DIY pen remover alternatives on leather surfaces and items

diy pen remover

If you work with leather, you’ve likely experienced the frustration of pen marks on your beautiful leather items. The good news is that there are a number of ways you can remove these pesky marks. But which one is best? Whether you’re leatherworking or writing on a leather journal, here are some DIY pen remover alternatives you can use to help get rid of that pesky ink mark.

Alcohol / Isopropanol

Alcohol is a great alternative for removing pen marks from leather surfaces. It can be used on both smooth and suede leather, but not nubuck or suede. This remover is used for its cleaning properties to remove dirt and germs from leather.

Be sure to use isopropyl alcohol to remove pen marks from your leather items. Using other types of alcohol, like vodka or rum, will result in the leather changing the color and texture over time.


Hairspray is a great pen mark remover for smooth leather. It’s usually easy to find in a spray can and can be used on most leather goods. Be sure to use a hairspray that doesn’t leave a sticky residue on the leather after it’s applied.

Hairspray is very easy to use. Simply spray the ink mark on the leather and let it sit for a few seconds. Then, use a clean, dry cloth to gently rub off the ink. You can also use an old toothbrush to scrub the mark.


DIY pen remover alternatives on leather surfaces and items

If you have melamine, you can use it to remove pen ink from leather. Melamine is a type of plastic that’s used for dining tables and drawers. It’s very hard and durable and can be used to remove pen ink from leather. To do this, simply rub the area where the pen mark is with melamine. Then, clean the area with some soap and water. However take care when scrubbing as it can remove leather coatings.

Soap and water

If the mark is quite faint you can also use plain soap and water to remove pen ink from leather. Apply a little soap to the stain and rub it in. Then, rinse the area with water, and voila! The stain should be gone.

Homemade cleaner

If you’re working with a large area or multiple pen marks on your leather surface, consider making your own cleaner to remove them with. Simply mix together vinegar, olive oil, and dish soap in a bowl. Use a clean cloth to gently rub the mixture into the ink and then rinse the area with warm water.

Other alternatives

You can try using non-woven wipes, like the ones you might use to clean your glasses, or a mix of water and baby oil. However, you should only try these alternatives if you’re sure that the ink won’t stain your piece of leather.

The best pen-remover alternative on leather surfaces is definitely hairspray. It works on just about every surface and it’s super easy to use. If you don’t have hairspray on hand, you can also use soap and water, melamine, vinegar, olive oil, or lemon juice. Be sure to keep these items on hand so you’re prepared next time you make a mistake or someone else does.


We get asked a lot of questions about pen marks, and we’re going to try to address the most common ones here.

Is there any alternative to you can use instead of pen remover on leather?

Yes – You can use alcohol, hairspray or homemade cleaner as pen remover alternatives on leather.

What is the best way to remove pen marks from tile or granite?

It’s best to use alcohol, and rub the alcohol into the mark as hard as possible.

What is the difference between alcohol and pen remover?

Alcohol is an astringent liquid that dries quickly. It works by drying out the ink on the surface of the leather. Pen remover contains solvents that dissolve the ink from the inside of the leather.

What is the difference between pen remover and homemade cleaner?

Pen remover contains solvents that dissolve the ink from the inside out, while homemade cleaner is a product made from everyday household items that minimizes the appearance of the ink on the surface of the leather.

What is the difference between liquid and powder pen remover?

Liquid pen remover is applied on the surface of the leather. Powder pen remover is sprinkled on the surface of the leather and brushed in.

How do you remove pen ink from suede?

Soak a clean cloth in alcohol, wring it out, and then apply it to the ink stain. Depending on the material, the ink might bleed into the suede if it’s left too long. For this reason, you should apply the alcohol, clean the area with a cloth, and then follow up with a damp cloth.