How to clean biro off leather

Updated February 21, 2017

Leather, whether it's on a couch or comprises your favourite purse, is considered a luxury item. It smells wonderful and its unique appearance is hard to duplicate. It's no wonder that an ink stain, also known as a biro stain in some parts of the world, is cause for panic. Luckily, an ink stain does not spell the end for your favourite piece of leather. On the contrary, you can quickly remove the stain with rubbing alcohol.

Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and test a small area of the leather. Rubbing alcohol should be safe to use on your leather in almost every situation. In a small percentage of cases, rubbing alcohol can remove colour. You should use the cotton swab to test the results on an area of the leather that is not usually visible (i.e. the back of your couch).

Dip the tip of your towel in the rubbing alcohol and rub the towel against the ink stain in circular motions. Apply medium pressure to the leather. The rubbing alcohol should eat away at the ink without much effort.

Wipe away the excess rubbing alcohol with your towel once the ink stain has been completely removed.


You should use leather protection cream on all your leather furniture and accessories to keep them resistant against stains and dirt. This will help prevent damage to what is probably an expensive leather item.


Hire a professional to clean your leather if you notice the rubbing alcohol causes your leather to fade. Continuing to work with the rubbing alcohol in this situation may cause extensive damage to your leather.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean towel
  • Cotton swab
  • Rubbing alcohol
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About the Author

David Montoya is an attorney who graduated from the UCLA School of Law. He also holds a Master of Arts in American Indian studies. Montoya's writings often cover legal topics such as contract law, estate law, family law and business.