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How To Get Ink Out Of Carpet

Pens may be one of the greatest inventions of humankind, but they can be a real mess. 

Cleaning the carpet with a gun for washing high pressure water. House cleaning. Outdoors.

They often leave behind ink stains when they are not capped properly or when the tip breaks off. And removing ink stains can be a real nuisance — especially if you have a white carpet at home. 

So whether the culprit is a leaked ballpoint pen or a toddler who spilled a jar of ink on the carpet, there’s no reason to fret. This article will guide you through the entire process of removing persistent ink stains from your favorite carpet. 

Indeed, we will cover everything in this article, from the type of ink stains to effective cleaning hacks that can help you remove them from the carpet. So, without wasting any more time, let us get on with it! 

How To Get Ink Out Of Carpet 

cleaning and home concept - close up of male cleaning stain on carpet with cloth

What Causes Permanent Ink Stains On Carpets? 

Any type of pen ink or printing ink is made from dyes for marking or staining. Needless to say, ink stains can be very persistent, and it can be a backbreaking task to try and remove them from clothing or rugs. 

But before attempting to remove these notorious blobs, you must know the reason why ink causes such persistent stains. 

When the surface is a piece of white paper, the staining from the ink is absolutely fine. But, if the surface is your new carpet or your favorite shirt, it indeed becomes a bit messy. Additionally, carpets are more prone to staining because of the carpet fibers. The ink dye seeps through the threads and spreads across the rug, leaving a persistent blotch.  

Ink Stain Types

Even though all ink stains might look the same to you, it is not always so. So, before you try to remove one, it might be a good idea to identify what type of ink stain it is. 

Inks are either made from a water-based or oil-based liquid. Either way, they contain coloring pigments that spread through the carpet fibers, and the stain persists. Anyhow, here are a few common types of ink stains and some tips on how to remove them.  

1. Ballpoint Pen Ink Stains

Who doesn’t like a good ballpoint pen to jot down some quick lecture notes? Ballpoint pens are the most commonly used pens — students love them, and so do professionals. But, when it comes to ink stains from ballpoint pens, you’ve got a whole different story. 

Ballpoint ink stains are bold and long-lasting because they are oil-based to add extra clarity while you write on a piece of paper. Naturally, these ballpoint ink stains are persistent and harder to remove. 

But, it is very much possible to clean the stains using the right tricks. For example, you can use cornstarch to treat the color, slowing the drying time and making it easier to remove. So remember, cornstarch is your go-to home remedy for oil-based inks. 

2. Water-Based Gel Ink Stains

Remember those bright and pretty pens that you loved so much during your kindergarten days? All those fancy metallic pens usually have water-based gel inks. That said, the water-based ink stains from these gel pens are much easier to clean than their oil-based counterparts.

However, these gel inks are not waterproof, so it is always a risk to use them for writing important notes. At the same time, this very characteristic comes as a boon when you’re removing any gel ink stain. 

Indeed, you can simply use soapy water to rub off the stain from your carpet. 

Additionally, for glitter pens that contain water-based inks, it is best to brush off the glitter before you try and remove the stains. After all, you don’t want the glitter to create a complete mess on your carpet. 

3. Fountain Pen Ink Stains

Fountain pens are essentially the new-age version of the traditional ink and quill. Even though the new pens do not leak as much as the old ones, refilling any fountain pen can still be a messy affair. 

Moreover, the reserve at the back of the pen often breaks, and the metallic tip is prone to leaking, which often spells trouble for your clothes or your carpet. So, it is best to have some cleaning tricks up your sleeve when you’re dealing with fountain pens. 

These pens use water-based inks, making it easy to remove the ink stains in case of any unprecedented leaks. Also, it is easy to remove minor water-based ink stains, but more prominent stains can be a problem. So, it would help if you took extra precautions while using fountain pens to avoid getting large ink stains on your carpet or study table. 

4. Printer Ink Stains 

While working in an office, you often have to change the toner cartridges in printers and copiers. This everyday task can easily become a nightmare if the office floor is adorned with a carpet or rug. 

The ink in these toner cartridges can be liquid inks or powder inks. In the case of liquid ink, removing the ink from the carpet is comparatively easier. All you have to do is dab or gently blot the liquid ink stain before applying any chemicals to remove it from the carpet. Keep in mind that it might leave a permanent mark if the printer ink is not removed quickly. 

On the other hand, you’ll have to take an extra step to remove the stains if you are dealing with a printer powder ink stain. That said, you need to gently vacuum the affected area from the top to get rid of the powder before rubbing it off the carpet. 

What Can Be Used For Removing Ink Stains?

Once you know the type of ink stain, you can apply different products to clean off the stain from the carpet. In this section, we’ve highlighted some of the most widely used products for removing ink stains from carpet. 

Let us take a look! 

1. Rubbing Alcohol

Using rubbing alcohol is probably the easiest trick there is when you’re dealing with stubborn stains. All you need to do is pour alcohol on a piece of paper towel and dab the stain gently without scrubbing it. If you scrub it, the stain will spread and cause a bigger mess. 

Also, use some alcohol to soak the carpet fibers. It will help you to get the deeper stains off the carpet. Next, you can use hand sanitizers or denatured alcohol for the cleaning. Denatured alcohol is more potent and does a better job than hand sanitizers. But, it is also toxic, so you need to use it very carefully. 

2. Vinegar

Well, if you don’t have any alcohol in the house, we suggest you raid the kitchen and find some vinegar to do the trick. Indeed, white vinegar can do magic when it comes to removing any stains. 

Moreover, using baking soda with vinegar is one of the best deep cleaning tricks that exist for removing stains from carpets and rugs. That said, you can add some baking soda with the vinegar to remove every single inch of that persistent stain. Plus, applying vinegar on the stained area won’t cause any damage or discoloration to the carpet. 

3. Dishwashing Liquid

If you don’t want to use alcohol or vinegar on your favorite rug, go for some good old dishwashing liquid to take off the stubborn ink stains. It;’s worth noting that dishwashing liquids are safe to use as they do not contain any harmful and toxic chemicals. 

And since they are strong enough to clean food stains from your dinner plates, they may just as easily remove ink stains from the carpet — albeit with a little elbow grease.

4. Carpet Shampoo

If you own a carpet, you are most likely to have a carpet shampoo hidden somewhere in the basement. And if you don’t have a bottle, you can always visit any departmental store to get some. It is relatively affordable and specifically designed to clean any and all sorts of carpet stains.

However, be sure to carefully read the instructions provided on the shampoo bottle and apply a generous amount of the product to the stained area. Perhaps, carpet shampoo may prove to be the most hassle-free method to clean your carpets — who would’ve imagined? 

5. Windex

Even though Windex is a window cleaner, it can work wonders on your carpet stains. The ammonia present in Windex can remove even the most stubborn and persistent ink stains from carpets. 

Be careful while applying Windex on your carpet, as too much of it can damage the carpet. However, it can be a bit strong and can ruin the carpet fibers. So, it is best to dilute it with water before spraying it on the stained area of the carpet. 

6. WD-40 Lubricant

Industry-grade and widely popular lubricants like WD-40 are not only effective in removing little elbow grease but also helpful in getting rid of an ink stain from the carpet. However, before applying a strong lubricant like WD-40 on your favorite carpet, test it on an inconspicuous area of the rug to ensure it doesn’t ruin the carpet fibers. 

After you’ve done the test run, spray the lubricant on the stained area. Wipe the area with some soapy water and paper towel before finally rinsing it off. Let the carpet dry, and wait for the magical effect of WD-40 on the persistent ink stain. 

7. Peroxide And Bleach

Both peroxide and bleach are superb cleaning solutions, especially when you’re dealing with a stubborn ink stain. Compared to bleach, peroxide is less harsh and toxic, so it is much safer to say if you have children running around the house. 

However, both these cleaning solutions are specially designed to use on white-colored fabrics as they cause discoloration on their application. So, if you have a beautifully colored carpet, we suggest you steer clear of these cleaning agents. Moreover, you also risk damaging the carpet fibers if you use too much bleach or peroxide while cleaning the ink stain. 

8. Shaving Cream

It might come as a surprise to you, but shaving cream actually works really well on an ink stain. But make sure to use a foamy shaving cream instead of a gel. Also, go for a white foam rather than choosing a tinted one for removing the stain. 

You can simply spray the white foamy cream on the stained area and gently pat it. Let the stained area soak in the foamy cream for a while before using some warm water to rinse it off. The alcohol present in the shaving cream will work wonders in removing the ink stain from your favorite carpet. 

What Are The Steps To Remove Ink Stains?

Knowing about the right products or chemicals that can help on removing an ink stain isn’t enough. You also need to know about the right methods to carry out the process. And in this section, we’ll talk about four essential steps for cleaning that persistent ink stain from your favorite rug. 

Step 1: Control Spreading Of Stain

All types of inks are liquid and can spread very quickly by seeping inside the carpet fibers. Thus, the first step in getting rid of the ink stain is to stop the stain from spreading across the carpet. It is important that you don’t step on the stain as it will help in spreading it. 

Also, try to avoid rubbing the stain to wipe it off the carpet. You’ll only make it worse. You can gently pat the stained area, but do not scrub it. Instead, place a clean and dry paper towel to soak up the extra stain. Moreover, if it’s an oil-based ink stain, try dabbing the stained area with some cornstarch to prevent the ink from drying up. 

Step 2: Soak The Stain

The next step will require you to get your hands wet. In this step, you need to work on preventing the ink from binding permanently with the carpet fibers. If you do not soak the stain with a cleaning liquid, there’s a fat chance of getting permanent stains on the carpet. This is the step where you get to apply the cleaning agents that we talked about earlier. 

You can use the usual alcohol and vinegar or even go for stronger agents like WD-40 or Windex if you have a more persistent stain. Alternatively, you can also use bleach or peroxide, but only if your carpet is white. Also, be careful while soaking the stain so that you don’t damage the carpet in return. 

Step 3: Scrub It

Once you have soaked the stained area of the carpet with the cleaning agent, it’s time to get scrubbing. Use a soft brush and scrub the stained area from outside to inside to limit the spread of the stain. The stain will be deeper as you go further in that carpet area. 

Once you’ve thoroughly scrubbed the area, use a dry and clean cloth or paper towel to gently dab the area and lift the pigments off of the carpet surface. You can also clean any loosened stain from the carpet using a dry paper towel. After all the pigments and loose stains have been scrubbed, you can wash the carpet with carpet shampoo or dishwashing liquid. 

Step 4: Vacuum And Let It Dry

Now, it is time for the last and final step of this entire cleaning ordeal. Once you have scrubbed the stained area and washed the carpet, you have to vacuum it using a vacuum cleaner and let it dry for a while. 

After the carpet has dried up, you can assess the ink stain and decide whether the carpet needs any more cleaning. If more cleaning is required, repeat all the steps from the beginning. Otherwise, you can keep the carpet back to where it belongs. 

How To Get Ink Out Of Carpet Frequently Asked Questions

A bad ink stain on your favorite carpet can ruin your entire day. You’re most likely to spend hours and hours searching the internet to get some easy Do It Yourself cleaning tricks and hacks to remove that ink stain from the carpet. So, to help you, we’ll be answering some of the most commonly asked questions in this section. 

Q1. How To Remove Old Or Dry Ink Stains?

You can simply use alcohol or denatured alcohol to soak the dry or old ink stain and then rub it off gently without causing any damage to the carpet fibers. Gently dab the stained area with alcohol and a clean paper towel or cloth. Wipe off the alcohol after scrubbing, and leave the carpet to dry.

Q2. Can I Use Baking Soda For Removing Ink Stains?

Yes, you can use baking soda to remove any new ink stain from the carpet or rug. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda with warm water and gently apply the mixture to the stained carpet area. Let the baking soda mixture soak the stain for a while before scrubbing it with a brush. Then finally, vacuum the dried baking soda mixture.

Q3. Is There Any Organic Non-Chemical Technique For Removing Ink Stains?

If you are not a huge fan of chemicals, you can use some salt and fresh lemon juice to clean off an ink stain from the carpet. Simply add some salt with fresh lemon juice, and apply the paste to the stain. Let the paste sit for some time, and then dab it gently with some water and a clean white cloth. Finally, vacuum the carpet and brush off the excess salt.

Professional worker doing his job at carpet washing service. How To Get Ink Out Of Carpet


After going through the article, we hope you are a bit more confident about cleaning that stubborn ink stain off your favorite carpet. Simply follow the steps that we’ve covered in this article, and you’ll be just fine. 

But we’ll suggest you be a bit cautious while using the cleaning agents because some of them might contain toxic chemicals. Also, test the cleaning agents before spraying them on the carpet to ensure that they do not cause any damage to the carpet fibers.

And on that note, we’ll be signing off. Until next time!

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