How to Remove Pen Stains From Wood Furniture

There's not much worse than finding an ink stain on clothing, furniture or floors. Ballpoint pens transformed the act of writing, and although we're not limited to the nuisance of lead-smudged letters, it brings with it its own set of challenges. Permanent ink can wreak havoc when it is applied in the wrong places. Learn how to remove pen stains from your wood furniture or floors without inflicting damage on the surface in the process.


Do you have an unfinished wood piece that fell victim to an ink stain? This is probably the best case scenario to find your furniture. Because it hasn't been stained or finished yet, you have more freedom to get under the ink stain without worrying about damaging the surface layer.

Take some baking soda, mix it with warm water and create a paste. Use a damp cloth to spread the paste over the ink stain, and rub back and forth until the ink comes out. Do a final pass over the area with a clean, wet cloth to remove any lingering solution.


This can be tricky, but not impossible. If you discover a pen stain quickly after the incident happens, it probably hasn't set yet. Mix together warm water and a non-synthetic or plant-based soap. Dip a cloth into the solution and wipe down the area where the stain occurred. Avoid rubbing it, advises the SFGate, as you don't want to spread the ink. Rinse the area and dry it, then repeat if necessary.

If the stain persists, locate a fine piece of steel wool (numbered #0000), which won't damage the finish. Using a light hand, dip the steel wool into liquid wax and very gently rub the steel wool over the ink stain. The steel wool should only target the very top layer of the furniture's finish, and no deeper. Follow up with wood polish or Murphy® Oil Soap to treat the surface and restore its shine.

Figuring out how to remove pen stains from your furniture requires you to tackle them as soon as they happen. You'll have a higher chance of removing the stubborn ink, and you can turn your attention to bigger matters for example, using your pen to make a payment for your next gorgeous wood installation.

This article was brought to you by Colgate-Palmolive Company, the makers of Murphy® Oil Soap. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of the Colgate-Palmolive Company.