How to remove a pen stain from a hard surface

That mess on the wall might resemble a piece of abstract art — but removing it will be the real masterpiece

Two kids doodling on the hard surface with crayons, leaving pen stains.

Maybe your housemate got a little too carried away with their love poetry and ended up scrawling over the table with their finest fountain pen. 

Or maybe you’ve got a young artisté in the family who wants their first museum piece to be titled ‘Dancing Dinosaurs, on house wall, by Jessica, aged 6’. 

Whatever’s happened – knowing how to remove a pen stain is the true art form. 

In this handy guide we’ll show you how to get rid of those nasty blemishes, including how to get rid of pen marks on wood, walls and floors, and remove ballpoint pen stain smudges from plastic. Read on to remove ink stain marks with ease. 

1. Removing pen stain marks from wooden furniture

Whether it’s a crossword that’s gone out of control on the table, or a ballpoint pen cracking and spurting ink all over an armchair, knowing how to remove ink stain marks from wood will help you get rid of the inky marks 

Once you’ve got all the ink off your hand (If you managed to avoid this – well done), blot up any excess ink with some kitchen paper. To lift the rest of the stain, soak a new piece of kitchen paper in hot water and leave it over the ink mark. Let it soak in before using another piece to dry.

If that stain won't shift, or to just finish the job, the following steps should help you remove pen stain marks from wood:

  • Use warm water and detergent, wiping on the soapy solution with a piece of kitchen paper.
  • Rinse off and thoroughly dry.
  • If that hasn’t worked, you can try a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to try to lift the stain.
  • If the stain still hasn’t gone you can lightly sand the affected area with fine grit paper and then oil or wax immediately after. Test this method on a small, hidden area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the finish.
  • Remember that accidents happen and that a loved one creating an ink stain on your chair/sofa/grandfather clock makes it a one-of-a-kind special 

2. Remove ballpoint pen stain marks from plastic 

A toy, tablecloth or plastic cover – it’s fairly inevitable that sooner or later you’ll need to remove ballpoint pen stains from plastic. Here’s how: 

  • Start off by scrubbing with hot water and detergent; if that doesn’t work, you’ll need to try something stronger 
  • Rubbing alcohol and vinegar contain properties that can be very good at removing pen stain from plastic. Just make sure you test on a small area first, and thoroughly rinse off after use 
  • However, you decide to try to remove ballpoint pen stains, start off gently and work in small circles 

3. Pen stain removal on hard floors

Has someone drawn ‘road markings’ onto the floor with pen to help you find your way around the house? It’s the thought that counts. If you need to remove pen stain blemishes on hard floors, here’s how:

  • Start off by blotting up as much ink as you can.
  • Take your specialist floor cleaner or a little rubbing alcohol and gently wipe away at the stain.
  • Repeat as necessary, rinse thoroughly and dry.
  • With laminate flooring you can try spraying a little hairspray or make-up remover onto a kitchen towel and wipe.

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Plenty The Original One can take you through the whole task of removing pen stain marks from floors and furniture. First use it to blot the ink, and then soak a fresh sheet in hot water to clean without scratching. You can also use the super strong and absorbent paper to apply a specialist cleaning solution for stubborn stains.

4. How to remove a pen stain from walls

Painting a wall is a good bit of DIY. Drawing all over a wall is more like ‘DI-why didn’t we buy just one more colouring book…’. But removing pen stain ‘art’ on walls can be achieved with a few easy-to-find household products: 

  • Hairspray. A product that contains alcohol can do wonders. Spray a little onto a white cloth or Plenty Flexisheets and work at the stain gently. Be patient and repeat the process several times, wiping with a clean piece of kitchen paper with each attempt.
  • Toothpaste. White toothpaste on white walls! Rub a little toothpaste into the stain and leave for 10 minutes before wiping off.

With any cleaning solution, always test on small area first, whatever the surface.

Now you know how to remove a pen stain from different surfaces, the sight of pen on a fresh surface won’t make you consider chaining all of your ballpoint pens to a wall like a bank does… 

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