How to Remove Felt Tip Ink and Indian Ink Stains

Removing ink stains can be a difficult process.
Removing ink stains can be a difficult process.
­iStockPhoto/Martin Koch

Finding a felt tip ink or Indian ink stain on a household surface is enough to make even the coolest host flip their lid. Learn stain removal techniques while maintaining the grace and style even Martha would admire.

­The first step in removing ink stains is to identify the stained material.­­­

­Below are the most common types of materials that can become ink-stained, with steps on how to remove ink from each:

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Non-washable Fibers

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from Acetate, Burlap, Fiberglass, Rayon, ­Rope, Silk, Triacetate, Wool:

  • Sponge (the method of using a dampened pad to apply light strokes, moving outward from the center of the stain) the area with a dry-cleaning solvent such as K2r Spot Lifter (except on acetate blends) or Afta Cleaning Fluid, then apply a dry spotter to the stain.
  • Cover with an absorbent pad moistened with dry spotter. Be sure to keep the stain from bleeding.
  • Change the pad as it picks up the stain.
  • Keep the stain and pad moist with dry spotter.
  • Flush (the method of applying stain remover to loosen staining material and residue from stain removers) with one of the liquid dry-cleaning solvents.
  • If stain persists, sponge with water and apply a wet spotter and a few drops of ammonia. (Do not use ammonia on silk or wool.)
  • Cover the stain with an absorbent pad moistened with wet spotter.
  • Change the pad as it picks up the stain.
  • Keep both the pad and stain moist with wet spotter and white vinegar.
  • Flush with water and repeat as necessary.
  • Allow to dry. Note: Permanent inks are almost impossible to remove.

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Other Fabrics

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from Acrylic Fabric, Cotton, Linen, Modacrylic:

  • Sponge the area with a dry-cleaning solvent such as K2r Spot Lifter or Afta Cleaning Fluid.
  • If stain remains, mix a paste of powdered detergent, water, and a few drops of ammonia. Apply to the stain.
  • Place an absorbent pad under the stain.
  • When no more stain is being removed, flush thoroughly with water and launder. Note: Permanent inks are almost impossible to remove.

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Hard Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from Acrylic Plastic, Aluminum, Asphalt, Bamboo, Cane, Ceramic Glass/Tile, Enamel, Glass, Paint (flat or gloss), Plexiglas, Polyurethane, Porcelain Dishes, Porcelain Fixtures, Stainless Steel, Vinyl Clothing, Vinyl Wallcovering:

  • Wipe the surface with a cloth or sponge dipped in warm sudsy water to which a few drops of ammonia have been added.
  • Rinse well with clear water and wipe dry. Note: Permanent inks are almost impossible to remove.

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Alabaster or Marble

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from alabaster or marble:

  • Wipe surface with a cloth or sponge dipped in warm sudsy water to which a few drops of ammonia have been added.
  • Rinse well and wipe dry.
  • If stain persists, apply a cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol; allow it to stand for 15 minutes.
  • Next, apply a cloth soaked with ammonia for 15 minutes.
  • Alternate alcohol and ammoni­a applications until stain is removed. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.

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Stone Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from Bluestone, Brick, Concrete Flagstone, ­Granite, Limestone, Masonry Tile, Sandstone, Slate, Terrazzo:

  • Wash stain with a solution of washing soda or detergent (never soap) and water.
  • Use a cloth or soft-bristled brush to help scrub.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clear water and allow to dry.

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Carpet

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from carpet:

  • Blot as much stain as possible without forcing it deeper into the pile.
  • Sponge the stain with a concentrated solution of carpet spotter such as either Stain-X Carpet Stain Remover or Afta Carpet Stain Remover. Caution: Never rub ink stains on carpet.
  • Continue to sponge the area, rinsing the sponge as it picks up the stain. Repeat until no more stain is removed.
  • If the stain persists, have the rug professionally cleaned.
  • Repeated applications of a liquid all-purpose cleaner solution also will help remove the ink. Note: Permanent inks are almost impossible to remove.

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Porous Surfaces

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from Cork, Linoleum, Vinyl Tile:

  • Cover the stain with a compress made with rubbing alcohol.
  • Let the compress remain in place for 5 minutes.
  • Wipe the area with a cloth dampened with ammonia. Do not use ammonia on linoleum or vinyl tile.
  • Rinse well with water and allow to dry. Note: Permanent inks are almost impossible to remove.

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Special Fabrics

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from Felt, Fur (natural or synthetic), Leather or Suede:

  • Due to the nature of the material involved, this stain cannot be removed by a nonprofessional.

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Grout

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from grout:

  • Wipe stain with cloth dipped in warm sudsy water.
  • If stain remains, dip a wet toothbrush into a little baking soda or powdered cleanser. Gently scrub the spot.
  • Rinse and wipe dry.

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Synthetic Fabrics

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from Nylon, Olefin, Polyester, Spandex:

  • Sponge stain with detergent solution immediately. Then apply cleaners such as K2r Spot Lifter or Afta Cleaning Fluid.
  • Sprinkle lemon juice and salt over the stain and leave for 1 hour.
  • Rinse well, repeat if necessary, and launder as soon as possible.

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Wallpaper

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from wallpaper:

  • Try erasing light marks with an art-gum eraser or a suede stone, an abrasive cleaner. Remember not to push hard.
  • If stain remains, rub area lightly with a dry steel wool soap pad.
  • If the stain persists, rub very gently with baking soda sprinkled on a damp cloth. Then wipe the area with a cloth or sponge moistened in cool clear water.
  • Overlap strokes to prevent streaking. Use a clean pad to gently pat dry.

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Wood

Follow these steps to remove ink stains from wood:

  • Dilute oxalic acid in warm water and apply with an artist's brush to the stained area. Caution: Oxalic acid is poisonous, so wear rubber gloves when applying it.
  • On painted surfaces, wipe with a cloth moistened with detergent suds.
  • For unpainted or stripped surfaces, after applying the oxalic acid, neutralize the area with white vinegar and rinse with rubbing alcohol. Allow to dry. Note: Permanent inks are almost impossible to remove.

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