How to Get Ink Out of Carpet

Several Ways How to Effectively Get Ink Out of Carpet

Keeping your home’s carpets clean is no easy task because everything from food to dirt to ink can stain the carpet in your bedroom, living room, and hallways.

Removing an ink stain isn’t an easy process because of the ink’s chemical properties, but you can make the stain vanish before your eyes with a little persistence and a whole lot of patience.

How to Get Ink Out of Carpet

The most important thing you have to remember about working with an ink stain is to rub in small movements or blot to stop it from smearing it outwards to confine the stain and stop it from spreading. Use laundry detergent, denatured alcohol, hairspray, vinegar, ammonia, isopropyl alcohol, and a little elbow grease to gently lift the stain out of the carpet.

Even though we agree that seeing an ink stain on your carpet is a terrifying thought, we’re going to give you several techniques and options to get the ink out of the carpet below.

We’ll also categorize it by type of ink so you can match it to your current issue.

Water-Based Ink Types – Use Detergent

It’s possible to use a specialist carpet cleaning product to treat any stains on your carpet as long as you read the label and test a small area first.

Laundry detergent can be a nice option when it comes to pulling ink from carpet, especially if it’s water-based ink. The following steps can keep your carpet clean and ink-free.

You can start by filling a bucket or bowl with warm water, and take note that you can remove water-based inks with water and nothing else.

Add in a teaspoon of laundry soap and mix it until suds form. Get a soft cloth, dip it into your mixture, and dab at your stained area until the stain lifts away.

Permanent Ink Types – Use Ammonia

Once again, if you want to use a specialized carpet cleaning agent on the stain, all you have to do is read and follow the directions before testing a small area.

A permanent ink stain from a marker-style pen can be trickier to remove. You can try this solution that combines ammonia and detergent to double your cleaning power.

Fill a smaller spray bottle half full of warm water before adding a tablespoon of ammonia that you find in the supermarket’s laundry section.

Spray the stain from a few inches away to avoid damaging your carpet’s pile before blotting it with a damp cloth.

Follow the steps we outlined for water-based inks to get rid of any leftover ammonia residue before using a fresh cloth to dry the area.

You should also remember to lightly dab at the stain rather than scrubbing it because scrubbing it will force the ink deeper into the carpet pile.

For a wool carpet, you want to switch to half of a teaspoon of ammonia and fill the bottle with the rest of the spray with water before applying it and dabbing at the stain.

Permanent Ink Stain Method Two – Rubbing Alcohol or Hairspray

Moisten your stained area with either a non-oily hairspray or rubbing alcohol. Once you start to lightly blot at the ink stain, you should see it start to transfer from the carpet pile to your cloth.

Continue dabbing at the spot until the area is stain-free, and then you want to dab at it with a clean cloth with lukewarm water.

If this method doesn’t work the first time, repeat the process with hairspray. You have to note that either method may not completely lift the permanent marker stains from your carpet, but it can fade them significantly as you work at it.

Ballpoint Pen Ink Types – Lacquer Hair Spray

If you have a natural fiber carpet laid down that you got ink from a ballpoint pen on, you can start removing it using two cans of cheap lacquer hair spray.

You may need two cans if you have to work at the stain, and the first step is to spray the hairspray into the stain to start softening the ink.

Get a white towel and blot at the lacquer without scrubbing it until the stain vanishes. Once the carpet dries, you’ll hand brush the formerly stained area before vacuuming to remove any traces of the hairspray.

Marker Ink Types – Isopropyl Alcohol

A permanent marker’s ink is harder to remove than other types of ink, but you can remove it using almost the same process you use to get a ballpoint pen in out Get a spray bottle and fill it with 93% concentrated isopropyl alcohol before holding the bottle a foot from the stain and spraying it.

Get a clean cloth and blot at the sprayed ink, rotating the fabric and applying more alcohol as needed.

Apply lukewarm alcohol to the marker and sponge it up to remove any leftover residue once you lift all of the visible ink from the carpet.

Printer Ink Types – Rubbing Alcohol or Vacuum

Toner and ink cartridges make some of the worst messes you have when you’re changing them if you’re not careful.

Ink cartridges have a liquid solution while toner has powder. The toner dust can get ground into the carpet if you’re not careful with it.

Ink Cartridges

If the ink cartridge leaks, you have to seal the cartridge so it won’t leak anymore. Put the ink cartridge in a plastic bag, tie it off, and label it to recycle it.

Get a dry towel and get as much of the ink off as you can before putting some rubbing alcohol on a separate towel blotting at it. You work from the outside in just like you would with any other ink stain.

If the ink stain doesn’t lift, you’ll get hydrogen peroxide, spray it on the ink stain, and blot at it with a clean towel until it lifts the stain out. This can take time, but it’ll soften the ink before lifting it out of the carpet pile.


To get spilled toner out of the pile, vacuum it as much as you possibly can. Don’t scrub at or press the toner powder into your carpet because the friction will grind the dust further into the carpet while making it harder to pull out.

You can make a detergent and water mix like we outlined above and blot at the toner to remove any traces.

Getting Rid of Ink Stains – Step-by-Step Approach

We’re going to break down a step-by-step approach to get ink stains out of your carpet.

You’ll have to alter the ingredients depending on the type of ink it is and use the short guides we listed above to know which products you need. A list of generic ingredients includes:

  • Denatured alcohol
  • Light-colored rags
  • Old toothbrush
  • Wet/dry vacuum

Step One – Blot at the Stain

If you have a fresh ink stain on your carpet, you should get a light-colored rag and blot up as much as possible before it dries. You should be very careful not to press the stain deeper into your carpet’s pile.

Step Two – Soak the Stain with Alcohol

You’ll have to soak a dry ink stain with denatured alcohol for a minimum of five minutes and make sure that you don’t pour a lot of alcohol on the stain.

Apply enough alcohol to cover the stain and soak around half an inch into the carpet.

Your alcohol will penetrate the ink stain, but too much can cause it to penetrate too deep and cause damage to your carpet’s padding.

Once you let the alcohol soak in, get a clean rag and start blotting at the stain, repeating it a few times as needed.

Step Three – Consider Using a Toothbrush

If you notice some carpet fibers that your alcohol isn’t saturating, you can get out an old toothbrush and gently massage your alcohol into the fibers. Allow it to sit for five minutes before you start blotting it up again.

Step Four – Use a Vacuum

You might not be able to lift all of the ink by massaging or blotting, so a wet/dry vacuum can make this process much more effective if you add the alcohol to the stain, let it sit for five minutes, and then vacuum up the alcohol and ink mixture using your wet/dry vacuum.

You don’t want to have the filter inside your vacuum when you do this because the filters work for dry messes only.

This process is very similar to what a professional carpet cleaner will do, and you should repeat this process as many times as you need to remove the stain.

Bottom Line

We’ve given you several methods and ways to remove ink from carpeting, based on the type of ink.

You can cycle through them until you find the one that works best for your situation, work at the stain, and return your carpets to like-new condition.

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