This Miracle Trick For Removing Pen & Ink Marks From Leather Saved My Handbag

Recently I discovered an amazing little trick that I never knew about! I had a mini-disaster occur with one of my handbags. There’s a barbecue restaurant about 15 minutes from my home. I’m rarely in that area so when I do find myself near the restaurant, I’ll sometimes go through their drive-thru to order one of their BBQ plates.

On my last visit a few weeks back, when I reached the window where you pay and retrieve your food, the associate, in old-school fashion, handed me back a little clipboard with a pen attached so I could sign my receipt. After signing the receipt I removed my credit card from the clipboard and reached over to drop it on the seat beside my bag. I didn’t realize I was still holding the pen until, for just a second, I thought I felt the pen lightly bump something. I glanced over to see what I could have bumped but didn’t notice anything, so I quickly forgot about it. A few hours later when I was putting my handbag away for the night, I noticed a 3/4 to 1-inch, black, pen mark right on the very front of my cream-colored bag! Argggh!

Beautiful Fair Isle Sweater, Dior Studded Bag, Winter White Corduroys


I am always super careful with my bags, even to the point of covering them with a tiny receiving blanket I keep in the car to protect them from sun fading, but my bag was uncovered when the pen incident happened since I had just paid for my purchase., Not really expecting to find anything, I searched online to see if there was any way to remove an ink mark from leather. One suggestion I read said to use rubbing alcohol.  Ummm.

Dior Lady Dior Studded Supple Leather Handbag


I wish I had taken a “before” photo but I was way too panicked at the time to think about that. I dipped the tip of a Q-tip into rubbing alcohol and was amazed to see it quickly and completely remove the ink mark with just a few little rubs. It worked! It actually worked!

Lady Dior Studded Bag with beige Le Phoenix de Christian Dior Silk Mitzah Scarf


I can’t tell you how happy I was. I truly didn’t think it would work so was shocked when it did! Another trick I read online suggested using nail polish remover, but nail polish remover scares me. Thankfully, the alcohol worked in my situation. Just wanted to share this in case you find it helpful at some point.

Caution: Before trying this technique to remove an ink mark from a leather bag or shoes, you may want to test this method on a less noticeable spot–like maybe on the bottom of a bag just to make sure it doesn’t discolor or damage the leather. Since my bag is off-white/cream in color, I was willing to take a chance.

Studded Lady Dior with Dior Book, Handbag Storage with Fashion Books


Another tip I’ve heard YouTubers talk about is using a white, soft-gum eraser to remove scuffs and marks from shoes/boots and handbags. Not sure that would work on an ink mark but it may on other type stains. I haven’t actually had a chance to use this method yet, but after my ink disaster, I bought one to keep on hand just in case. I purchased mine here: Soft-Gum Eraser.

Soft Gum Eraser for Removing Scuffs from Leather Shoes, Bags


I still can’t get over how quick and easy it was to remove that ugly mark from the front of my bag; it truly felt like a miracle! Do you have any tried and true tips for removing ink or pen marks from leather? Please share them! I LOVE learning miracle tips like this!

Dior Lady Dior Studded Supple Leather Handbag

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  1. I’m glad you so easily saved your beautiful handbag, Susan! I have list of “remedies” in my laundry room, & rubbing alcohol appears in several of them.

  2. Many years ago I worked in a large office where we used ink pads. It was not an uncommon thing to get ink on your sleeves. Everyone kept a can of hairspray in their desk drawer as it took the ink right out of the material. It was probably the alcohol in the hairspray that did the job! Glad your purse survived the mishap.

    • That’s amazing! I wonder what the ingredient is in hairspray that does that. I didn’t even realize hairspray had alcohol–amazing that it works on ink!
      Thanks, Virginia!

  3. I’m so happy the ink came out of your purse. We have leather furniture….and I’m always “threatening” hubby to be mindful when he has a pen in hand sitting in the chair!! Nothing harder to remove from leather than pen! The rubbing alcohol is a great solution!

  4. Hairspray. Works on fabric too! Also kept it in the classroom for when wasps and yellow jackets attacked the children. Spray the insect and the wings stick together. Scoop it up and throw out the window. You never know when a child has an unknown allergy.

  5. Good to know! It is distressing to ding a special bag, especially when you take such good care of it. I always love your posts about purses. Any plans to do another one soon on new styles fall?

  6. Hello Susan! Hand sanitizer (which is of course alcohol-based) also works very well to remove ink from many surfaces — if you keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse, you’ll always be prepared! At work, long before the pandemic, I always had hand sanitizer at my desk and often found myself using it to remove pen ink from my hands, laminate desktops and tabletops, etc. Be cautious though when using it on real wood, it can mar the finish (a gentle rub of furniture polish or wax will buff it back to normal finish).

  7. Beverly Anderson says

    Hair spray is another old trick that will also remove ink pen marks. Used to use it on my white uniforms (RN) (back when we wore white uniforms!

  8. Nancy Brantley says

    I’ve heard Magic Eraser and Clorox Pens work on ink and stains? Don’t know I haven’t tried.

    • Magic Eraser is truly amazing! It was just recently that I discovered it can remove the rings left on the ceiling after removing/changing out an old light fixture. Saves from having to have the whole ceiling repainted. I do use Clorox Pens before washing some items…I bet they would definitely help with an ink stain. Thanks for those tips, Nancy! Those are good ones!

  9. I don’t know if this would work on leather but hairspray will remove ballpoint ink from fabric.

  10. Your outfits are put together beautifully. Love your fur trimmed boots! Where did you buy them, please?

  11. I’ve used that trick with alcohol for many years. Here’s another. If you get a grease spot on leather put rubber cement on the spot and it will draw the grease out. Someone told me about this years ago when I got a large blob of grease on the toe of a brand new shoe. Had to try it – my shoe was ruined so what did I stand to lose? Worked like magic!!!

  12. I’ve used rubbing alchohol on ink stains and Sharpie marker stains with great success for years.

  13. Susan, I am relieved and delighted to hear that you got the mark out! As several of your readers have already stated, I also used hair spray to get ink marks off my apparel when worked. The first time I tried it on one of my blouses I was full of trepidation. What a relief to see that the ink stain dissolve so easily! Have a great time on your getaway.

  14. Here is another tip: if you have ever had a permanent marker like (a Sharpie) make an accidental mark on fabric or other, you need only to contact the company and they will send you their liquid to erase the permanent marker for free. It works beautifully with no residue or showing any mark was ever there. Hope this helps!

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