How to Remove Ballpoint Ink From Furniture

Updated February 21, 2017

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.

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

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.

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

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

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.

Repeat step 2 until the stain is completely gone.


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.

Things You'll 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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About the Author

Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.