11 Quick Ways to Remove Ink Stains from a Carpet (Video)

If you or your child accidentally makes ink stains on your carpet, you have a healthy list of options at your disposal depending on the type of ink in question. There are water-based, permanent, and ballpoint inks in most homes. Ink is made of various dyes, solvents, pigments, lubricants, fluorescents, resins, surfactants, and particulate matter. Getting rid of them can be difficult if you don’t know where to begin.

One of the best solutions for ink stains on a carpet is denatured alcohol. It has good cleaning properties since it removes tough ink stains from heavy-duty fabrics like carpets, and evaporates quickly to do away with any odors or chemical remnants.

As a word of caution, never try to rub ink off a fabric like a cloth or a carpet. Instead, dab it with a piece of cloth then follow one of the methods I detail below to remove it.

Cleaning ink off a carpet

Best ways to remove ink stains from your carpet

Before you use any of these methods (apart from water), test the cleaner on a small and inconspicuous part of the carpet to determine if it’s safe. 

Starting from the simplest, and safest, let’s look at the methods you can use to get rid of ink stains from your carpet:

1. Water

With water, simply blot the stained area with a clean cloth to absorb as much ink as possible. Then, dampen another cloth with water and gently blot the stain.

Avoid rubbing, as it may spread the ink. Repeat until the stain lightens, and then pat the area dry with a dry cloth. If the stain persists, consider the methods below.

2. Rubbing alcohol

Dampen a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and blot the stained area. Be careful not to rub, as it may spread the ink. Continue blotting until the stain transfers onto the cloth. Finish by blotting the area with a clean, damp cloth to remove any residual alcohol.

You can also use isopropyl alcohol or denatured alcohol with the latter being especially effective for tough stains

3. Dish soap

Mix a solution of one teaspoon of dish soap with a cup of warm water. Dab the mixture onto the ink stain using a clean cloth, working from the outside toward the center to prevent spreading. Blot the area with a dry cloth to absorb the solution and repeat until the stain lightens. Finish by patting the area dry.

You can also use a laundry detergent or shampoo for the same purpose. 

4. Milk and cornstarch

Mix equal parts of milk and cornstarch to create a paste. Apply the paste to the ink stain, allowing it to dry completely. Once dry, brush or vacuum away the residue. 

This method helps lift the ink stain. While it doesn’t create a miracle of it, I’ve tested it and it works especially on fresh stains. 

5. WD-40

Spray a small amount of WD-40 onto the stain, letting it sit for a few minutes, and then blot the area with a clean cloth. Afterward, clean the treated area with a mild detergent and water to remove any residue. WD-40 will restore your carpets making your open floor area look nice and clean.

6. Vacuum

A vacuum alone may not effectively remove an ink stain from a carpet. However, it works very well for powder inks and pigments. As soon as the powder inks or pigments drop onto the carpet, use a vacuum to suck them out of the carpet with repeated motions. 

7. Hydrogen peroxide

Moisten a clean cloth with hydrogen peroxide and blot the stain. Gently dab the stained area, and then use a clean, dry cloth to absorb any excess liquid. Repeat until the stain diminishes.

Afterward, rinse the area with water and blot dry. Always follow safety guidelines and avoid using hydrogen peroxide on colored or delicate carpets.

8. Shaving cream

Apply a small amount of white, non-gel shaving cream directly onto the stained area then gently work the shaving cream into the stain using a clean cloth or sponge. Let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow the shaving cream to penetrate the stain.

Blot the area with a clean, damp cloth to lift the shaving cream and ink. Repeat the process if necessary, and then pat the area dry with a dry cloth.

9. Hair spray

An alcohol-based hair spray is the best to remove ballpoint ink stains from your carpet. Spray a small amount of alcohol-based hairspray directly onto the stain. Blot the stained area with a clean cloth to lift the ink. Repeat as needed, and then clean the area with a mixture of water and mild detergent. Blot again with a clean, damp cloth and let it dry. 

10. Bleach

Using bleach on a carpet can be risky, as it may damage the carpet fibers or cause discoloration. If you still want to try it, dilute the bleach with water and test it in an inconspicuous area first. If there’s no adverse reaction, apply the diluted bleach to a clean cloth and blot the ink stain. Rinse thoroughly with water afterward. 

11. Commercial carpet cleaner

With commercial cleaners, you have to follow the instructions on the label for the best results. Always buy a commercial carpet cleaner with the ability to clean ink on the label. 

If none of these methods work for you, consult a professional carpet cleaner to assess and clean your carpets for you. At times, the stain may never come off and, if you can’t live with it, you could either conceal it with more colors, hide it away, or throw away the carpet. Be sure to measure your floor with the cleaner to determine its actual size since most cleaners charge per square foot of cleaning.


To effectively remove ink stains from a carpet, prompt action is crucial. Begin by blotting excess ink, then carefully apply water or a commercial carpet cleaner, following product instructions. Be gentle to avoid spreading the stain, and always test cleaners in inconspicuous areas. If needed, consult professional services for stubborn stains, ensuring your carpet stays clean and vibrant.

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