How To Remove Ink from Carpet Quick Guide

Did you spill ink on your carpet? Did your kids draw with a pen or felt-tip pen on your rug? Ink stains can be difficult to remove from carpets or fabrics. And the method you use depends on whether it is water-based ink, oil-based ink, permanent ink or pen. But don’t worry! Here we will […]

Did you spill ink on your carpet? Did your kids draw with a pen or felt-tip pen on your rug?

Ink stains can be difficult to remove from carpets or fabrics. And the method you use depends on whether it is water-based ink, oil-based ink, permanent ink or pen.

But don’t worry! Here we will guide you through how to get all of these out of your rug.

So grab your supplies and let’s get started!

How to get water-based ink out of the rug

  • Use one water barrier and dab cold water on the ink stain with a clean cloth.
  • Dry with a new cloth.
  • Mix dishwashing liquid with warm water and apply the mixture with a new cloth.
  • Rinse and dry the carpet.
  • Try one solvent like alcohol if the soap did not work.
  • Rinse off the chemical and let the rug dry.

Before you start

Before you start trying to remove ink stains, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Identify your ink

First, identify the type of ink stain you have. This is probably the most important step because it will determine how you clean the ink stain.

There are several different types of inks and they all need a different cleaning method. For example, tattoo ink stains are very different from powder ink or printer ink stains, and both of these are different from stains with ink pens.

A common type of ink stain is from different types of pens. Fountain pens, gel pens and Rollerball pens all use water-based inks.

But other pens, such as ballpoint pens or permanent markers, use oil-based inks.

Start with a dry solvent

So sometimes it can be hard to know what type of ink stain you have. Therefore, if you do not know, start with a dry solvent.

But if you tried to clean the stain with water first, let the carpet dry. As water prevents dry solvent from working properly, the fabric or rug must be 100% dry before using it.

2. Protect yourself and your blanket

Another very important step is to protect both yourself and your rug from damage.

For yourself, make sure you have a good air flow to ventilate your room. And always wear gloves to protect your skin!

For your rug, there are a few steps you need to follow.

First, try using only a small amount of detergent and never lay it directly on the carpet. This will help protect the back of the rug.

And secondly, always test your cleaning machine on a conspicuous area. This way you know if the chemicals will discolor the rug before you spread it everywhere.

Also, check out this handy list of tips before you start working!

How to get rid of water-based ink stains

Follow these simple steps to remove this common ink stain from your rug!


Collect these things and then we can get started removing water-based inks!

A solvent such as Paint ink grease remover (PIG) *

Clean water for dilution and rinsing

1. Make a water barrier

To remove ink from the carpet, the first thing you need to do is make a water barrier. This will prevent the ink from spreading when you use an stain remover.

For this you can use a solvent or plain water.

Then apply a little water in a ring around the stain to prevent it from spreading.

2. Add water

For this next step, use a little bit of cold water and put it on the stain.

You can drip it or use a spray bottle, but be very careful not to add too much. Because you do not want to soak your rug!

Then use your fresh cloth or towel to gently remove the ink stain.

And be sure to work carefully and do not shake or scrub the rug. If you do, you can push the ink deeper into the rug.

Then use a paper towel or a new cloth to wipe the area. Again, dab it gently, do not rub.

On the other hand, you can use your regular or wet-dry vacuum cleaner to dry the area.

If your ink stain is gone, you’re done. And you do not have to go to the next step.

3. Use dish soap

If the stain remains, mix 1 cup of lukewarm water with a teaspoon of dishwashing detergent. Then dip a clean cloth or paper towel into the mixture and dab it gently on the ink stain.

Then rinse the soap off and then dab the spot dry. To remove even more water, place a cloth roll on the ink stain and weigh it down.

Finally, allow the area to air dry completely. Then use your vacuum cleaner to collect any residue and fix the carpet fibers.

If this worked to remove ink from the carpet, do not proceed to the next step.

4. Select the solvent

If the above steps did not remove ink from your carpet, it’s time to try another cleaning solution: solvent. This works very well for stubborn stains.

There are three different dry solvents to choose from and they will all work. But they have different advantages and disadvantages:

  • Paint ink degreaser: This one is a little pricey and it will take some time to sit on the ink stains. But if you get a gel version, you do not have to worry about damaging the back of your rug.
  • Acetone: This is a great option because it is inexpensive and works quickly on many types of inks. However, you can not use it on fabric or carpets that contain acetate. This is because acetone will melt this fiber! You should also not use it on wool, rayon or silk.
  • Alcohol or denatured alcohol: Both denatured and rubbing alcohol are cheap solutions and work well, but they need a little elbow grease. So you will have to work on the spot several times until the stain disappears.
  • WD-40: This lubricant contains Stoddard solvent (mineral spirit) as the main ingredient, making it an effective stain remover. However, it also contains mineral oil. And while most of its ingredients will just evaporate, the mineral oil will remain. This makes it extremely difficult to flush out. So the WD-40 is not our first solvent choice – even if it works.

5. Dissolve the stain with the solvent

First, make sure your ink stains are 100% dry. This is really important because if there is water on the carpet, the solvent will not work.

Water forms a barrier through which the solvent cannot pass. So if you tried to remove ink stains with water first, wait for the rug to be completely dry.

Then add a little solvent to a damp cloth. And lightly dab the ink stain.

Then stop working for about 15 minutes to allow the solvent to act on the stain.

Then add a little more cleaning solution and shake the fibers. For this step, you can use your bone scraper or the fixed part of a black dry side brush.

When done, dab the stained area to get rid of chemical residues.


You can repeat this step several times on the stain. The number of times it takes to remove ink depends on the type of solvent you choose.

6. Rinse the solvent and dry the rug

When you are done with your solvent, rinse your carpet carefully. Be especially careful with the grease remover for paint inks because it can leave chemicals on your carpet.

For this step, read the instructions on the label of your product. And give the chemical at least 5-10 minutes to work on the leftovers so it all comes up.

Then use warm soapy water to wash the area completely. If you do not remove all the solvent, it can sometimes leave a ring.

Finally, let your rug air dry. Then you can run your vacuum cleaner over the stain to fix the carpet fibers.

How to get rid of water-based ink stains

An oil-based or permanent ink stain can be difficult to remove, but don’t worry! These steps will help you get rid of most stains.


There are only a few tools you need to remove ink.

A solvent such as Paint ink grease remover (PIG) *

Clean water for rinsing

1. Apply a water barrier

As with water-based inks, start with a water barrier. This prevents the stain from getting worse when you remove ink from the carpet.

2. Add a solvent to the ink

Now is the time to choose your solvent. And again, these would mean that you have to spend for these processes.

  • D-limonene: This is a great option for oil-based inks, such as ballpoint pens or permanent inks. It will also not damage the back of the rug, but it can be expensive.
  • Paint Ink Grease Remover: A product like Bridgeton dissolves just about any type of ink. And if you get the gel version, you do not have to worry about damaging the back of the rug.
  • Odorless mineral spirits: This is a cheaper option than the other two, and it also rinses off more easily. However, it is a liquid, so be careful not to soak the rug.

3. Apply and stir

Once you have chosen your solvent, add something on a new cloth. Then dab the solvent on the ink stain.

Then wait for 15 minutes until the solvent acts on the stain. Then use your scraper or the back of your brush to agitate the fibers.

4. Rinse and allow to air dry

Once the solvent has worked magically, be sure to rinse it all off. This is one of the most important steps because the d-Limonene and PIG can leave chemical residues.

Follow the instructions on the label for this. And be sure to continue the rinsing process until there is nothing greasy left.

Finally, let the place air dry. And when done, you can use your vacuum cleaner to pick up any residue that is still there and fix the look of the rug.


For more answers to frequently asked questions about removing ink from the carpet, keep reading!harmonika_ikon

Can Oxiclean remove ink from the carpet?

None! Do not use Oxiclean to remove ink. To get rid of ink stains, use a solvent.

However, Oxiclean is made from sodium percarbonate, hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate. And these will not act as solvents.

In addition, all “oxy” products can affect the color. So professional carpet cleaners and manufacturers say you should not use them.harmonika_ikon

Does hair spray ink get out of the rug?

It depends on. If your hairspray has alcohol in it, yes.

Since alcohol is a solvent, it will help you remove ink. But if there is no alcohol in the hair spray, it does not work because there is no solvent.

Also keep in mind that many hair sprays use little or no alcohol now. As it dries out the hair, the manufacturers have stopped using it.

So if you want to use hair spray, look for one with alcohol in it.

But this should only be a last resort. It is much easier to find and use an actual solvent!