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How to Get Ink Out of Carpets – A Simple Guide to Removing Stains

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During the holidays and the long (or not so long summer months depending on your point of view), there is a lot of foot traffic in your home as you entertain guests… both young and old. While the fun and festivities are happening, your attention is on your guests. And being a good host, you strive to ensure that they are kept happy by plying them with food, drinks, and conversations… in no particular order, of course.

Amidst the buzz and excitement, a lot of things would end up on the floor. And out of all the bizarre things in the world, you find that your carpet is spotting a bright ink stain. Obviously, you have no idea where it comes from, but that is not the point. Right now, you are more concerned about how to get the ink out of your carpet.

Let’s paint another equally disturbing but plausible scenario where just as you attempt to replace the ink cartridges in your printer, you accidentally spill it on your carpet. You are still left with the same problem as the first scenario except, in this case, you have printer ink on your carpet. So why paint two different stories with similar issues?

First, there is a difference. In the first narrative, the source of the ink is unknown, and in the second story, we know that the ink stain is from the printer ink. I will get into how much difference that it makes in a bit.

Pro Tip

If the ink spill from the printer just happened a few minutes before you searched for this page on Google, here is a quick tip that could save you a massive carpet cleaning bill. Grab your vacuum cleaner and focus the nozzle on the area affected by the stain and just do your thing. This should take care of things promptly if your carpet fabric is made from wool.

Video Explainer

Step One: Know the Type of Ink

The type of ink matters because the way each ink stain affects your carpet is different. For example, water-based inks are easier to clean and have a stain removal process that is less aggressive than the permanent kind. If you cannot find the source of the ink, you may have to start with a stain treatment that involves the use of mild cleaning agents.

If the stain remains after all your efforts, you would have to step things up until you get the cleaning results that you desire. Of course, it would be so much easier if you could skip this hassle but then again, what is life without a little adventure? There are different types of inks that create a stain problem for a lot of people.

You have the powder-based ink, water-based ink, gel-based ink and then permanent ink. Before we get into how we can remove these types of ink stains from your carpet, we need to sort out the next step.

Step Two: Know the Carpet Fabric

Unless you had the foresight to buy stain-resistant nylon carpet, it is essential to factor in the type of carpet you have before applying specific cleaning solutions on them. The porous nature of some carpets like those made of wool fabric means that stain penetrates the carpet at an accelerated rate. However, the good news is that carpets made from natural materials make the process of removing ink stains from it easier.

The delicate nature of synthetic carpets, on the other hand, means you cannot use cleaning agents containing bleach on it. Carpets that are solution-dyed can be taken care of using the bleaching agents. If you are unsure, some carpets come with care instructions. Either that or check the label on the cleaning agent. They usually issue some kind of warning on the harm that the cleaning agent can cause specific fabrics.

Step Three: Get Your Tools

Your carpet cleaning supplies should have the basics.

These would include :

  1. An absorbent towel
  2. A carpet stain remover or rubbing alcohol
  3. Vacuum cleaner
  4. Detergent
  5. Vinegar.

Pro Tip

Vinegar is a kitchen staple and is tasty in salads, but it can multi-task in other areas and does an outstanding job in clearing up stains from almost any surface.

Water obviously must be included, and you might see other kitchen staples that can be used to get your carpet back in pre-stain shape. If you are determined to get hands-on with this cleaning project, rather than rely on industrial carpet stain removers, you can create your very own homemade cleaner.

To create this easy yet highly effective homemade mix, you need:

  1. Detergent
  2. Vinegar or a solvent like a nail polish remover.
    • Mix either detergent or vinegar with water. [The solution should be stronger for natural fiber carpets and lighter for synthetic carpets.]
    • If you are using the nail polish remover, go for a brand with no acetone.
    • Put the mixture into a spray bottle for natural fiber carpets. With synthetic carpets, the mixture should never be sprayed or applied directly on the carpet.

Now that you are all set, let’s get into it.

Step Four: How to Remove Inks from Carpets

To keep things simple, we will start with different types of inks and then segue into the cleaning requirement for the type of carpet using homemade cleaning solutions. And then we will wrap things up with general cleaning using your favorite industrial carpet stain remover.

Ink stain from ballpoint pens: This is a water-based ink, and this prevents it from drying up quickly. It also means that the stain is easily transferable, so you need to act promptly. On the plus side, with a few gentle wipes and the right ingredients, you can get rid of the stain completely.


  1. White absorbent cloth
  2. Solvent solution
  3. Detergent solution

Pro Tip

For synthetic fabric carpets. Just add a spray bottle to the mix for carpets made from natural fibers and replace the solvent mixture with a vinegar solution.

Methods 1: Synthetic Fiber Carpets

  • Dip the white cloth in the solvent mixture and dab the stain gently.
  • Allow to dry for a few minutes and then repeat the dip and dab process if the stain remains visible.
  • When the carpet is looking better, rinse the area using another cloth dipped in the water this time around. Blot the spot until you get the desired result.

Method 2: Natural Fiber Carpets

  • Put the preferred mixture (if you are using detergent, be sure to use the kind made for this type of carpet) into a spray bottle. Spray directly on the stain and then use a dry cloth to blot.
  • Repeat this process until you get the results that you desire.
  • Spray the vinegar solution and blot out with a dry cloth.
  • Spray the stained area with lukewarm water, use a dry cloth to blot and then allow to set.

Ink stain from semi-permanent or permanent markers: The ink in markers is powder-based therefore speed is of the essence. The second you notice the stain; you need to swing into action. And even at that, there is a possibility that your cleaning efforts may not achieve the pristine stain-free carpet you want. After all, they are called ‘permanent’ for a reason. With that in mind, be open to the idea of calling in the pros to help you get the job done. But before then, let us give it a shot.


  1. Solvent solution.
  2. White cloth.
  3. Detergent solution and water for both synthetic carpets and natural carpets.

Method 3: Synthetic Carpets

  • Dip the white cloth in the solvent and then dab the affected area. Blot-don't rub.
  • Allow it to sit for a few minutes.
  • Dip the cloth in detergent solution and apply on the stain. Dab and then let it absorb any excess fluid.
  • Repeat step two and three until your carpet looks the way you want it to.
  • Dip the white cloth in lukewarm water and blot the spot to rinse off the detergent. Dab and then allow the carpet to dry.

Method 4: Natural Carpets

  • Dip the white cloth in the solvent and dab the affected area.
  • Put the detergent mixture in a spray bottle and spray directly on the affected spot and then blot the excess liquid using a dry cloth.
  • Fill a separate spray bottle with lukewarm water and spray the stained area. Use a dry cloth to blot and then leave to dry.

Step 5: How to Get Printer Ink Out of Carpets

The ink for printers is another fast-drying variety; however, the other chemical components in this ink make them different from the two types of ink previous discussed.


  • Dry stain remover
  • Detergent solution or vinegar solution
  • Water
  • Dry cloth
  • Vacuum cleaner

Method [Both Synthetic and Natural Carpets]

  • Vacuum the area with the stain.
  • Spray on the dry stain remover on the affected spot.
  • Dip the dry cloth in the preferred solution and dab. Repeat until you achieve the desired results.
  • Rinse by dipping cloth in water and blotting spot until the residue from either the detergent or vinegar solution is gone.
  • Press down and let the dry cloth absorb any excess liquid then allow to dry.

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