Whether you’ve been distracted while writing or your youngster transformed your sofa in a canvas, getting ballpoint pen marks off real or faux leather can be troublesome.
However, there are ways to get biro off leather. Chemical cleaners can help, but you can also use toothpaste, rubbing alcohol, or a vinegar and water solution.
Pen erasers could also work on fresh marks that haven’t had the time to dry out.
In addition to these methods, there are several other ways to deal with ballpoint pen marks. Let’s find out how to get biro off leather like a pro.
13 Ways To Get Biro Off Leather
Removing pen marks off your leather surfaces is often difficult, especially if the ink has managed to penetrate into the leather pores.
While all the methods below can help, treating the mark as soon as possible can dramatically improve results.
Blotting is one of the easiest ways to get biro off leather, but it only works on fresh stains.
Simply blot the affected area with a paper towel, clean cloth, or another absorbent material. Press gently to let the towel absorb as much ink as possible.
Avoid rubbing the spot to prevent the further spreading of the stain. If blotting didn’t remove all traces of pen, use this method in conjunction with the method below.
2. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol can be used to dissolve dry ballpoint pen ink. Likewise, you can use it to get rid of fresh ink that hasn’t soaked into a dry paper towel.
Dampen a cotton ball or clean cloth into rubbing alcohol and dab the stained area. Work from the outside towards the centre of the stain to prevent further spreading.
Continue blotting with the damp cotton ball until all the ink transfers onto it. Rinse the spot with a damp cloth and pat it dry.
Rubbing alcohol can dry out the leather, and it could also discolour dyed leather. Test it in an inconspicuous area before treating the stain.
Vinegar works in the same way as rubbing alcohol. The best choice for the task is white vinegar.
Mix equal parts of vinegar and water and blot the stain with a cotton ball or cloth dampened in the vinegar solution. Once the ink has faded away, rinse with clean water and pat dry.
Don’t forget to test the vinegar solution in an inconspicuous area, especially if the leather is dyed.
4. Leather Cleaner
Commercial leather cleaners are the safest products to use on any leather surface. Choose a mild product specifically designed for removing stains.
Follow the instructions on the product label to clean the biro stain.
Some cleaners require you to use a leather conditioner once you’re done. This is a step you shouldn’t skip if you don’t want the leather to crack.
If you’ve ever tried to correct a mistake in a notebook after writing stuff down with a biro, you probably know that erasers do little against the ink.
However, they might be able to remove superficial ink stains from leather surfaces.
Use a white or transparent rubber, depending on the leather colour. Any colour in the eraser could transfer onto your leather surface, so white is the best choice for white leather. For all other colours, use a clear eraser.
Apply light pressure and work in small circular motions. Wipe away eraser residues with a damp cloth while you’re working and continue until the stain is removed.
Hairspray is a sticky substance that could bind to the ink and help remove it – although this method might only work on fresh biro stains.
Spray a small amount of product onto a clean cloth and dab gently until the ink transfers onto the cloth.
Rinse the area with a damp cloth and pat it dry when you’re done.
White toothpaste could also remove biro off leather.
Apply a small amount directly to the stained area and rub gently with a soft cloth or toothbrush. Wipe with a dry towel as you’re working to monitor the progress, and apply more toothpaste if needed.
Rinse and pat dry when you’re done.
8. Nail Polish Remover
Nail polish remover is a common solvent that can dissolve ink and marker pen stains. It can also affect dyed leather, so you should only use it on white leather products.
To get rid of the biro marks, soak a cotton ball in acetone-free nail polish remover. Dab the stained area gently, then rinse and pat dry.
If you want to use this method to remove biro stains from coloured leather, test first in an inconspicuous area.
9. Bicarbonate of Sodium (or Cornstarch)
Bicarbonate of sodium is a popular powder that can be used in cooking or cleaning. It absorbs grease and stains, and it can be used to absorb fresh ink, too.
Sprinkle the powder directly onto the biro stain and leave for a few hours or overnight. Use a soft brush to clear away the bicarbonate of sodium and inspect the area.
If clean, wipe with a damp cloth and pat dry. Otherwise, use one of the methods above to remove the rest of the ink off the leather.
Cornstarch works like sodium bicarbonate and is a great substitute.
Milk is known for removing dry biro stains off fabrics, and it could work on fresh biro stains on leather, too.
Moisten a clean cloth in whole milk and rub the stained area. Continue rubbing until the ink starts to fade, then wipe away all milk residues with a damp cloth.
If the stain is stubborn, pour some milk over it, then pour a bit of white vinegar over the milk. Rub with a soft cloth to remove the stain.
11. Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar
Despite its name, cream of tartar is actually a white powder made of tartaric acid and potassium hydroxide. The powder is typically used to create fizzy bath bombs, and it can be mixed with lemon juice (or white vinegar) to remove stains off leather.
Create a paste by mixing equal parts lemon juice and cream of tartar. Apply directly onto the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes.
Use a soft cloth to gently rub the paste into the stain. Continue until the mark is removed, then rinse with a damp cloth and dry it properly.
Vaseline, or any other kind of petroleum jelly, can also remove biro stains.
Smear a small amount over the stained area and let it sit overnight. This can soften dried ink, making it easier to remove.
Wipe away the Vaseline with a clean cloth and treat the spot with a mild leather cleaner. Rinse and dry thoroughly.
13. Professional Help
If you’re dealing with a stubborn stain or have to get biro off a valuable leather item, it is best to seek professional help.
Leather experts and professional cleaners have expert knowledge and access to industrial cleaning products that are not available on the market.
Hiring a professional to deal with the stain for you can also give you peace of mind that your leather products won’t get damaged.
Biro stains on leather items could feel like a nightmare, but they can be removed fairly easily if fresh. Old stains can also be cleaned with Vaseline or dedicated leather cleaners. If you don’t want to damage the item or the stain is too stubborn, a professional might help.
Regardless of the method you choose, we hope this guide can help you get biro off leather without effort.