How to Get Ink Out of Upholstery

Updated April 17, 2017

Ink stains can turn a couch or other upholstered item into an eyesore. Generally, an ink stain occurs on upholstered items when an individual sits down with a pen inside a trousers pocket and it breaks or a child creates the stain by drawing on the fabric. Ink stains can be daunting--but fortunately not impossible--to remove from upholstery.

Fill a small dish with rubbing alcohol.

Put on a pair of rubber gloves to prevent ink staining your fingers.

Dip a cotton ball into the rubbing alcohol and squeeze out the excess.

Dab the ink stain lightly a few times. Take a paper towel and gently blot the stain to remove the ink.

Discard the cotton ball and paper towel. Wipe off the fingertips of the gloves to remove any diluted ink.

Repeat the above steps until the ink is completely out of the upholstery.


Contact the manufacturer by telephone for ink stain removal tips. The company may sell a product that is specific for treating stains on upholstery items. Look for a company name on the upholstered item's tag and type it into your search engine. Click on the company's website link and scroll down to find a "contact us" or other similar link to find the proper telephone number. Use a chemical-free spray bottle to disperse rubbing alcohol if you do not have cotton balls on hand. Fill the bottle with ΒΌ cup. Spray the ink stained area once or twice and blot gently with a paper towel. Act very quickly to remove ink stains. Older stains are much more difficult to remove than fresh ink. Hairspray can also be used in place of rubbing alcohol to treat ink stains on upholstered furniture.


Ensure that you use a new cotton ball and paper towel after dabbing the upholstery stain or stains a few times. Paper towels and cotton balls that are saturated with ink may redistribute back onto the upholstery. Do not use bleach or peroxide to remove ink stains from upholstery. Bleach or peroxide may damage the fabric or remove the colouring. Never rub the ink stains. Doing so will only spread the ink. Only blot the upholstery.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottle of rubbing alcohol
  • Rubber gloves
  • Paper towels
  • Cotton balls
  • Small dish
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About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Jayme Lee has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles have appeared for various online publishers and through private clients. She dual-majored in social studies education and business administration with a minor in history at the University of Pittsburgh and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.