Ink can leave a nasty stain, especially when it has dried. We show you how to remove ink from carpet – from ballpen to printer ink – as soon as it occurs.
Even then, some ink stains are impossible to remove.
Ink type determines the cleaning method and level of success
Ink can be oil- or water-based. Water-based ink is soluble. It dissolves in water. Mopping up spills or lifting stains from water-based ink is usually quick, easy and effective.
Oil-based ink consists of solvents, resins and colourants. It’s designed to leave an indelible mark.
This type of ink spill results in a “permanent” stain on carpet. It requires a targeted removal technique, using one or more of a range of household products.
Here are a few ink-specific stain-removal methods that can lift stains from carpet or reduce discolouration.
How to remove ballpen ink
The ink in a ballpen is oil-based. It contains red, blue or black pigments that typically leave a stubborn stain on carpet, upholstery and clothing.
Although this type of ink stain is difficult to lift, there are DIY products that may be effective.
Hairspray is one option. Simply spray the lacquer onto the stain to soften the ink. Leave it for two minutes.
Using a clean white towel, dab the area to absorb the ink. Repeat the process until the stain disappears.
Once the carpet is dry, a quick brush and vacuum will remove any residue.
If that doesn’t work, try the shaving-cream method.
Spray the area with a thick layer of shaving cream. Lightly moisten a clean sponge with warm water and gently dab the cream into the carpet.
Remove the excess foam and repeat the process. Vacuum the area and pat dry the carpet with a paper towel.
If all else fails, hydrogen peroxide may work.
Pour a small amount of hydrogen peroxide onto a clean cloth or towel. Lightly blot the stain until the ink lifts. Rinse the area with warm water, leave it to dry overnight and vacuum.
How to remove fountain pen ink
Ink stains from a fountain or quill pen are seldom difficult to remove. This is because the ink is water-soluble.
Ordinary dishwashing liquid and water are the best bet.
In a bowl, mix one part dishwashing liquid with one part warm water. Dip a sponge or clean cloth into the solution and dab the stain until it disappears.
If the stain persists, scrub the soapy area with a nail brush and rinse with warm water.
How to remove printer cartridge ink
Printer cartridges contain powdered or liquid ink. Both require a different stain-removal technique.
To remove a powdered ink stain, hold the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner slightly above the affected area to remove the pigment.
Apply a liberal amount of carpet cleaner to the stain. Gently pat the area until the stain disappears. Rinse if necessary.
A liquid ink spill is best treated with rubbing alcohol or surgical spirit.
First, blot the area with a dry cloth to remove excess ink. Always work from the outside of the spill, inwards.
Lightly dampen a clean cloth with surgical spirit. Blot the stain until all the ink is transferred onto the cloth. Rinse and allow the carpet to dry overnight.
How to remove stains from kids’ markers and permanent marker pens
For obvious reasons, marker pens designed for children contain washable ink. Stains are effortlessly removed with a few dabs of a damp sponge.
Spills from permanent markers require more effort and ingenuity because they use oil-based ink.
Try the hairspray, shaving cream and hydrogen peroxide methods outlined above. Alternatively, salt or Q20 may work.
Slightly dampen the soiled area and pour a generous amount of salt onto the stain. Leave it on overnight and vacuum.
If Q20 is the preferred product, spray the lubricant directly onto the stain and wait for 30 to 40 seconds.
Using a sponge, dab the area repeatedly with warm soapy water until the stain disappears. Rinse and pat the carpet dry.
Calling in the professionals for ink removal from carpets
In the case of a fresh ink spill, it’s vital to act quickly to minimise staining.
Beyond this, no method can guarantee 100% success in removing dried ink from carpet – but your best bet is to opt for professional carpet cleaners. With access to industrial equipment and the right stain-removal products, they can achieve better results than most DIY ink removal methods.
At Chelsea Cleaning, we offer professional cleaning of carpets in the greater Cape Town area and surrounds, including the Southern Peninsula, Helderberg and the West Coast. We also offer deep cleaning of mattresses, curtains and upholstery.