Does Vinegar Remove Ink From Leather? (5 Pros & Cons)

Does Vinegar Remove Ink From Leather?

No matter how careful you are, accidents happen. You might accidentally spill ink on your leather couch or chair. Or maybe your child decides to use a marker on the leather sofa. What can you do to remove the ink and restore your furniture?

In this article, we will explore whether vinegar can be used to remove ink from leather. We will also discuss some of the other methods that can be used to clean ink from leather furniture.

To briefly answer the main question of the day, vinegar when combined with olive oil or almond oil can be an effective ink remover from leather. The benefit to using vinegar is that it safely goes into the pores of the leather to remove the ink stain without causing any damage to the leather.

More on this in the rest of this article.

The Pros & Cons Of Using Vinegar To Remove Ink Stain On Leather

Before you use vinegar to remove ink stains from your leather items, it is important to understand the pros and cons of using vinegar so that you understand what you are getting yourself into.

The Pros:

The pros of using vinegar include the following:

1. Vinegar Is Natural Cleaner

Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent and is safe to use on both faux and natural leather furniture. Vinegar contains acetic acid, which is a powerful degreaser and stain remover.

This means that you can use it to effectively remove ink stains from the surface of your leather without resorting to chemical cleaners or solvents, many of which can cause damage to the leather.

2. Vinegar Is Very Easy To Use

Vinegar is very easy to use on leather. Vinegar comes in liquid form, so it is already ready for application on the ink stains.

What’s more, you don’t need any special tools or chemicals when applying vinegar to the stain. All you need is a clean cloth or sponge, a bowl or spray bottle, and some olive oil.

3. Vinegar Is Cheap

Compared to other commercial cleaners and solvents, vinegar is relatively cheap. You can buy a bottle of vinegar for just a few dollars, which makes it an affordable option for removing ink stains from leather.

Chances are that you already have some vinegar in your home, which means that you won’t need to spend any money on cleaning tools or supplies.

The Cons:

The cons of using vinegar include the following:

1. Vinegar Has A Strong Smell

Not everyone is a fan of the smell of vinegar. Vinegar has a strong, pungent smell that can be overpowering for some people.

If you are sensitive to smells, you may not want to use vinegar to remove ink stains from your leather furniture.

2. It May Take Several Applications To Remove Ink Stain

In some instances, you may need to apply it multiple times before the stain is removed. This can be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you are trying to remove an old, set-in ink stain.

How To Remove Ink From Leather Using Vinegar

Vinegar is one of the most effective cleaning agents that can be used on both natural and faux leather goods.

Below is a step-by-step guide on how to remove ink from leather using vinegar. Let’s begin with the things you need;

Things Needed:

  • White Vinegar
  • Microfiber Clothing
  • Olive Oil/Almond Oil


Step 1: Mix Vinegar with Olive oil

  • Mix 1/4 cup of white vinegar with 1/2 a cup of almond oil or olive oil into a spray bottle.
  • Make sure to shake the spray bottle well to ensure that these ingredients are thoroughly mixed.

Step 2: Spot-Test The Mixture

  • The next step is to spot-test the mixture on a hidden area of your leather item.
  • This will allow you to determine whether this mixture can cause any damage or discoloration to the leather before applying it directly to an ink stain.
  • If you notice any signs of discoloration, do not continue with the cleaning process and seek professional help.

Step 3: Apply The Mixture To The Stain

  • Using a microfiber cloth, soak up some of this mixture you have just made and use it to gently dab it on the ink stain.
  • Make sure not to press too hard while scrubbing as this can cause additional damage or further staining to the leather.

Step 4: Repeat

  • After about 5 minutes, take a fresh piece of microfiber cloth and wipe off the vinegar mixture.
  • You should see that the ink stain is slowly disappearing.
  • You may need to repeat these steps a couple of times until all evidence of the ink stain has disappeared.
  • If you have a particularly large ink stain, you might want to try using a toothbrush dipped in the vinegar mixture to help scrub at the stain.

Step 5: Buff

  • Once the stain is gone use a dry clean microfiber cloth to buff the surface of the leather furniture.
  • This will help restore its natural shine and give it a nice clean look.

Step 6: Air-dry

  • Finally, allow the leather item to air-dry before using it again.

Alternatives To Removing Ink Stain On Leather

While white vinegar is a great way to remove ink stains from leather, there are some other options that you can try. These include the following;

Commercial Leather Stain Cleaner

If the ink stain is new or old, you can be able to remove it by using a commercial leather cleaner.

These types of stain removers contain powerful solvents that can help break down the ink and remove it from the leather surface.

They can be bought from most hardware stores and are usually relatively affordable. Be sure to read the application instruction and also test the cleaner on a hidden area of your leather furniture before applying it directly to an ink stain.

Make sure to read the instructions on the bottle carefully and test in an inconspicuous area before applying it directly to the ink stain.

Mild Dish Soap

If you do not have any commercial leather cleaner on hand, you can also use mild dish soap to remove ink stains from your leather furniture.

Simply mix some liquid dish soap with warm water in a spray bottle and shake it well until the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.

Then spray this mixture directly onto the ink stain and use a soft cloth to scrub at it until the stain is gone.

Make sure to rinse the area well with warm water and allow it to air-dry before using it again.

Nail Polish Remover

Another option is to use nail polish remover. However, it’s important to note that this method can be a bit harsh on the leather and might cause some discoloration or damage if not used correctly.

Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and rub it directly onto the ink stain. Then take a second cotton ball and wipe off the nail polish remover.

Don’t forget to buff with a dry microfiber cloth once you are done cleaning and allow the leather to air-dry before using it again.


If you have an old or new ink stain on your leather furniture, then one way that you can try to remove it is by using hairspray.

Hairspray contains alcohol which will help break down the ink and make it easier for you to clean off with a damp cloth.

Just spray some hairspray directly onto the stain and wipe away with a soft microfiber cloth until all of the ink has been removed.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol can be used to help break down the ink and make it easier for you to wipe off with a damp cloth.

Just apply some rubbing alcohol directly onto the stain and wipe away with your microfiber cloth until all of the ink has been removed.

Then buff with a clean dry piece of fabric once you are done. Be careful not to get the rubbing alcohol on any other parts of the leather furniture as it might cause some damage.

Ink Stain Removal Tips

No matter what method you decide to use, there are a few tips that can help make the ink stain removal process easier:

  • Be patient

It might take a little while to remove the ink stain from your leather furniture.

Try using a few different methods and see which one works best for you. Some stains may also require more than one application of cleaner before they are completely removed so be patient and don’t give up if it doesn’t work right away!

  • Be cautious

When applying cleaners or solvent-based products directly onto your leather furniture, be sure to test them in an inconspicuous area first.

This will help prevent any damage or discoloring of the leather surface if they are not used correctly.

  • Be sure to rinse well

Make sure to rinse the area well with warm water after using any of the methods mentioned above.

This will help remove any of the cleaning chemicals or residue from the leather surface.

  • Air-dry

After cleaning, make sure to allow the leather to air-dry completely before using it again.


Hi! I’m Kwabena, the owner and founder of Favored Leather. I’m a huge Leathercraft enthusiast and I’ve been that for almost 13 years now. I'm excited to share my experiences and all the new stuff I learn each day about leather craft, leather cleaning & care, and everything in-between!

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