Removing ink stains from leather is not generally a simple cleaning problem
Most ink removal products do not work simply because of the length of time the ink has been on the leather but these are always the best place to start.
Most regular leather cleaners will not remove ink unless it is very fresh and a very good leather protector has been used on a regular basis.
Ink is a dye and it has re-coloured the leather (this is what it is meant to do – think of a pen on paper).
The longer the ink has been left on the leather the harder it is to remove because over time the ink soaks into the finish. Once it has soaked deep into the finish much stronger products are needed to remove the ink. These will damage the finish and may remove the colour which will then need to be repaired - this is best left to a leather specialist as DIY repair products rarely work effectively.
You will see many people on the internet recommending all manner of household products to remove ink from vaseline to toothpaste – this is not recommended as most simply will not work, some that may appear to work have usually done so by damaging the finish and some can cause much bigger problems which may then be un-repairable (even by a technician).
Ink on Pigment/Protected leather (P)
If the ink stain is on pigmented leather then the first thing you should try is a LTT Ink Remover. The fresher the ink the more chance you have of removing it so It is a good idea to have one in your house or car if you have pale leather and children!!!!
Older ink stains will be harder to remove than a new ink stain and care should be taken. Several gentle attempts at removal are much better than one aggressive one.
If the LTT Ink Remover doesn't remove the ink it does not mean that the product does not work but simply that the ink has travelled too far into the finish on the leather to be removed by this method. Using stronger products will remove the finish on the leather which will then need replacing so this is best left to a leather technician.
The area should always be cleaned after using the Ink Remover to remove any residues which is left on the leather would only attract dirt to the area. LTT Leather Shampoo can be used to effectively remove these.
It is also recommended that you use LTT Ultra Leather Protect on your suite. This will act like a 'scotchgard' and will make ink much easier to remove if it happens again.
Ink on Aniline Style Leather (A)
As Aniline style leathers are largely absorbent it means that the ink will have soaked straight into the leather itself. This makes it impossible to remove. No product will successfully remove the ink from this type of leather.
DO NOT try ink removing products on Aniline style leathers as most will leave a greasy residue which will then cause more problems.
If LTT Ultra Leather Protect has been used it is possible that the ink can be cleaned off with LTT Aniline Cleaner if used straight away.
Because aniline style leathers are absorbent the ink will carry on moving through the leather and may become less obvious over time. Cleaning and protecting on a regular basis will help to dissipate the ink and eventually it may not be so obvious. LTT Aniline Care Kit contains all you need for looking after your Aniline leather and is the only dedicated Aniline Cleaning product on the market
DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING TO REMOVE INK STAINS FROM LEATHER:
- Hairspray - This is very risky as it can make the matter far worse by spreading the ink over a bigger area and can sometimes then be impossible to fix.
- Nail Varnish remover/solvents - will remove the finish on the leather even if you cannot tell it is doing so and this will then need replacing. Rubbing alcohol may do the same depending on the strength of the finish on the leather.
- Baby wipes - just about the worst thing you can use on leather as they break down the finish and will eventually ruin it.
- Milk or Toothpaste - these are just silly ideas that will leave sticky residues on the surface which will help to break down the finish on your leather.
- Silicones/furniture polish - should never be used on leather. They will form a coating on the surface of the leather which will not allow any moisture to get to the leather itself and will eventually break all the finish down and cause it to crack.
- Hide food - will not remove ink and will leave residues on the leather which will attract dirt and oils.
- Household Cleaners
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About the Author:
Judy Bass renowned Leather Care Consultant and Leather Agony Aunt has been involved with leather care and repair for the past 2 decades. Her vast experience and knowledge of leather are second to none and LTT Leathercare have set the standard worldwide for leather care and repair via their training programmes. She likes nothing better than helping customers and techncians to solve their leather care problems and LTT Leathercare are used by many well known manufacturers and retailers as their customer care helpline.
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