How to get ink out of a couch – 3 effective solutions to remove the stain for good

Spilled ink doesn’t need to damage your fabric or leather forever – this expert method will get rid of ink, quickly

A whiteliving room with white sofa, black coffee table and black chandelier
(Image credit: Arteriors)

While knowing how to get ink out of a couch may seem relative – and even somewhat unlikely – this unfortunate situation can happen to everybody. Ink is notorious for its damaging staying-power – so the last place you will want to find a stain is across one of your favorite furnishings – whatever the size and whatever the color. 

However, learning how to clean a couch after the incident doesn't need to be a challenge. If you follow the correct cleaning tips, you can ensure it looks as fresh as ever before. And you can complete the process in three quick steps. 

If you have a fabric or leather couch, the process will differ slightly, but the results are equally successful. Here's what you need to know. 

How to get ink out of a couch: fabric

living room with curved white sofa, abstract art work and red marble top coffee table

(Image credit: Jake Curtis / Claudia Bryant)

1. Prepare for the clean

 Jennifer Rodriguez, a Chief Hygiene Officer from Pro House Keepers recommends picking up non-acetone nail polish remover [such as this one from Amazon] and a cleaning cloth [such as this one]. She then recommends doing a patch test on a small area of the couch before tackling the stain. 

2. Blot the stain

If you are happy with the patch test, Jennifer suggests applying a small amount of nail polish remover into the cleaning cloth. 'Gently blot the stain without pushing or rubbing too hard on the surface. Continue until the stain disappears,' the expert says.  

If you are unsatisfied with the patch test, or you'd rather stick to ingredients you may already have in your home, then Kristen McCalla from Earth Friendly Tips recommends following the same method – with one big change. She suggests cleaning with vinegar – using one tablespoon of liquid soap, one tablespoon of white vinegar, and two cups of warm water. 

3. Rinse the couch

Whether you use the nail polish remover or the white vinegar method, the experts urge you to rinse your couch after blotting. They suggest using towel to speed up the drying-time and staying off the couch until it has completely dried. 

How to get ink out of a couch: leather

restore leather couch Darlings of Chelsea

(Image credit: Darlings of Chelsea)

If your living room sofa ideas are more leather-inclined, then fear not. The method is almost the same as that for fabric sofas; however, there is one extra thing to remember. 

As Jennifer explains, the patch test is important in both cases, but it is arguably even more so if you own a leather sofa. 'If the cloth has dye residue from the couch, do not proceed as you may cause damage,' she cautions. 

After dabbing the couch in the same way, she recommends applying a leather conditioner [like this one from Amazon] to the desired area to avoid cracking from the alcohol.

How do you remove ballpoint pen from couch?

Whether your ballpoint pen has leaked in your pocket or your child has spilled a pot of ink during an art project, this method should work to remove all ink. 'Just remember to do a patch test before tackling ink, be that from a ballpoint pen or anywhere,' reinforces H&G's Editor in Chief, Lucy Searle. 'With the right precautions, you can have your couch looking like new – in almost no time at all.' 

How do you get dried ink out of fabric?

These steps should effectively remove dried ink, however, it is better not to leave it for too long. Once the ink has dried, Lucy urges you to get rid of the inky residue before it sits on your sofa. 'Though, the process is so quick and easy, it doesn't need to be a huge challenge,' she adds. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.