How Do I Remove Ink From a Leather Purse? – Step-by-Step Guide

Ever found yourself in a panic after discovering an ink stain on your leather purse? You’re not alone.

At that moment, my heart sank when I spotted an ink stain tarnishing the flawless surface of my leather bag.

But here’s the good news: with the right knowledge and a little elbow grease, conquering ink stains is entirely within your grasp.

In this blog, we’re revealing tried-and-true methods that’ll have your purse looking as good as new in no time.

From analyzing the situation to learning the most effective ways to eliminate stubborn stains, this is your ultimate roadmap to leather rescue.

How Do I Remove Ink From a Leather Purse Infographic

Evaluating the Ink Mishap

Alright, let’s start by assessing the situation: 

First, determine whether the ink stain is fresh or has already set into the leather. Fresh stains are typically easier to remove, so if you catch it early, you’re in luck!

Next, examine the type of leather your purse is made of. Leather comes in various types and finishes, each requiring different cleaning approaches.

Take a close look at the size and severity of the stain. Is it a small spot or a larger area? Assessing these factors will help you choose the most suitable method for removing the ink without causing further damage to your purse.

Essential Precautions Before Tackling Ink Stains

Here are a few precautions to consider before diving into the stain-busting process:

Spot Test: Before applying any cleaning solution to your purse, conduct a spot test in an inconspicuous area. Trust me, I’ve learned this the hard way! Once, in my eagerness to tackle a stain, I skipped the spot test and ended up with a discolored patch on my favorite leather bag.

Gentle Does It: Leather is delicate, so it’s essential to be gentle. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbing tools, as they can damage the leather’s surface.

Patience is Key: Removing ink stains from leather is a process that requires patience. Don’t rush it! Take your time and work methodically to avoid spreading the stain or causing additional damage. Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

Know Your Leather: Different types of leather may react differently to cleaning methods. Whether your purse is made of full-grain, top-grain, or bonded leather, it’s essential to understand its composition before choosing a cleaning solution.

Protect Your Work Area: Ink removal can get messy, so protect your work surface with a clean towel or paper towel to catch any drips or spills. I’ve had my fair share of spills and splatters while cleaning leather, so now I always lay down some protective covering before I start.

How Do I Remove Ink From a Leather Purse: Step-By-Step Process

Here’s a step-by-step process for removing ink from a leather purse:

Step Action Details
1 Assess the Stain Identify the size and age of the ink stain.
2 Gather Materials Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton swabs
  • Mild soap
  • Water
  • Soft cloths
  • Leather conditioner
3 Test in an Inconspicuous Area Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to a hidden to check for damage.
4 Apply Rubbing Alcohol Dip a cotton swab in rubbing alcohol and gently dab the ink stain. Do not rub.
5 Blot the Stain Use a soft cloth to blot the area and absorb the ink lifted by the alcohol.
6 Repeat if Necessary Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the ink is removed, using a fresh cotton swab each time.
7 Clean the Area Mix mild soap with water, dampen a soft cloth, and gently clean the treated area.
8 Dry the Leather Use a dry, soft cloth to pat the area dry. Avoid using heat to dry the leather.
9 Condition the Leather Apply a leather conditioner to restore moisture and prevent the leather from drying out.
10 Let it Rest Allow the leather to absorb the conditioner and dry naturally before using the purse.

Top Methods to Remove Ink from Your Leather Purse

I’ve got some tried and tested methods to help you tackle that ink stain without harming your precious purse.

1. Using Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be effective in removing ink stains from leather. Dab a small amount on a cotton ball and gently blot the stain.

I’ve found this method works well, especially for smaller stains.

Time Required: 5 to 10 minutes

2. Cornstarch or Baking Soda

Sprinkling cornstarch or baking soda on the ink stain can help absorb the ink. Leave it on overnight before brushing it off gently. 

Time Required: Approximately 30 minutes to an hour

3. Magic Eraser

It may not be the first thing that comes to mind when tackling ink stains, but hear me out.

Wet the Magic Eraser slightly and, with a gentle touch, start rubbing the ink stain in circular motions.

The micro-scrubbers work their magic, gradually lifting the ink from the leather.

I remember using this on a stubborn ink mark, and it worked wonders, but go slow!

Time Required: 5 to 15 minutes

4. Lemon Juice and Cream of Tartar Paste

Create a paste using lemon juice and cream of tartar to tackle tough ink stains. Apply the paste to the stain, let it sit for a while, then wipe it off gently.

This DIY paste worked wonders on an old ink stain on my leather belt.

Time Required: 15 to 30 minutes

5. Hairspray Heroics

Now, here’s a trick that might surprise you – hairspray!

Grab a can of hairspray (the alcohol-based kind works best) and spray a small amount onto the ink stain. 

The alcohol in the hairspray helps dissolve the ink, making it easier to lift from the leather.

Time Required: 5 to 10 minutes

6. Professional Help

If you’re struggling to remove the ink stain on your own, consider seeking professional assistance.

Sometimes, expert care is the best solution for stubborn ink stains.

Time Required: A few days to a week

Source: House Cleaning Trips & Tricks YT Channel

Leather Types and Ink Stain Solutions

The type of leather you have can make a big difference in how you tackle that pesky ink. Here’s a breakdown of common types of leather and the suitable methods for removing ink stains:

  • Full-Grain Leather: This is the highest quality and most durable type of leather, often used in premium products. Blotting with rubbing alcohol or using a Magic Eraser can be effective on full-grain leather.
  • Top-Grain Leather: Similar to full-grain leather, but with a more processed surface. Mild leather cleaner applied with a soft cloth, followed by conditioning, is a safe approach for top-grain leather.
  • Bonded Leather: Made from leather scraps bonded with adhesives, bonded leather is less durable and more susceptible to damage. Absorbent methods like cornstarch or baking soda can be effective on bonded leather.
  • Suede Leather: Suede has a soft, napped surface that is more delicate than smooth leather. Using a suede brush or a white vinegar solution can help lift ink stains from suede.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Let’s explore some common mistakes to avoid when removing ink from a leather purse:

Using Harsh Chemicals: One big mistake is reaching for harsh chemicals in a panic. I’ve made this blunder before and ended up with a discolored patch on my favorite purse. It’s crucial to remember that leather is delicate and requires gentle treatment.

Over-Saturating with Liquid: Always use minimal liquid. A little goes a long way, and too much can damage the leather’s natural texture.

Skipping the Patch Test: Always test on an inconspicuous area. Think of it as a mini dress rehearsal before the main event.

Rubbing Vigorously: It can make matters worse by spreading the ink further into the leather. Instead, gently blot the stain with a clean cloth to absorb as much ink as possible.

Ignoring the Conditioner: Conditioning is like a spa day for your leather. It restores moisture and keeps it looking fabulous. Don’t skip this pampering step.

Preventing Future Ink Stains

Here are some strategies to keep ink stains at bay:

1. Cover Those Pens

Wrap your pens and markers in stylish pen sleeves or pouches before putting them in your purse. This simple step adds a layer of protection and prevents accidental leaks.

2. Storage is Key

Treat your leather items like royalty when not in use. Wrap them in soft dust bags or display them away from harsh sunlight and moisture.

3. Keep It Clean

Schedule regular cleaning and conditioning sessions for your leather items to keep them looking fresh.

A well-maintained leather piece is less susceptible to stains of any kind

4. Be Mindful of Ink

Handle ink-containing items, such as newspapers or freshly printed documents, with care when they come into contact with your leather accessories.

5. Act Fast

Accidents happen, we get it. But when a spill occurs, don’t panic.

Grab a clean cloth and gently blot the area to soak up the excess ink. 

Source: Leather Touchup Dye YT Channel


In conclusion, removing ink stains from a leather purse can be tricky, but with the right tools and techniques, it is possible to restore your beloved accessory to its former glory.

Whether you opt for natural remedies like rubbing alcohol or professional products specifically designed for leather, always test any solution on a small area first to avoid any potential damage.

Take your time, be patient, and work gently to lift the ink stain without causing harm to the leather.

With persistence and care, you can bid farewell to that stubborn ink mark and enjoy your purse looking as good as new.

Resources Consulted

James Chiles

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