How to remove ink, biro & ballpoint pen marks from leather

Before starting to remove pen marks, it is first important to identify the type of leather. Incorrect cleaning methods or products can increase the damage. We distinguish between the following types of leather when cleaning such stains:

Pigmented leather: Pigmented smooth leather is leather with a protective layer of paint on the surface. They are not porous so a drop of water when rubbed on the surface does not sink into the leather but rolls off. Pigmented leathers generally have a satin finish and a grained surface.

Aniline leather is porous, smooth leather, and liquids penetrate and darken the area.

Suede is the backside of a smooth leather or both sides of spilt leather. They are extremely sensitive and porous.

Nubuck is the sanded grain side of a smooth leather to create a soft, velvety effect. Just as Suede, they are extremely sensitive and porous.

PU-Leather / Bycast leather / Bicast leather is a split leather (suede) with a grained film of polyurethane applied to the surface. Such leather is usually shiny and plastic-like.

BIRO MARKS

BIRO MARKS ON PIGMENTED LEATHER


Pen marks on furniture and car leather are common. Unfortunately, these are not always easily removable by standard cleaning products

Please note the following:

  • The fresher a pen mark is, the easier it is to remove. When the pen mark is older than three days, it is rarely possible to just clean and remove the mark. In most cases, this will have to be coloured.
  • Bigger marks and scribbles on large areas are much harder to remove.
  • Cleaning trials with incorrect products can often increase the damage.


Procedure:

  • Always test first in a hidden area. Ideally, replicate the same problem by creating a similar mark in a hidden area and clean strongly to experience what could happen in the visible area. If it’s easy to clean, there is no big risk.
  • Some pens lose a lot of ink. To avoid spreading the ink, glue a masking tape on the top and remove several times to drain any excess ink.
  • Next step is the use of the COLOURLOCK Ballpoint Pen Remover. Press and hold the tip until the tip gets wet.
  • Remove the ink stains with light circular movements in a small radius and little pressure. The liquid softens the area and dissolves the ink.
  • Always remove dissolved ink with a cloth to avoid staining the remaining area and also to see the progress better. Also clean the tip if necessary. The tip of the pen is designed to work on both sides so if necessary remove, turn upside down and re-insert.
  • Repeat the process and slightly increase the pressure if necessary.
  • Older stains can hardly be removed without damaging the colour layer on the leather. In such cases, the colour will also need to be touched up. Ink stains that are not fresh have a tendency to penetrate back out even after the leather is recoloured. It is therefore essential to clean as thoroughly as possible prior to recolouring.

How to remove ink, biro & ballpoint pen marks from leather

How to remove ink, biro & ballpoint pen marks from leather

How to remove ink, biro & ballpoint pen marks from leather

BIRO MARKS ON ANILINE LEATHER

Aniline leathers are very sensitive and porous. Pen marks usually cannot be removed without the help of an expert. The risk of increasing the damage is very high. Always test first in a hidden area and use masking tape to cover unaffected areas. Fine sand the mark if absolutely necessary. Rub gently and work with extreme care and precision. The use of COLOURLOCK Ball Point Pen Remover would only cause further stains. Leather Fresh can only help on one tone leather. It is very rare to resolve this with aniline. If in doubt, consult a specialist.

BIRO MARKS ON SUEDE OR NUBUCK

Suede and Nubuck have a velvet surface. Pen marks usually cannot be removed without the help of an expert and the risk of increasing the damage is also very high. Always test first in a hidden area and use masking tape to cover unaffected areas. Sanding with the COLOURLOCK Leather Sanding Pad can be tested too, as the surface is a sanded surface. Rub gently and work with extreme care and precision. Always work from seam to seam. Stop in time, even if small marks remain. The use of COLOURLOCK Ball Point Pen Remover would only cause further stains. A colour repair is not possible.

BIRO MARKS ON PU LEATHER

Most PU leather (bycast/bicast leather) are dark and strokes from ballpoint pens are not so visible. Cleaning the strokes takes the risk of damaging the foil on the suede. Always test in a hidden area first and don’t press or rub too hard. Stop in time, even if the mark is visible. A good colour repair is only possible if the leather is monochrome.

STAINS ON PIGMENTED LEATHER

The procedure is the same as the one with biro marks on pigmented leather. Follow the relevant recommendation provided above. In the case of small single pen marks, the COLOURLOCK Ballpoint Pen Remover is the correct product to use. Smudged ink stains should be treated using COLOURLOCK GLD Solvent. In some cases, the area will need to be touched up with COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh. Protect the cleaned area with COLOURLOCK Leather Shield when finished.

BIGGER MARKS & STAINS ON ANILINE LEATHER

Aniline leather is very sensitive due to the open pores. Strokes and spots usually cannot be removed without the help of an expert. The risk of increasing the damage is very high.

BIGGER MARKS & STAINS ON PU LEATHER

The procedure is as with pigmented leather. Work carefully and test in a hidden area first!

INK STAINS

Lighter ink stains on pigmented leather can be removed like ballpoint pen marks on pigmented leather. COLOURLOCK GLD Solvent is the first choice. Follow the manual for discolouration.

When ink stains sink into the leather, it will need to be treated professionally. Please contact us so we can refer you to someone in your area.  

Large ink stains on suede and nubuck can't be saved even by experts. Please email us photos so we can assist you. 

Recommended products

Leather Sanding Pad
The Leather Sanding Pad is ideal for:  Smoothing rough areas before applying COLOURLOCK Leather Fresh or COLOURLOCK Liquid Leather. Cleaning greasy areas on nubuck and suede. Careful sanding during professional colouring in the workshop. Amount: 1 piece. One pad is sufficient for a complete set of furniture or car interior.; Pack of 5 Application Rub the leather gently with the pad in a circular motion. Avoid gouging and deep scratches. Both faces of the pad can be used. It can be washed out with water.  Before colouring nappa leather, the surfaces should be sanded carefully. Our Leather Sanding Pad is ideal for this step.

US$5.40*
Details
Refresher for scratches
Leather Fresh Dye
Leather Fresh is a colour refresher (dye) for scratches, worn, or faded leather. Leather Fresh is ideal to refresh colour damages on car leather, furniture leather, leather garments and handbags. Do not use on porous leathers unless colouring the entire surface - it can make the surface appear patchy. It can be sponged on or sprayed using an airbrush.  Application Always test any products first on a hidden area to test for colour match!Firstly, clean the leather thoroughly and prepare the surface. Use Mild Leather Cleaner for normal degrees of soiling or Strong Leather Cleaner to remove heavier dirt (where the leather has been neglected for many years). Cleaning prior to treatment ensures the paint bonds to the surface well and ensures durability. Use Leather Cleaning Brush to effectively remove all ingrained dirt. Cleaning removes dirt but for long lasting results you should also de-grease using Leather Cleaning Spirit.Use a sponge to apply the colour evenly, working from seam to seam. Dry afterwards with a hair dryer. On small spots, a one application is sufficient. Apply multiple thin layers and dry each layer using a hair dryer.A day later, after it dries, apply Leather Protector. It gives the leather a good sheen and helps blend the repair. It contains antioxidants, which stops the leather's decay, and its UV filters protect the surfaces of old and valuable leathers from bleaching and fading. Also keeps the leather supple.  46 standard colours and prepare special colours according to sample or manufacturer name.
Standard-F-Colours

Content: 150 ml (US$21.60* / 100 ml)

Variants from US$12.00*
US$32.40*
Details
Ball Point Pen Remover
Removes ballpoint pen marks and similar discolouration from pigmented top-grain leather.Ballpoint pen marks are not easy to remove from furniture and car leather. If the mark is fresh, there is a better chance of cleaning it off but, if it has been there for more than three days, the area will have to be coloured. ApplicationBefore starting to remove pen marks, first identify the type of leather. Incorrect cleaning methods can increase the damage. We distinguish between the following types of leather when cleaning stains and marks:Pigmented leather: Pigmented smooth leather is leather with a protective layer of paint on the surface. A drop of water rubbed in does not sink into the leather but rolls off. Pigmented leathers generally have a satin finish and a grained surface.Aniline leather is porous, smooth leather. A drop of water rubbed in will penetrate and darken the surface.Suede is the reverse side of a smooth leather or both sides of split leather.Nubuck is the sanded grain side of a smooth leather to create a soft, velvety effect.PU-Leather / Bycast leather / Bicast leather is a split leather (suede) with a grained film of polyurethane applied to the surface. Such leather is usually shiny with a plastic-like appearance. STROKES FROM BALLPOINT PENS STROKES FROM BALLPOINT PENS ON PIGMENTED LEATHER Ballpoint pen lines on furniture and car leather occur quite often. Unfortunately, these are not always easily removable.Please note the following: The fresher a ballpoint pen mark is, the easier it is to remove. When the ballpoint pen mark is older than three days, it is rarely possible to just clean and remove the mark. In most cases, this will have to be coloured. Whole drawings by children are much more difficult to remove than short lines. Cleaning attempts with the wrong products often increase the damage. Procedure: Always test first on a hidden area. Ideally, draw a line on this hidden area and clean vigorously, to give you an idea how effective it would be on the visible area. If it’s easy to clean, there should be no cause for concern. Some pens lose a lot of ink. To avoid spreading the ink, absorb the excess using masking tape. Next apply the Ballpoint Pen Remover. Press and hold the tip until it gets wet. Remove the ink stains with light circular movements, across a small radius and with little pressure. The liquid softens the area and dissolves the ink. Always remove dissolved ink with a cloth to avoid the stain spreading and clean the tip if necessary. The tip of the pen is designed to work on both sides so you can turn it upside down and re-insert, as required. Repeat the process and, if necessary, slightly increase the pressure. Older stains cannot be removed without damaging the leather’s colour so you will need to re-colour the affected area. Old ink stains tend to penetrate back out even after the leather is re-coloured. It is therefore essential to clean as thoroughly as possible prior to re-colouring. Sanding Pad can be tested too, as the surface is a sanded surface. Rub gently and work with extreme care and precision. Always work from seam to seam. If there is a danger of damaging the leather, stop, even if a light shadow remains. A colour repair is not possible.   STROKES FROM BALLPOINT PENS ON PU LEATHER Most PU leathers (bycast/bicast leather) are dark and strokes from ballpoint pens are not so visible. Cleaning off the strokes risks damaging the foil on the suede. Always test on a hidden area first and don’t press or rub too hard. If there is a danger of damaging the leather, stop, even if the mark is visible. A colour repair is only possible if the leather is monochrome. STROKES FROM FIBRE PENS OR OTHER PENS AND INK STAINS STROKES AND SPOTS ON PIGMENTED LEATHER Ballpoint Pen Remover for pen lines. Where the pen strokes have smeared, use GLD Solvent. Cover any remaining traces with Leather Fresh then apply Leather Shield protector. STROKES AND SPOTS ON ANILINE LEATHER Aniline leather is very sensitive due to the open pores. Strokes and spots usually cannot be removed without the help of an expert. The risk of increasing the damage is very high. STROKES AND SPOTS ON SUEDE OR NUBUCK Cleaning does not provide the desired result as the ink sinks into the fibres. You can attempt to remove the discolouration very carefully with the Sanding Pad. Intensive colourations can’t be removed. Ask an expert for advice. STROKES AND SPOTS ON PU LEATHER The procedure is the same as for pigmented leather. Work carefully and test on a hidden area first. INK STAINS Lighter ink stains on pigmented leather can be removed in the same way as ballpoint pen marks on pigmented leather. GLD Solvent is the first choice. Follow the instructions for discolouration.When ink stains sink into smooth leather, only experts can help. Sometimes the ink can be absorbed as much as possible and be blocked before a re-colouration.Most ink stains on suede and nubuck can't be treated even by experts.

US$22.20*