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getting ink pen out of leather seats


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#1 billsws6

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 10:50 AM

some idiot had a pen in their back pocket and got black ink on my tan leather seats. i havent tried to get it out yet. i am wondering what the best way to remove it would be? i have zaino leather cleaner would that work?

#2 twitch

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:09 AM

I'm interested as well. I did a Honda Pilot this weekend that had a pen line of about 8" or so.

I tried Woolite 4:1, APC, and steam. Nothing touched it. I also did not want to get too aggressive because I had some transfer to the white towel that I was using. Initially I thought it was picking up dirt but I have a sneaking suspicion that it was dye transfer.
Scott - 04 G35 6MT Coupe - Club Flex

#3 jedovaty

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 12:22 PM

If it's ball-point ink, then a cotton ball with IPA (iso propyl alcohol). I get 90% IPA from the drugstore. The other concentrations may or may not work.

IPA can dry out or damage leather, make absolutely sure you try it on a small area that's out of the way and not visible before you do anything.

Also available in the search :)

#4 VroomVroom

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 02:17 PM

Obviously it depends on the leather and what's on top of it, but I've had good success with a clay bar.
-- Jerry
I'm CDO. It's like OCD, but in the correct alphabetical order.
What else I do...
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

#5 howareb

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 02:26 PM

Depending on the leather, I have used this with success: Leather Master Ink Lifter


This may also work, but it is fairly new offering by ADS, so I have not gotten a chance to try it out. Professional Ink Remover.

#6 pampos

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 06:45 PM

Happened on my Honda leather seat and i removed it by 90% alcohol(IPA?).Nothing else done anything.just damp a clothe (white to not color the seat) with a very small quantity of IPA and wipe it softly until the ink has gone.follow up with a leather care cream just to protect it and make it soft prevent it from possible cracking.
Work fine for me,hope that help.
I AM HERE TO LEARN!!!!

#7 brwill2005

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 07:18 PM

It really depends on the ink. What essentially happens is the ink dyes the leather. Most things that can remove the ink, can also remove the leathers coating(dye). Usually it requires as strong solvent. I would try and clean it with a mild detergent; you may get lucky it comes right off. If not, consult a professional.
Brad Will- Owner
Reflections Auto Salon LLC

#8 jayjacque

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 08:15 PM

It really depends on the ink. What essentially happens is the ink dyes the leather. Most things that can remove the ink, can also remove the leathers coating(dye). Usually it requires as strong solvent. I would try and clean it with a mild detergent; you may get lucky it comes right off. If not, consult a professional.


I agree. Usually ink doesn't lift out clean without taking some of the finish with it. Once in awhile you get lucky, maybe because there was some armor-all or conditioner underneath it acting as a shield.

#9 judyb

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Posted 21 April 2008 - 11:15 PM

Ink is not a straight forward cleaning problem. As has been said the ink has redyed the leather so needs careful removal.

If the ink is on a pigmented leather, as in most cars, then the first thing you should try is an ink stick (find one that is a professional product used in the industry). The fresher the ink the more chance you have of removing it.

If an ink stick doesn't work a solvent based remover will need to be used and it may also remove finish and pigment which would then need to be replaced.

There are a lot of products that people suggest will work for ink removal but these all have their hidden problems:

Using hairspray/WD40 and other solvent cleaners is very risky as it can make the matter far worse as it can spread the ink over a bigger area and can sometimes then be impossible to fix.

Using alcohol, perfume, etc. can also be a little risky depending on how stable the finish is. If the finish is unstable this would remove pigment form the leather.

Nail varnish remover or any other solvents will also remove the finish and pigment which will need replacing.

DO NOT USE Baby wipes as they are about the worst thing you can use on a leather as they break down the finish and will eventually ruin it.

Please do not try milk or toothpaste!!! these are silly ideas that will leave sticky residues on the surface which will help to break down the finish on your leather.

MAGIC ERASERS should not be used to clean leather in any circumstances (we have just tested these) and they will remove finish and pigment along with the ink. They act like a fine sandpaper and will remove the finish along with the ink.

Old ink will be harder to remove than new ink and may mean resorting to specific leather solvents which will also remove the finish.

Silicones/furniture polish should not be used on leather as they will form a coating on the surface of the leather which will not allow any moisture to get to the leather and will eventually break all the finish down and make it crack.

Hide food will not remove ink and will leave residues on the leather which will attract dirt and oils.

Using a good quality leather protector (one that works) will help make this problem easier should it happen again, it also does your leather good by protecting it against oils and dirt which ultimately make the pigment crack and the leather deteriorate.

Good Luck

#10 GatorJ

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 03:18 AM

Try a solvent based ink remover in a hidden area of the leather to see what effect it has on the leather and its finish. These products are generally found in the laundry section. You might want to consider buying several types so you experiment until you find one that is effective on the ink and safe for your leather. Have plenty of white absorbing towels available so you can immediately blot up the ink as it releases. You do not want to spread it. After it is removed, thoroughly clean the leather and condition/protect it.

#11 VroomVroom

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 06:58 AM

JudyB - thanks for the great info. Seems like every time this question pops up I go looking for the rare gems like your post...and I never seem to find them. :) Your info is being pasted into my documentation "arsenal."

I hate leather questions like this because no one ever asks us what to do right after they've run that ball point across the driver's seat. "How long has it been on there?" is the first question I think to ask, and inevitably the answer is, "Oh...I don't know...a few weeks or a month, maybe." Argh!
-- Jerry
I'm CDO. It's like OCD, but in the correct alphabetical order.
What else I do...
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

#12 billsws6

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Posted 22 April 2008 - 01:37 PM

thanks for the reply's, it is actually my wifes car and i have no idea how long the ink has been there. we just got the car 2 months ago so the time frame is less than that. i will let you know how i make out.

#13 phrider

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Posted 23 April 2008 - 09:56 AM

I suggest you look into the Spinneybeck kit offered by LeatherZ - How to Care for Leather

Spinneybeck kit including ink remover:
LeatherZ: Spinneybeck Leather Maintenance Kit

The source:
Spinneybeck - The Best Leather In Any Color - Product List




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