How To Get Ink Out Of Carpet With Household Items

Ink is one thing that can get out of hand at times, no matter who is wielding the pen. Both children and adults can accidentally swipe a wall or drop a pen, leaving blots all over your carpet. But ink stains are nothing to fret about.

Just like slime on carpet and dog pee on carpet, ink stains can be removed in minutes. All it takes is a little elbow grease and know-how. One is all up to you while the other can be taken care of right now!

Types Of Ink

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While most inks will be removed the same way, it helps to know the type of ink you’re dealing with before you get started. After all, a standard pen doesn’t draw the same as a gel or ball-point pen, so why would the stain be the same?

Take a look at the most common types of pen and ink stains to find out where you can get started. 

Ball-Point Pen

Ball-point pens contain an oil-based solvent and pigment that adds color. Because it is oil-based, it can smear and will dry as soon as it touches the carpet. Also because it is oil-based, you may be able to sprinkle cornstarch on the stain.

This may help absorb any surface oils before you start trying to remove the stain. Although the ink may dry immediately, cornstarch can help it not set in and deepen. Let it sit for a few minutes while you ready the stain remover.

Gel Pen

Gel pens contain a colorful water-based ink, often very thick. Due to the fact that gel pens often have metallics in them, you can try using stain removers that cut through grease and rust. This may help combat this type of ink stain.

If the gel pen has flakes or glitter in it, you can remove them with a comb or toothbrush before removing the stain. These can get tangled in the carpet if the gel pen breaks. Make sure you wet the carpet before brushing.

Fountain Pen

A fountain pen is a modern version of a quill and ink. Although it doesn’t usually leak as bad as some other pens, it does bleed when the ink reserve is accessed. So if there is a mess, it may be a big one.

Fountain pens are water-based and can be removed the same way as a standard pen. If you happen to have an old-fashioned quill, then the ink stain will be just the same. Most of the methods below will remove a fountain pen ink stain.

Printer Ink

When you imagine an ink stain, you probably imagine a stain brought on by an accident with an ink pen. However, there are many more kinds of ink stains, one of the most common being a printer ink stain.

Printer ink is dye-based and contains a colorant that is fully dissolved and suspended in a liquid. There are two types of printer ink stains to worry about. There is a powder ink stain and a liquid ink stain.

For a powder ink stain, gently vacuum any powder on top before using the techniques below. For a liquid ink stain, gently blot up any ink on top started from the outside. Then, use one of the methods below.

Solutions To Get Ink Out Of Carpet

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There are many household substances that can get ink out of carpet. You likely have one of them lying around, probably more. Find out which one you have on hand to deal with the stain as quickly as possible.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is probably the most common way to get ink out of carpet. The first thing you want to do is get a dry rag and wet the corner with rubbing alcohol. No scrubbing! Simply dab the stain gently. 

You will start on the outside and work your way in. If your rag starts to dry, rewet it. You may need to do this quite a few times before the ink starts disappearing. After the stain is removed, rinse the area with warm water thoroughly. 

Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer has alcohol in it and can be used just like rubbing alcohol. Only with hand sanitizer, the alcohol content is much lower so you don’t have to be quite as careful. It’s unlikely the hand sanitizer will damage your carpet. 


Like most stains, ink stains hate vinegar. Dilute the vinegar with water before using it to avoid damage, although vinegar isn’t quite strong enough to damage most carpets. The process otherwise is the same as alcohol. 

If the ink stain is wet, you can add baking soda to it before using the vinegar. Don’t worry if it bubbles, this is normal and safe. Just make sure you clean it up well to avoid any damage or lingering residue. 

Shaving Cream

Shaving cream can work wonders on a dirty carpet. Use it like you would soap or carpet shampoo. Scrub and let it foam. Then wash it with water thoroughly. This is an easy and very safe way to remove ink from carpet. 

Dish Soap

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Dish soap is a safe and effective way to remove ink from carpet. Simply wash the stain away like you would anything else. Dawn is a great brand that works especially well on gel pens, as we have previously discussed. 


Windex with ammonia can work amazingly well. However, be careful when using ammonia. It’s best to dilute even the window cleaner with water before spraying it on your carpet. And never, ever use bleach and ammonia together. 

Carpet Shampoo

Sometimes, a standard carpet cleaner is all you need. If you have carpet in your house, then you need to keep carpet shampoo on hand. For general use and for stubborn stains. Use it as directed for spot cleaning carpet on ink stains. 


Before using a lubricant like WD-40, make sure you test it out on an area of the carpet that is hidden as it could damage the fibers or leave a stain. Then, spray the WD-40 on the stain and let it sit for a few minutes.

After a few minutes, wipe the area down with soapy water before rinsing. Let it dry and see if that did the trick. Chances are, it did! Just another wonderful use for the amazing WD-40!

How To Get Ink Out Of White Carpet

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White carpet can be treated differently than colored carpet. It isn’t dyed so the dye in the carpet won’t be disturbed. Just make sure that your carpet is white and not cream or beige before using these methods. 


Of course, bleach is designed to use on white fabrics. Carpet is no different. However, because of its harshness, it’s recommended that you dilute the bleach before using it on your carpet. Use a spray bottle to avoid getting it on your skin.

After saturating the area, you will want to let it sit but not for more than five minutes. Then, use soapy water to wash the area. You may want to wash it a few times. Then, dry it manually and repeat if necessary. 


Peroxide works just like bleach only it is much less harsh than bleach. It’s recommended to use peroxide instead of bleach when you can as the chemical isn’t harmful to inhale nor to use around children and pets. 

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FAQs About Ink Stains

These are the most frequently asked questions about ink stains.

What if my ink stain is months old?

If your ink stain is old, the method to remove it is the same. However, you may need to let the substance sit a bit longer than usual. You can try it for a few minutes and if that doesn’t work, do it again and let it sit longer.

Can I Just Wash A Rug In The Washing Machine?

Most of the time, yes, rugs can be washed in the washing machine if they are small. However, it’s best to check the label before doing so. If you can, then make sure you use Spray and Wash or similar stain remove first. 

What About Acetone?

Acetone is a great way to remove ink stains from carpet. It works just like rubbing alcohol and has all of the same dangers. Just make sure you test it first as it can discolor carpets and leave them damaged.

What Type Of Water Should I Use?

Warm or room temperature water is fine. You can use bottled or from the tap as both work well, but fresh water is preferred. Just don’t use hot water or cold water unless otherwise instructed as this can help the ink stain set in. 

Can I Pour Bleach Or Alcohol On My Carpet?

No. Never pour a strong substance directly onto anything unless instructed to do so by a professional. It can damage the carpet and even the skin as you work on the stain or walk over it later. Always dilute strong substances. 

How Do I Remove Hair Ink?

Ink is often used in place of dyes to color hair bright colors. However, it can be removed the same way as printer ink dye. Since it is water-based rather than oil-based, treat it like you would water-based ink pens.

Will The Ink Stain Spread If Untreated?

Only for a few minutes. After the ink stain dries, it will stay the size that it is. So if it’s already been an hour or two, you are free to run to the store and grab whatever you need to help with the ink stain.