It doesn’t really matter how it happened. It can be the fault of your overexcited toddler or your leaky ballpoint pen. Well, no matter who or what is to blame, dealing with ink stains in a carpet is often a nightmare. But if you know the type of ink you’re up against, it can actually be quite easy.

Your carpet goes through enormous wear and tear, but what really ruins it is the variety of stains that it encounters. While any spill can spoil the look of your carpet, there is nothing as formidable as an ink stain.

There are two types of inks that you might be dealing with: Water-based and non-water-based inks.

Water-based inks are considered temporary, as they can be dissolved in water. Any form of soap or detergent can be used to clean them. If particularly stubborn, you can use rubbing alcohol to lift out the stain. Inks in sketch pens, magic markers or highlighters can be considered temporary.

Non-water-based inks are not soluble in water and are usually considered permanent. They need to be tackled with solvent-based agents like rubbing alcohol or acetone. Sharpies, permanent markers and standard ink pens fall in this category.

Ballpoint pen ink usually comes up somewhere in the middle of these two.

get rid of ink stains from carpet

Determine the type of ink you’re dealing with and choose the appropriate household items to remove ink stains from carpet.

For Temporary Ink

Method 1: Using Shampoo

remove ink stains from carpet

For water-based ink, you can use any shampoo that suits the fabric or your carpet to clean the stain. In this demonstration, we used baby shampoo, which works well for delicate fabric. You can also use a carpet shampoo. The sitting time for the shampoo can vary depending upon the strength of the shampoo and the fabric of the carpet.

Things you’ll need:

thingsneed

  • Shampoo
  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Paper towel

Step 1. Soak up wet ink with paper towel

saok up wet ink

If you’re working with fresh ink, start by blotting the area with paper towel to soak up as much of the wet ink as possible. When the paper towel becomes too stained, repeat the process with a fresh paper towel until there is no wet ink left to be absorbed.

Step 2. Coat the stain with shampoo

coat the stain with shampoo

Coat the stained area with the shampoo and let it sit for several minutes. This will allow the shampoo to loosen the ink from the carpet fibers. The shampoo will need to sit longer if the ink has dried.

Step 3. Blot away the loosened stain

blot away the loosened stain

Blot at the loosened stain with a fresh paper towel until the entire stain is lifted from the carpet.

Step 4. Clean the area with water

clean the area with water

Spray water over the area and dab at it with a fresh paper towel. Keep at it until the shampoo and moisture, along with the remaining traces of the ink, is cleaned from the carpet. Then, let the area air-dry.

remove ink stain from carpet

Method 2: Using Dish Soap and Rubbing Alcohol

remove ink stains from carpet

If the ink is a little stubborn, try using a combination of dish soap and rubbing alcohol on the stain. Rubbing alcohol is usually effective in dissolving most types of pigmentations. Once the ink dissolves, dish soap can easily help you take the mess off your carpet.

Things you’ll need:

thingsneed

  • Liquid dish soap
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Paper towel

Step 1. Blot wet ink with paper towel

blot the wet ink with paper towel

While the ink is still fresh, blot up as much as you can with a paper towel.

Step 2. Combine dish soap and rubbing alcohol

combine dish soap and rubbing alcohol

Put 2 parts liquid dish soap in a bowl and add 1 part rubbing alcohol to it. Mix thoroughly.

Step 3. Cover the stain with the cleaning solution

cover the stain with cleaning solution

Pour this cleaning solution over the ink stain and let it sit for a good 15 minutes.

Step 4. Blot the loosened stain with paper towel

blot the loosened stain with paper towel

Blot the ink dissolved in the cleaning solution with a paper towel. Keep at it until the area becomes ink-free.

Step 5. Finish the cleanup with water

finish the cleanup with palin water

Spray the spot with plain water and blot away the dish soap and moisture, along with the remaining traces of the ink. Let the area air-dry.

remove ink stains from carpet

Method 3: Using Laundry Detergent and Lemon Juice

laundry detergent to remove ink stains from carpet

Another way to clean stubborn water-based inks from carpet is to treat the area with a mix of laundry detergent and lemon juice. The citric acid present in lemon juice makes it a natural bleaching agent. Combining lemon juice with a trusted laundry detergent makes for an effective stain-removing agent, especially if the stain has already dried on the carpet.

Things you’ll need:

thingsneed

  • Laundry detergent
  • Lemon juice
  • Water in a spray bottle
  • Paper towel

Step 1. Combine laundry detergent and lemon juice

combine laundry detergent and lemon juice

Thoroughly mix together equal quantities of your preferred laundry detergent and lemon juice.

Step 2. Coat the stain with the cleaning agent

coat the stain with cleaning agent

Pour this cleaning solution over the ink stain, covering it completely. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes to allow it to work.

Step 3. Blot the area until the ink comes off

blot the area till the ink comes off

Dab the area repeatedly with a paper towel until the stain has lifted.

Step 4. Finish the cleanup with water

finish the clean up with water

Spray water over the spot and blot away the moisture with fresh paper towel. Repeat this until the detergent along with the remaining traces of the ink is removed from the carpet. Finally, let it air-dry.

laundry detergent and lemon to remove ink stain from carpet

For Permanent Ink

Method 1: Using Rubbing Alcohol

rubbing alcohol to remove ink stain from carpet

Rubbing alcohol is one of the best ways to counter the stains on your carpet that come from permanent inks like marker inks. It reactivates the pigments in the ink, essentially dissolving the ink so it can be lifted off.

Things you’ll need:

thingsneed

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Paper towel

Step 1. Saturate the stain with rubbing alcohol

saturate the stain with rubbing alcohol

Pour some rubbing alcohol over the ink stain in order to saturate it. The rubbing alcohol will immediately start dissolving the ink.

Step 2. Blot away the dissolved ink

blot the dissolved ink

Blot away the dissolved ink with paper towel. Discard the paper towel if it gets too stained and use a fresh one.

Repeat these steps until the entire ink stain has lifted from the carpet.

rubbing alcohol to remove ink stain from carpet

Method 2: Using Acetone

acetone to remove ink stain from carpet

Acetone is another agent that can be used to tackle solvent-based permanent inks on your carpet. It dissolves the ink so you can then lift it off the carpet onto an absorbent surface.

The mess made on your carpet with a leaky ballpoint pen can be dealt with using pure acetone. In a pinch, you can also use an acetone-based nail polish remover to remove ink stains from your carpet.

Things you’ll need:

thingsneed

  • Acetone
  • Cotton balls
  • Paper towel

Step 1. Dab the area with acetone using cotton balls

dab the area with acetone

  • Saturate a cotton ball with acetone.
  • Dab at the ink stain with the saturated cotton ball. The acetone will dissolve the ink, which will get absorbed onto the cotton ball.
  • Continue this until the stain has sufficiently lifted up.

Step 2. Soak up the remaining ink with paper towel

soak up the remianing ink wih towel

Soak up the remaining ink and moisture with a paper towel.

acetone to remove ink stain from carpet

Method 3: Using Hair Spray

use hair spray to remove ink stain from carpet

Hair spray can also be used to remove ink stains from the carpet. Be sure that you use non-oily hair spray for this purpose. One more thing: If you use an alcohol-free hair spray, you won’t have much success with it as alcohol is the stain-removal agent in a hair spray.

The hair spray brands that boast low alcohol or no alcohol are certainly not made for stain removal. You’ll need an old-school, alcohol-based hair spray.

Things you’ll need:

thingsneed

  • Hair spray
  • Paper towel

Apply hair spray and blot away the ink

apply hairspray and blot the ink

  • This one is super simple. Just spray the ink stain with an alcohol-based hair spray.
  • Blot away the reactivated ink with a paper towel.

Repeat the process until the entire stain is out.

hair spray to remove ink stain from carpet

Additional Tips

  • Deal with an ink spill as soon as it occurs. The longer it sits on your carpet, the more the pigments will set into the fibers.
  • When blotting the stain, with or without a cleaning agent, avoid rubbing, scrubbing or pressing at the stain, which will push the stain deeper into the carpet fibers. To lift the stain, you should use gentle, repeated dabbing at the stain.
  • Ensure that the stain is completely removed or treated to your satisfaction before letting the carpet dry out. Once the stain dries, it will become more stubborn than it was already.
  • Never use heat on an ink stain. Heat only sets the stain in and makes it permanent.
  • Do a spot test on a small inconspicuous area of the carpet before using any cleaning agent to remove ink stains. If the cleaner makes the carpet fabric bleed or causes discoloration, try another cleaning agent.
  • Let the carpet dry completely to prevent mold and mildew.