How to Get Ink Stains Out of Carpet (All Sorts)

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get ink stains out of carpetArt and writing are a messy business. Not only do you have the various creative hurdles to overcome, but you also have to worry about what happens when your materials get away from you. If you spill ink on your carpet, it can be hard to remove, especially if you’re using a quick-drying ink. Here are a few ways you can get ink stains out of your carpet, depending on the type of ink.

Water Based Ink

water based inkInk with a water base is easier to remove than other types of ink stains because water dissolves readily compared to other chemicals.

Create a mixture of dishwashing detergent and lukewarm water.  It should be equal ratios. Stir and mix well, then pour the solution onto the ink stain. Gently pat it dry with a paper towel, and repeat until all the ink is absorbed.

Ballpoint Ink

It’s not likely that you’ll spill ballpoint ink in large amounts unless you have a pen explode. Even if you do, ballpoint ink is pretty easy to remove. First, you need to get a good carpet stain remover. Here’s a list of the best carpet stain removers.

Spray the stain remover according to the directions on the can. Usually, you’ll need to keep it about a foot away because of the force of the spray jet. An excessive spray can damage your carpet fibers more than the ink would.

Next, use a dry cloth and begin blotting up the stain. You may have to reapply the cleaning solution a few times, but one application should do the trick.

Keep blotting until you don’t see any more ink coming onto the cloth. Switch to another section when it becomes too saturated to pull ink efficiently. Once you have all the ink up, use water on a separate towel to blot up any residue and allow the area to air dry.

Work from the outside of the stain toward the center. Working outward risks spreading it farther.

You may also be able to remove the stain with a 50-50 mixture of lacquer hairspray and water, combined with elbow grease and a clean white cloth.

Make sure not to allow the mix to linger on the carpet because it could damage the fibers.

Marker Ink

Permanent marker ink sounds like it is more problematic than ballpoint ink, but you can remove it with almost the same process. Use a spray bottle filled with isopropyl alcohol. It should be 93 percent concentration, which is available in most stores.

Hold the bottle about 12 inches away and spray the stain. Just as you would with ballpoint pen stains, use a clean white cloth and begin patting the area. Rotate the fabric around and apply more alcohol as necessary.

Apply lukewarm water to the spill and sponge it up to remove any leftover residue after you’ve gotten all the visible ink out of the carpet.

Printer Ink

printer inkInk and toner cartridges make some of the worst messes when you’re changing them if you aren’t careful. Ink cartridges use a liquid solution that gets forced onto the page. Toner cartridges have powder, which gets heated and pressed onto paper. Thedustinthe the toner can get ground into the carpet if you aren’t careful.

Ink Cartridges

If an ink cartridge leaks, first you need to seal the cartridge so it can’t leak anymore. Put it in a plastic bag, tie it off, and label it for appropriate recycling. It isn’t good for the environment to throw ink in with regular trash.

Next, get as much of the ink with a dry towel. Then, put some rubbing alcohol on a separate sheet and try again. As with all other ink stains, work from the outside in.

You may be able to succeed with this step. If not, you should switch to hydrogen peroxide. The same method applies: put the cleaning liquid on the rag and blot.


To get toner up, vacuum as much of it as possible. If you have a toner vacuum, use it.

Don’t press or scrub toner powder. Friction causes the dust to grind further into the carpet and makes it harder to remove.

Any leftover toner residue can be removed with detergent.


Even though ink stains can look bad on your carpet, simple stain removers and products can remove them in most cases. The sooner you start cleaning ink stains from your carpet, the more easily the stain can be removed.

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Nora has more than 5 years experience in the floor covering industry, acquiring vast knowledge about installation and material selection. She now enjoys working as a writer and an interior decorator. Her work has been featured in The Spruce, Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Real Homes. See full biography here.

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