Removing ink from leather furniture

Accidently swiping your leather sofa with a pen can ruin the suite – but we’re here to help!

If you happen to mark your furniture with a ball point pen, it’s important to act quickly – but don’t be tempted to scrub it.

Firstly, determine the type of leather that you have from the manufacturers cleaning guidelines. Finished leather will be easier to clean than unfinished, but you will also have to be careful how you clean it in order to maintain the protective coating.  If your leather is unfinished, it can be difficult to clean without professional help as it is extremely absorbent and can be stained with water.

If you don’t know what finish your leather has, there’s a simple test that you can do. Select a patch of the material that is usually concealed and apply a small drop of water to it. If the water soaks in, the leather is unfinished and will be very difficult to clean yourself. If the water beads up, the leather is finished and you can delicately begin cleaning.

For protected leather, apply a small amount of leather cleaner to a soft cloth and gently dab at the area whilst the ink is still fresh. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully to avoid causing more damage.

Remember to dab the mark rather than rub as rubbing could spread the ink and cause it to penetrate deeper into the leather.

If you leave the stain for more than a few hours before treating, the ink could penetrate deep into the leather and it will be harder to remove.

Don’t be tempted to use hairspray – a tip that’s often seen in magazines. Although this might remove the ink, it will also destroy the protective coating of the leather. Some ink removal products will also remove this, so be careful what products you use.

If you do damage your leather furniture or you cannot remove a stain, you may need to call in the professionals to re-colour and re-finish the piece.