How to get ink off varnished wood

Ink stains are a type of combination stain, leaving an unsightly mark on your varnished wood surface. Most ink stain removal processes suggest the use of alcohol-based products, but this can damage your varnished wood surface by removing the varnish, as well as the ink stain. Remove ink stains from your varnished wood surface safely without stripping the varnish.

Squirt spray lubricant directly onto the ink stain. Cover the stain with cling film and allow it to sit for five minutes.

Remove the cling film and wipe the varnished surface with a clean, dry cloth.

Combine one capful of saddle soap with 1/2 bucket of warm water. Soak a clean cloth in the soapy solution, then wring out the excess. Scrub the site of the ink stain on your varnished wood surface to remove the spray lubricant as well as any remaining ink stain.

Polish your varnished wood surface with a nickel-sized amount of wood polish on a clean cloth. Buff the polish into the surface to restore shine.


Avoid tackling an ink stain on varnished wood with hairspray, even though it's often recommended for removing ink. Most hairsprays contain alcohol.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray lubricant
  • Cling film
  • Clean cloths
  • Saddle soap
  • Bucket
  • Wood polish
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.