Ink stains are a pain, lowering the value of your car and providing an eyesore for all your passengers. Fortunately, a variety of homemade remedies can be effective in removing ink stains for auto upholstery. Learning to quickly and properly remove an ink stain on the cheap can help your interior looking nice, whether you’re working with leather, fabric, or PVC upholstery.
Removing Ink From Fabric and PVC
Blot excess ink immediately. You will have a harder task removing the stain once it sets in. First focus on removing the excess ink using a dry towel or a paper towel to absorb the excess liquid.
Blot the ink spill gently, putting a little pressure on the area. Try to remove as much ink as you can working from the outside towards the center. This will prevent the stain from spreading.
Don’t rub or scrub the area, which can spread the stain and work it into the fibers more deeply. Instead, blot gently to get as much of the ink out as possible before you clean it more deeply.
Try isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Ink stains often come out with rubbing alcohol, regardless of the style of upholstery in the car. 90% isopropyl alcohol is preferable, but you can use 70% if that’s the only variety available.
First, test the alcohol in an inconspicuous place of the car upholstery to make sure that it won’t damage the upholstery material.
Apply rubbing alcohol on a clean white cloth. Do not pour alcohol directly on the stain. Dab the ink stain with the cloth carefully. Do not rub or wipe. Rubbing will cause the stain to spread. Repeat the process again until the cloth is not absorbing any more of the ink. Make sure to change the cloth when it is saturated with ink.
Don’t use alcohol on acetate, rayon, or triacetate. These fabrics will stain and leave bleach-like spots if treated with alcohol.
Consider using vinegar on the ink stain. Its acidic properties make it remove stains effectively. Plus, it’s safe to use, gentle on hands and environment friendly.
Combine 1 tablespoon of dish washing soap and 2 teaspoons of white vinegar in a cup of water. Dab the solution on the stained area using a soft cloth and rub the area gently.
Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then wipe it with cold water using a soft cloth. Rinse the affected area thoroughly. Repeat until the solution is gone.
Try hairspray. Not just for hair anymore. Hairspray is a strong and somewhat volatile solvent that can be an effective ink remover, used in small doses on both cloth and leather. As soon as you see the stain, spray a little of the hairspray over the top and quickly wipe away gently, using a clean, dry cloth. Repeat the process until the ink has gone.
Some people report that stronger hairspray has better stain removing properties, though it’s difficult to verify. Try whatever hairspray you’ve got on hand and use in conjunction with other cleaning solutions, if necessary.
Try a commercial stain remover. If you want to make a run to the store to get up the stain, many cleaning products are available which should gently help to lift the stain out of the fabric and leave your upholstery looking clean. If you don’t want to use a home remedy, try any of the following products: Oxi-Clean
Rinse the area thoroughly with clean water. After using a cleaning product of your choice on the stained area, try to go back over it with clean water. Wet your cloth with water and re-blot the area thoroughly with water, dampening it gently if possible. Do a few rinsing passes with your cloth to get as much of it out as possible.
Extract the water by putting a dry towel on the affected area. Use a clean towel and line it over the stained area, pushing down hard with your hands to absorb the water.
Repeat cleaning process if necessary. Let the area dry and re-examine the stain in a few hours. If there’s still a significant amount affected, repeat the steps above, trying another cleaning product if necessary. It usually will take several attempts to get a stain out completely, so don’t get frustrated. Be persistent and try again if you don’t get the stain out the very first time.
Removing Ink from Leather
Blot up the ink as quickly as possible. Stains that have a chance to settle into leather are extremely difficult to remove. Leather’s surface is porous and very delicate, so it requires a very small amount of cleaner and extreme care. To give yourself the best possible chance of getting the ink cleaned out of the leather, don’t give it a chance to set in.
Use a clean rag to blot up the ink from the outside of the stain, working your way in. Gently dab at the ink to get as much of it up as possible before you try to use something to clean it more thoroughly.
Try using dish soap and water. If the stain is still fresh, warm soapy water can do the trick. Mix 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish washing soap with a small amount of hot water to make a solution. Stir the solution until lots of soap suds are formed.
Dip a soft cloth on the soap suds and gently wipe the ink stain with the soapy cloth, gently working the suds into the upholstery and the ink stain. Be careful not to scrub, but to work by blotting gently. Use pressure to push down and absorb as much of it as possible.
Try using a small amount of rubbing alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol can be used to remove the ink stain from your leather upholstery, particular fresh ink stains. Older stains that have had a while to set might need multiple cleanings to get the stain out more thoroughly, so you might need to repeat as needed.
Do a spot test first. Test first the alcohol in an inconspicuous place of the upholstery to see how the leather will handle the alcohol. Damp a white cotton cloth with alcohol and use a small amount of it in a corner of the upholstery where a stain won’t be obvious. Let it dry and check to make sure it hasn’t left a serious secondary stain in the leather.
Blot the stain with the cloth. The ink will start transferring to the cloth. Do not rub, just blot the cloth. Repeat the process until the ink stain is gone. Make sure to change the cloth when it becomes saturated with ink to prevent re-staining the upholstery.
Never pour alcohol directly on the leather. Wet the cloth and wet it very sparingly.
Try peanut butter and window cleaner. Believe it or not, many people have had success using a combination of sandwich spread and Windex to get ink out of car upholstery. Spray a small amount of window cleaner on the stain, enough to dampen it gently, then apply about a teaspoon of peanut butter on the stain and let it sit for several minutes. Wipe up the mixture thoroughly with a clean rag and go about rinsing the upholstery more thoroughly.
Use a clean damp cloth to rinse off the solution. Whatever you’ve used to remove the ink from the leather upholstery, you need to take steps to remove excess moisture from the area. Make sure to wipe down the area thoroughly with a very slightly damp cloth, and go back over the area with a dry towel to extract any excess moisture.
Follow up with a leather conditioner. This will help prevent future stains and seal some added moisture into the leather to prevent it from cracking over time. It’s essential that you treat your leather seats with conditioner immediately after removing the stain.
Use a clean, soft, cotton towel and apply a small dab of leather conditioner to the affected area.
For really stubborn stains, using powerful cleaners may eventually remove the stains but there is also the possibility that the material will discolor.
You can use hairspray instead of alcohol to remove ink stains from auto upholstery.
Things You’ll Need
Cloth or paper towels
Sources and Citations
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