Ballpoint Ink Stain Removal Guide
Removing Pen Stains

Below are tips and techniques for ballpoint ink stain removal so you can remove pen stains from clothing, upholstery, carpet, and your skin with these step by step instructions.

Ballpoint ink stain removal guide for clothing, upholstery, carpet and more {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

You can get these stains and spots on all kinds of surfaces in all kinds of ways. One of the most common for me is to accidentally drop the pen and have it make a stray mark on my pants, or the couch I am sitting on.

Of course, you could also have a mischevious (but I'm sure loveable) child who decides to mark all over themselves, their clothes, the wall, and everything else in your house when they find that stray pen laying around.

Ballpoint ink stain removal guide for clothing, upholstery, carpet and more {on Stain Removal 101}use this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Here's how to get rid of these marks from various surfaces.

Ballpoint Ink Stain Removal From Clothing And Washable Fabric

Step 1: Take a clean white cloth and sponge the mark with a dry cleaning solvent.

Step 2: Blot at the stain until the solvent is absorbed.

Step 3: Repeat steps 1-2 until the ballpoint ink is removed, or stops bleeding and no more is being removed with the solvent.

Step 4: Rinse the fabric completely.

Step 5: Next, do the same thing as steps 1-3, but with rubbing alcohol.

Step 6: Leave the stained area, which is now saturated with alcohol, to air dry.

Hint: If the stain is completely removed skip down to step 9, otherwise continue with the next step.

Step 7: If some of the ballpoint ink is still on your clothing you should now cover the stained area with a thin layer of liquid laundry detergent and rub it in, and then let it sit for at least one hour, and up to overnight.

Step 8: Rinse out the laundry detergent.

Step 9: Pretreat the stain with a laundry prewash stain remover.

Step 10: Launder as normal.

Hint: Make sure the ballpoint pen stain is gone after washing, but before you place in the dryer or you may set it. Repeat if necessary.

Does Hairspray Work To Remove Ball Point Ink Stains?

spraying hairspray

You may have heard the common wisdom to use hairspray to remove these marks and spots.

The reason that ballpoint ink responds well to treatment with hairspray is because of the alcohol contained within the hairspray. That's why the cheaper the hairspray the better your results, actually.

Unfortunately, hairspray also contains glues and other ingredients which can make your clothing or other items sticky, so I suggest just using rubbing alcohol to remove the ink stains instead.

Of course, in a pinch, hairspray will work too for ballpoint ink stain removal. It is not as bad to use on washable fabric because you can thereafter wash away the hairspray once you have removed the marks.

However, I would caution you to think twice before using hairspray on upholstery or carpet, since you can't easily wash these surfaces to remove the sticky residue left by it.

Despite my cautions, there have been several readers who still swear by using this hair product for removing these ink spots. You can see more hairspray uses for cleaning and removing stains here, or share your own.

What Is The Best Ink Spot Remover?

spray bottle

Many people like to use a product designed specifically to remove ink stains, but which one works best?

Share your ink spot remover reviews with me here so we can find the perfect ink stain and spot remover to get rid of your ink stain.

In addition, you can read other reviews that have already been submitted for ink stain removers, from other readers, if you're looking for a product that really works.

Ink Pen Stain Removal From Upholstery

ballpoint ink stain removaluse this Pin it button to save to Pinterest

Step 1: Take a clean white cloth and sponge the stain caused by the ballpoint pen with a dry cleaning solvent.

Step 2: Blot at the stain until the solvent is absorbed.

Step 3: Repeat steps 1-2 until the ballpoint ink is removed.

You can get more information on how to clean upholstery here.

Further, you may find this video about how a couple got ink pen off upholstered furniture with hairspray helpful (although I suggest trying alcohol instead of hairspray for the reasons stated above).

Finally, here is some additional information I provided to a reader regarding removing a red ball point pen stain from a cream colored chair.

How To Remove Pen Stains From Carpet

The instructions for ballpoint ink stain removal from carpet is the same as for upholstery.

However, if you don't have luck with this stain removal method above (which you should use first, before trying the method below) you can also do something additional with the carpet stain, which is as follows:

Step 1: Mix a solution of one tablespoon of vinegar, one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid, and two cups warm water.

Step 2: Using this solution, sponge the stain from the ballpoint ink with a clean white cloth.

Step 3: Next, blot at the stain until the liquid is absorbed.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2-3 until the ballpoint ink stain is removed from the carpet.

Step 5: Now that the stain is removed you should get plain cold water and a new white cloth and sponge the area to remove the cleaning solution, and then blot dry.

Hint: Be sure to get the carpet only as wet as necessary for ballpoint ink stain removal.

Removing Ballpoint Ink Stains From Your Skin

Click here for a video tip for removing ballpoint ink from your skin with a used tea bag.

Submit Your Own Tip For Ballpoint Ink Pen Stains

Do you have your own ballpoint ink stain removal tip to share? If so, submit your tip here, or read other tips already submitted, including this collection of tips on pen stain removal.

Get Even More Stain And Spot Removal Help Here

Are you a stain magnet like me? If so, check out the A to Z Stain Removal Guide which gives directions for how to remove over 100 types of stains from all kinds of surfaces.

A to Z stain removal guide: Step by step instructions to remove 100+ different stains

Fourth photo by yoppy

Thanks For Visiting My Website: Grab Your Free Gift!


Hi, I'm Taylor, a busy mom with 3 kids, so I have lots of hands on experience with house cleaning, laundry and my fair share of spots, spills and other messy catastrophes. Thanks for visiting my site.

I update the website all the time with tips, tutorials, cleaning recipes, reviews of products from readers like you, and tests I've done on various cleaners, removers and laundry supplies.

I'd love to give you a gift! When you subscribe to my free weekly newsletter you will receive a free printable laundry stain removal chart that you can reference as needed.

I hope you enjoy this gift, and stop by again soon!

Subscribe To The Out Darn Spot Newsletter

* indicates required

Share Your Comments, Tips & Ideas

Related Pages You May Enjoy

A-Z Guide: Instructions For Removing Over 100 Types Of Stains

Crayon Stain Removal

How To Remove Pencil Marks & Scribbles Around Your Home

Go From Ballpoint Ink Stain Removal To Home Page

CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.