens are well known for breaking and leaking onto clothes and upholstery and creating quite a mess. Perhaps you had a pen stowed in your trousers pocket and broke it when you sat down, creating a mess on your car seat. While these type of stains are best dealt with when fresh, in many instances you can successfully remove even an old stain with a bit of effort and the right cleaning products.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Non-abrasive sponge
  • Small containers
  • Mild liquid dish washing detergent
  • Clean white towels
  • Isopropyl rubbing alcohol

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    Method 1

  1. 1

    Dampen a non-abrasive sponge in cool water and wipe the ink-stained area. Add a drop of mild liquid dish detergent to a small dish containing 236ml. of clean, cool water.

  2. 2

    Dip the sponge in the soap and water solution and sponge the ink stain. Rinse out the sponge in clean water and sponge water onto the stain to rinse.

  3. 3

    Blot dry with a clean towel.

    Method 2

  1. 1

    Pour one to capfuls of undiluted isopropyl into a small bowl and dip a section of clean, white towel in the alcohol.

  2. 2

    Blot the ink stain with the alcohol soaked section of the towel from the outside edges to the centre to clean.

  3. 3

    Blot the stain thoroughly with a dry portion of the towel to keep the stain from spreading.

Tips and warnings

  • Acetone or turpentine can be substituted for the rubbing alcohol in Section 2.
  • If you are using anything other than soap or water, ensure that the chemical is safe to use on your car seat fabric. Apply a small amount of the chemical or solvent to an inconspicuous area of the fabric and blot with a clean white towel. If you see any fabric dye transfer on the towel, you shouldn't use the solvent as it may damage your seats.

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