Textile & leather cleaning tips: How to remove ballpoint pen stains from leather and textiles

Wildlederreinigung mit Wildlederbürste

Ballpoint pen stains on leather products can be a real challenge for anyone who appreciates this noble material. It doesn't matter whether it's an expensive leather chair, a handbag or even shoes. Ballpoint pen stains can spoil the joy of your leather items.

But don't worry, in the following guide we will explain to you step by step how you can gently and effectively remove ballpoint pen stains from different types of leather and textiles. Whether it's smooth leather, suede or nubuck: we have the solutions for you!

Remove ballpoint pen stains from smooth leather

The first key to success when removing ballpoint pen stains from smooth leather is to act quickly . This means: As soon as you notice the stain, you should grab a clean cloth or paper towel and gently dab away the excess ink . However, you should not rub, as you would only work the ink further into the leather. Then it's time for the deep cleaning. To remove the ballpoint pen stain from the material and then give the leather the necessary care, you need the following equipment:

  • Isopropyl alcohol with at least 70% purity
  • Cotton ball or soft cotton cloth
  • Leather cleaner & leather care

Step 1: Remove stains

Dip the cotton ball or cotton cloth in the isopropyl alcohol and gently dab it onto the ballpoint pen stain, starting at the outer edges of the stain and slowly working your way inward. The alcohol will gradually dissolve the ink . To avoid damaging the leather, be careful not to rub too hard.

Step 2: Cleaning & Care

After you have removed the stain, clean the treated area with a special leather cleaner . However, you should not use just any cleaner on your valuable leather products. Make sure that the product is free of chemicals that would unnecessarily attack the material. Instead, opt for a sustainable cleaner that uses natural ingredients to remove dirt from your leather.

Leather cleaner, leather care, brush, sponge in a set from Emma Grün

The premium leather cleaner from Emma Grün does this brilliantly and also supplies the material with nutrients. This keeps the leather elastic and retains its natural appearance.

Step 3: Let the leather dry

Now let the cleaned leather air dry. To prevent it from drying out, avoid direct sunlight or heat sources.

Step 4: Leather care

Once dry, it is advisable to treat the material with a high-quality leather care product such as Emma Grün's Leather Care Balm . This will help keep the leather supple and protect it from future stains.

Remove ballpoint pen stains from suede and nubuck

Do you love the luxurious texture and rustic charm of suede and nubuck, but an unwanted ballpoint pen stain has crept onto your favorite piece? Don't worry. With the right approach, even stubborn stains can be safely and effectively removed from delicate suede. You can find out how to do this in the following instructions.

Step 1: Remove excess ink

As with smooth leather, you should soak up any excess ink using a clean cloth . Rubbing is a no-go here too, as this will only work the ink deeper into the material.

Step 2: Brush off the stain

To gently remove the dried stain, it is best to use a suede brush . To avoid damaging the nubuck or suede, we recommend brushing in the direction of the natural fiber . You will see how the stain gradually dissolves.

Step 3: Stain remover

For stubborn stains, a stain remover that is suitable for cleaning suede and nubuck can be helpful. The premium leather cleaner from Emma Grün is suitable for all types of leather and, thanks to its natural ingredients, is not only gentle on the material, but also removes stubborn stains. Apply it to the natural material according to the instructions, let it dry and brush it out carefully in the direction of the natural fibers.

Step 5: Impregnation

After cleaning, it is advisable to apply a protective product such as the waterproofing spray from Emma Grün . Natural ingredients such as sugar acid simulate a lotus effect that protects your leather from moisture and future stains . Another advantage of avoiding aggressive agents is that the pores of the natural material are not clogged and the material can breathe despite the protective layer. The pleasant feel and natural look of your leather are thus perfectly preserved.

Removing ballpoint pens from clothing: 5 home remedies to get rid of ballpoint pen stains

You've probably already experienced how annoying it can be when a ballpoint pen leaks and leaves unsightly stains on your clothes. Before you part with your favorite items, we have good news for you. There are various household remedies that can get rid of ballpoint pen stains . The following methods are not only efficient, but also environmentally friendly and gentle on your textiles.

  • Hairspray: Hairspray is a real all-rounder when it comes to fighting ballpoint pen stains. Spray the hairspray generously on the stain, let it work for a few minutes and then dab it gently with a clean cloth. The alcohol in the hairspray helps to dissolve the ink .
  • Toothpaste: Yes, you read that right! This dental care product can also help with ballpoint pen stains. This home remedy is particularly suitable for white fabrics . Apply a small amount of white, not yellow, toothpaste to the stain, gently work the paste into the area to be treated with a toothbrush and then wash the item of clothing.
  • Milk: Milk is another amazing home remedy for ballpoint pen stains. Dip the stained area in milk, let it soak for about an hour, and then wash the garment as usual.

Half-full milk bottle standing on tiled floor by the window

Image source: Pexels

  • Vinegar and water: A mixture of vinegar and water can work wonders on many stains, including ballpoint pen stains. For a satisfactory result, prepare a solution of vinegar and water (1:1), apply the mixture to the area to be treated and let it soak for a short time . You should then wash your garment by hand or in the washing machine.
  • Shaving cream: Shaving cream is another surprisingly effective method. Apply a small amount of shaving cream to the ink stain, leave it for a few minutes , then gently scrub it with a clean cloth or toothbrush. After washing, the stain should be gone.

Emma Grün Tip: Whenever you treat something, remember that every material can react differently to different home remedies. So test the remedy on an inconspicuous area first. This way you can be sure that your item of clothing will not be damaged.


Removing ballpoint pen stains from leather and textiles can be a tricky task. However, with the right methods and a little patience, it is possible to effectively remove the annoying stains and restore your favorite pieces to pristine condition.

FAQ: Questions & Answers

How do you remove ballpoint pen stains from smooth leather?

Isopropyl alcohol is ideal for removing ballpoint pen stains from smooth leather. For a perfect result, dab off the excess ink with a cloth, apply the alcohol and then clean the leather with a natural leather cleaner. To prevent the material from drying out, it should be treated with a nourishing emulsion or wax at the end.

How to treat ballpoint pen stains on suede and nubuck?

To remove ink stains from suede or nubuck, immediate action is important. Blot the stain, allow the suede to dry and brush gently with a suede brush. If necessary, a special stain remover can be used.

Which household remedies are suitable for removing ballpoint pen stains from textiles?

Household remedies such as hairspray, toothpaste, milk, vinegar or shaving foam are ideal for removing ballpoint pen stains from textiles. However, to avoid damaging sensitive materials, the household remedy should be tested on an inconspicuous area first.

Should you hire a professional for stubborn ballpoint pen stains?

In most cases, ballpoint pen stains can be removed at home. If the item of clothing is valuable, it may be advisable to consult a professional.

How can you prevent ballpoint pen stains?

To avoid unsightly ballpoint pen stains, ballpoint pens should always be transported in lockable cases.


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2. Removing stains from leather – www.leder-info.de

3. Textiles: Stain removal – www.haushaltstipps.net

4. Stain lexicon: Removing ballpoint pen stains – www.frag-Mutti.de

5. Remove ballpoint pen stains – www.flecken-entfernen.info/kugelschreiberflecken-entfernen/