How To Remove Ink Stains From Leather Without Ruining It

Pen ink makes for some of the most stubborn stains that you can get on your leather jacket. Unfortunately, it is one of the most likely substances to stain your leather jacket. This is because people have the habit of sticking pens in the pockets of their leather jackets, and this can often lead to ink spilling on the jacket. Pens are also in constant use, and we may sometimes forget to hold the pen properly, especially when we pause to write in order to listen to someone or to reflect on what we are writing about.

Regardless of how the ink stains arrive on your jacket, your first priority is probably to get rid of them. Here then are some tips on how to get ink stains out of your cowhide leather jacket.

Dry Cleaning

We are going to start with one of the most effective and possibly the safest options of all; leave it to the experts. Leather is a highly sensitive material and is easily ruined if the wrong process is followed. Given that a good leather jacket is often a significant investment, it follows that giving it to the experts to clean and remove the stain is a very logical thing to do. However, it is important to confirm that your dry cleaner has expertise in cleaning leather jackets. If you are not sure, you could find out from any leather store near your area about where to take your leather jacket for cleaning. In most cases, such retailers are likely to know the best places to have your leather jacket cleaned,

Hair Spray

If you can't have your leather jacket dry cleaned for a variety of reasons, then you should consider applying hair spray on the stain. Hair spray, especially older formulas, is very effective in removing pen stains because the main ingredient in the spray is isopropyl alcohol. Modern hair spray however has less isopropyl alcohol and so tends to be less effective. However, isopropyl alcohol is rubbing alcohol and so you can purchase this and use this directly on the ink stain.

Other Kinds of Alcohol

Apart from rubbing alcohol, there are other kinds of alcohol such as denatured alcohol and so on. These can be used if you don’t have access to rubbing alcohol but remember that they are far less effective than rubbing alcohol. Avoid using these on sensitive leather such as lambskin leather which is easily damaged by corrosive substances.

Homemade Leather Cleaner

When the ink stains are on non-white leather, you might consider using a homemade cleaner to remove ink stains. This leather cleaner is made by mixing lemon juice and cream of tartar. Once you have mixed the two properly, dip a microfiber cloth into the mixture and rub it on the stains. Let the homemade cleaner sit there for a few hours and then clean it off with a damp cloth.


Leather jackets differ depending on the quality of leather used, the dye used, and so on. It is hard to tell how any particular jacket will react to the leather cleaners mentioned here. For this reason, it is always a smart idea to first rub any cleaner on a small part of the jacket to see the effect your cleaner has on the jacket. Only then should you proceed to use it on the visible parts of your leather jacket.