Ink Impossible II: How to remove stains from leather and silk

leather chairs

If you’ve ever dropped an ink pot on your sofa, or dripped ink down your favourite silk tie or dress, we feel for you, we really do.

But here at The Pen Company, we can help, so here are the best ways of removing ink from both leather and silk.

Getting ink out of silk

If you have a little hairspray at hand, this is a great and cheap way of removing the stain from your silk.

  1. Spray at the stain to moisten it and break up the ink.
  2. Using kitchen roll, push firmly onto the stain to absorb the mixture into the roll.
  3. Using a clean, damp cloth, dab at the stain, but don’t let it dry until you have it out or it may stain the silk permanently.

If you don’t happen to have hairspray on demand, or it fails at getting the stain out, you could try using a little water and vinegar solution.

  1. Mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water together in a cup.
  2. Using a spare toothbrush, dip it into the solution and very gently, scrub at the stain with the brush.
  3. Continue this method until you have removed the stain.
  4. Once it has fully gone, dab at the area with a clean cloth of warm water.

Getting ink out of leather

First of all, you need to work out whether your leather is naked leather or finished leather. Naked leather has no protective coating on its surface, meaning that it is extremely absorbent. If you have naked leather, treating ink may be difficult.

Finished leather is protected and painted with a die to protect it from nasty stains.

If you decide to get the job done yourself, and not professionally:

  1. Choose a soap-based cleaner, not one that is solvent-based. Even better, get a cleaner that is designed specifically to be used on leather materials.
  2. Using a small amount of solution, dab it on the surface of the leather using a clean cloth and a little amount of lukewarm water.
  3. Continue this process until the stain is removed. To get rid of the chemical cleaner, simply dab at the area using another clean, moist cloth.

If the ink has bled into the surface however, this will make it more difficult to remove than one that has simply been sprayed or spilt on. Also keep in mind that water-based inks are easier to clean up than other inks, and the more recent the spill, the quicker and easier you will be able to clean it up.

For more information on looking after your leather, check out the neat video below (though you’ll have to forgive the laughter track):

Anna has been a lover of stationery since the age of three, when she got her first red spotted pencil case. Lucky enough to work part time for The Pen Company, she is surrounded by stationery; the dream of many a collector!

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