How to Remove Ballpoint Ink From Furniture

Written by cynthia measom
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How to Remove Ballpoint Ink From Furniture
Ballpoint pen ink can cause stains on your furniture. (Blue Dot Pen image by Sujit Mahapatra from

Ballpoint ink can end up on your furniture for a variety of reasons. The important thing to focus on, however, is how to safely remove it from the type of furniture you have. According to Heloise, the well-known cleaning tip guru, furniture manufactured after 1970 should have a tag attached with a code indicating the type of cleaning method to use.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Small container
  • 1/2 tsp of isopropyl alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Damp nonabrasive sponge
  • Dry cloth
  • Small container
  • Dry cleaning solvent
  • Clean white cloth

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    Vinyl or Leather

  1. 1

    Pour 1/2 tsp of isopropyl alcohol in a small container.

  2. 2

    Dip a cotton swab into the alcohol, and dab the alcohol on the ink stain. As the cotton becomes saturated with ink, exchange it for a clean cotton swab. Dip the unused cotton swab in the alcohol and dab the stain. Repeat this step until all of the ink is removed.

  3. 3

    Wipe the alcohol and ink residue from the furniture with a damp sponge. Allow it to air dry.

    Fabric Upholstery

  1. 1

    Pour 1 tbsp of dry cleaning solvent into a small container.

  2. 2

    Dip a small portion of a clean, white cloth into the dry cleaning solvent. Sponge the stain with the cloth to break it up. Blot the stain to remove it. Dip clean sections of the cloth in the dry cleaning solvent as other portions become stained with ink.

  3. 3

    Repeat step 2 until the stain is completely gone.

Tips and warnings

  • Check your furniture to see if it has a tag that indicates how it can be safely cleaned. The following codes stand for a particular cleaning method.
  • W: Use water-based cleaning agents
  • S: Use dry cleaning solvents only; no water
  • W-S: Water-based and dry cleaning solvents
  • X-Brushing or vacuuming only
  • If you are unsure of how to clean your furniture, test the cleaning method on a hidden area of the piece before trying to remove the ink.

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