Top Methods to Get Ink Out of Real, Faux & Suede Leather Purse

Ink stains are very obvious on leather items and they can leave a permanent mark if you’ve left it to dry out. If you own a leather purse, you’re probably aware that your purse can be at risk for any kind of stains, especially ink stains from the pens you bring with you everywhere. If you’re dealing with an ink stain problem right now, don’t worry because this article will walk you through the steps on how to fix it and bring back the pristine condition of your purse.

Can ink leave stains on leather?

Definitely. The ink from pens can leave permanent stains on leather if you leave it untreated for a long time. Even if you get ink stains from non-permanent markers, it can still cause quite a lot of hassle to remove. That is why we recommend immediately working on removing the ink stain as soon as you spot it so you won’t have a hard time later on.

Can I get ink off of a leather purse

Yes, even though it can be a tedious task, you can still remove ink stains from your leather item. Whether you have a leather purse made from real leather, suede, or faux leather, if you do it right, you can still restore its brand-new condition. Just keep in mind that for different types of leather, there are also different types of cleaning methods because one method might be damaging for the wrong type of leather material.

For each cleaning solution that we’ll discuss below, we’ll also let you know whether it’s safe for the type of leather material your purse is made out of. If you need help figuring out what type of leather your purse is made of, you can check out our article on how to identify real leather using different methods.

How to get ink off of a leather purse

When it comes to removing ink from your leather purse, it can be quite difficult compared to removing ink from your clothes. With cotton fabrics, you can just use bleach and other stronger cleaning solutions.

For leather, you have to be very careful so as not to damage the material while you’re trying to remove ink stains. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much luck with popular cleaning leather cleaners like Leather Honey or special ink remover Amodex.

The first thing you should do if you spot an ink stain on your leather purse is to use a dry paper towel or tissue to blot away the fresh stain. As always, we don’t recommend wiping when it comes to stain removal as it may cause the stain to spread. However, if you’re dealing with a dried ink stain on leather, you can check out these methods below to fix it:

Mild soap and water – for faux and real leather

If you’re dealing with a mild ink stain that hasn’t fully dried yet or is not that visible, you can simply use this cleaning solution. Mild soap and water will do the job effectively for mild stains and there is only a minimal risk when it comes to this method. The most important thing to keep in mind here is that you should avoid soaking your leather purse and only use a damp cloth for removing the stain.

Things you will need:


  1. Inspect your leather purse to see how big the stain is and how deep it has penetrated. Remove any dirt and loose dust.
  2. For faux leather, since it’s made out of plastic, the ink might not have gone deep even if it has dried up so you can expect that it’s still manageable.
  3. For real leather, the ink can absorb into the fibers in just an hour or two so this might be a concern if it’s starting to dry up.
  4. Make the cleaning solution using mild soap (not strong soap or detergent) and mix it with water as indicated on the packaging.
  5. Dampen the microfiber cloth using the soap suds and gently wipe it on the area with ink stains. Wipe delicately so the stain won’t spread further.
  6. Once you’re done, go over the item with a dry soft cloth and let it air dry completely in a well-ventilated room.
  7. Apply leather conditioner to restore the moisture of your leather purse if it’s made out of real or genuine leather.

Rubbing alcohol – for faux and real leather

Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol is an effective cleaning solution used to remove a lot of stains on leather. You can use this method if you’re dealing with a stubborn ink stain that can’t be removed using a mild soap solution. Here’s how:

Things you will need:


  1. Clean the surface of your leather purse and blot off the excess ink stain using paper towels.
  2. Mix rubbing alcohol with equal parts of water to dilute it. Directly applying rubbing alcohol to your leather purse can cause dryness and make it susceptible to cracking.
  3. Spray the cleaning solution onto the soft cloth or cotton swab and gently dab it on the areas with ink stains.
  4. Let the cloth absorb the ink stain from the leather and repeat the process as much as needed.
  5. Wipe off the excess cleaning solution using a dry cloth and let it air dry in an open area away from direct heat.
  6. Apply leather conditioner once you’re done to restore your leather purse’s suppleness and moisture.

Nail polish remover or perfume – for faux leather

If you’re wondering how nail polish or perfume can remove ink stains on leather, the answer is simple. They are both commonly acetone-based which is a chemical that can break down the ink molecules making them easier to remove using a cloth. However, acetone is a very strong cleaning solution so make sure to use it carefully and avoid using it directly on your leather purse.

Important notes:

  • We recommend only using this method for faux leather as it can damage, stain, and discolor real leather.
  • This method can be quite risky even for faux leather. However, it’s very effective so only do this if you’ve run out of options or if the ink stain is really bad.
  • Acetone can weaken the leather fibers or damage the protective layer of your faux leather material so be sure to do this as swiftly as you can.
  • If you insist on using it on real leather, make sure to apply leather conditioner afterward as acetone can be extremely drying to the leather fibers.

Things you will need:


  1. Remove any loose dirt and dust on your leather purse and inspect the areas with ink stains.
  2. Test in a hidden area if it causes any staining or discoloration.
  3. Apply the nail polish or cologne onto your faux leather purse and gently wipe off the stain as carefully as you can.
  4. You’ll notice that the stain will slowly start to lift off the leather surface after a few minutes so be patient and don’t rub on it harshly.
  5. Once the ink stain is removed, go over your purse with a water-dampened soft cloth to remove any acetone residue on the surface.

Sanding paper for suede

When it comes to ink stains on suede, we strongly suggest against using any of the methods above as any type of liquid on suede can cause staining and more damage. You can also use a rubber eraser as an alternative if you don’t have sanding paper, but it might not be as effective especially if the stains have already penetrated through the fibers.

Things you will need:


  1. Assess the severity of the ink stain. If it’s still a bit fresh, you can use the rubber eraser. If it has dried out, it’s best to opt for sanding paper.
  2. Do a spot test to see if the sanding paper will cause discoloration to your suede purse. Sometimes the friction can be damaging to suede so make sure to check if there are any loose fibers after sanding down a hidden spot.
  3. Buff the stain away, but don’t sand it down too hard. Just focus on the area intently using a circular motion and the ink stain will slowly wear away.
  4. Use a soft-bristled brush or a suede brush to restore the fluff of your suede purse.
  5. Apply a water-repellant spray to protect it from any spills and stains in the future.

Try professional dry cleaning

If none of the methods above is working, or you’re just not ready to risk your precious leather purse with D-I-Y methods, you can opt for professional dry cleaning services as they have the tools to get pen ink out from leather materials. You can also be at peace knowing that these professionals know all the tricks to get the job done effectively and safely.


It can be daunting dealing with stubborn stains like an ink stain on your leather item. However, there is no need to panic as most stain problems have a solution. Fret not– you don’t need to get rid of your leather purse or leather handbag if you find a huge ink stain on it because chances are, you can find the materials you need at home or from your local depot to fix the ink stain problem.


Does toothpaste remove ink from leather?

Yes, you can use toothpaste to remove ink stains on leather, especially on white leather. You should only use non-gel and white toothpaste as the others can mess with the leather dyes. For the application, you can directly apply the toothpaste onto the ink-stained area and leave it for a few minutes. After that, wipe it gently with a microfiber cloth and check to see if there are still stains. Repeat the process as necessary and apply some leather conditioner once you’re done.

Will rubbing alcohol damage leather?

Rubbing alcohol, if undiluted, can indeed damage leather as it can dry up the material easily. If you use undiluted alcohol directly onto your leather item, it will remove the protective layer and expose it to dryness which can cause cracking and peeling. However, diluting it and spraying it onto a soft cloth first will minimize its negative effects on leather.

Does hairspray remove ink from leather?

Yes, hairspray can remove ink from leather, but like the other methods, it is not guaranteed. For this cleaning solution, you can spray it at least 5 inches away from the leather surface. The hairspray will then break down the ink stain so you can remove it easily. Just make sure to blot the surface using a clean paper towel after to soak up the residues.

Does WD-40 remove ink from leather?

WD-40 is known for its capability to lubricate and even clean many things and surfaces. It’s also even popular among owners of leather work clothing and equipment as a conditioner. We wouldn’t really recommend this for aesthetic leather pieces or leather that isn’t brown or raw as it may interact with the dye. If you really want to use WD-40, you should test it in a discreet location first.

Will hand sanitizer remove ink from leather?

Yes, hand sanitizer can remove ink from leather. Hand sanitizers are sometimes formulated to be a bit milder than rubbing alcohol so they should work similarly. Only use this for real or faux leather and not on suede and nubuck as it can cause staining. You should also be careful as some sanitizers have colorings that can transfer onto your leather item. Always test it first on a hidden spot.


  • Luke

    With a 14-year journey dedicated to preserving and enhancing leather goods, his unwavering passion continues to fuel his expertise. When he's not immersed in the world of leather, you can find Luke enjoying exhilarating bicycle rides or exploring nature through invigorating hikes.

  • Ralf

    Ralf is a multifaceted creative enthusiast with a deep passion for various crafting hobbies, including sewing, pottery, and the captivating world of leathercraft.