Few carpet stains can feel as disastrous as printer ink. But you can remove the ink stains! Here’s how to get printer ink out of carpet, using common products and simple techniques. Use the method that works best for you.
To get printer ink out of the carpet, you can use liquid solvents and cleaners (WD-40, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, shaving cream), dry cleaning agents, or a vacuum. To fully remove ink stains, you’ll also need soap and water and little elbow grease.
Here are some proven methods for removing printer ink stains from carpets. But before we get started, we want to share an important warning.
A Word of Caution: Before using any of these methods, please note using solvents and chemicals on your carpet has the potential to cause more damage.
The success (or failure) of this task depends on countless variables, including the type of carpet, the type of printer ink, how wet/dry the ink is, the type of solvent or cleaner you choose, and how long it remains on the carpet. Because we can’t cover every combination or know the countless variables of your situation, we can’t be responsible for the results of your stain removal.
- Consult with a professional if you aren’t confident in your choice of method or skill to remove the ink stain
- Test a small area of your carpet before spraying the whole area. It’s best to test a small, inconspicuous area in case the solvent damages the original carpet color.
- Choose a commercial stain removal product for your specific requirement. See #3 below.
How to Get Printer Ink Out of Carpet
Okay, now on with the printer ink stain removal methods.
1. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is great on recent printer ink stains.
- Soak some rubbing alcohol into a sponge or cloth and dab the affected area of your carpet until the stain lifts.
- Try not to rub the alcohol into the carpet, as this will make the removal more difficult.
- Leave the spot alone for half an hour.
Some readers have had success with mixing a quarter cup of olive oil with a quart of water. This mixture will offset the drying agents in the rubbing alcohol and protect your carpet. Add the mixture onto the spot and let it dry.
2. Isopropyl Alcohol
Isopropyl alcohol (used in nail polish remover) is another popular method for removing printer ink from carpeting.
- Start by dabbing at the stain with a clean paper towel
- To ensure you don’t spread the stain, clean from its outer corners to the center
- Once you’ve gotten as much of the ink up as possible, wet a paper towel with isopropyl alcohol, and blot the area until spotless
- Rinse the area with clean water and let the carpet dry overnight
Be careful because this might affect the color of the carpet, especially darker-colored carpeting.
3. Ink and Spot Removal Products
If you are willing to spend a little money, many companies make products that specifically clean ink from carpets.
Make sure the product label mentions ink stains before buying a spot remover.
Many of the best carpet cleaners also have a foaming agent, which helps lifts stains to the surface, making them easier to remove.
Always follow the directions on the container.
- Most of the time, you will only have to spray the affected area, wet it, and then dry it with a rag.
Some brands to consider: Folex Instant Carpet Spot Remover, Amodex Ink & Stain Remover, and Emergency Stain Rescue Stain Remover.
Surprisingly, the household lubricant WD-40 can come in handy for removing stains. WD-40 contains oil and solvent that allows it to remove stains without leaving a mark.
- To use, spray the lubricant onto the stain
- After 30-45 seconds, dab the stain using a sponge soaked in warm, soapy water
- Dry the area with a rag
- If you want to stay clear of residue, wash the area in warm water and wipe the excess moisture
Here’s what is in the US formula of WD-40:
45–50% low vapor pressure aliphatic hydrocarbon (isoparaffin)
<35% petroleum base oil (non-hazardous heavy paraffins)
<25% aliphatic hydrocarbons (same CAS number as the first item, but flammable)
2–3% carbon dioxide (propellant)Wikipedia
5. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide works wonders for old ink stains, but it may discolor your carpet. Before use, test the product on an area you don’t care much about to see whether or not it strips the color.
- If satisfied with the results, pour some hydrogen peroxide onto a cotton pad.
- Then dab at the stain until it disappears.
- Wet the area to remove any remaining solution, and let it dry overnight.
6. Shaving Cream
Shaving cream is especially useful for permanent ink stains. It’s nice for carpeting because it’s a gentle cleaner.
- Spray a thick layer of shaving cream onto the stain.
- Wet a sponge, and use it to blot the shaving cream into the carpet.
- Wipe the foam.
- Repeat as necessary before vacuuming the area.
If the ink is powdered, then the quickest cleaning solution is to vacuum. Avoid touching the ink powder with the vacuum head or getting the spot wet so the stain stays on the surface.
Then add a household carpet cleaner to the area. Use a carpet cleaner that foams for the best results, as the foaming agents will pick up ink the best.
Finally, apply a wet and dry cloth in turns until the stain disappears. Make sure there is no ink residue left on the vacuum cleaner, or you risk staining the carpet in other areas.
8. Cornstarch and Milk Mixture
This combination targets stubborn ink stains well.
- Add a few spoonfuls of cornstarch to a bowl of milk, and mix until the consistency is thick and pasty.
- Apply the paste to the stain, and leave it for several hours.
- Scrub the affected area with a dry toothbrush and the stain should lift.
- Vacuum the area to remove any residue.
9. Carpet Cleaners and Dry Cleaning Agents
Some dry cleaning agents can double as carpet cleaners. Popular brands include Clorox, Capture, Resolve, Woolite, and Hoover Professional Strength Removal.
Use these as you would a regular carpet cleaner. Apply the product to the stain, rinse the area, and dry with a cloth.
With conscientious use, bleach can save your carpet. You should only use bleach if your carpet is white or if you’re not worried about discoloring your carpet based on its pattern.
- If you decide bleach is a good option for your stain, put on gloves and pour a small amount of bleach onto a paper towel.
- Blot the stain with the towel.
- When the stain is no longer visible, finish by washing the area with clean water.
For most settings, bleach is not the right choice. It has the strength to damage both the color and integrity of your carpet.
11. Hair Spray
Alcohol-based hair spray can remove printer ink stains but is often more reliable for pen ink stains.
- To use this method, grab a paper towel and place it over the stain.
- Spritz a liberal amount of hair spray onto the towel.
- After a minute or so, you should see the stain lift onto the towel.
- Remove it and flush the area with water.
- Use a clean paper towel to dry the area.
If you’ve spilled some ink, you might have got some on your hands. Here’s how to get printer ink off your hands.
Here are 5 ways to remove printer ink from paper.
Here’s how to troubleshoot a printer that won’t print in color.
Stain Free Carpets
Now that you know how to get printer ink out of carpet, you don’t have to worry the next time you spill printer ink on your new carpet.
No matter whether your printer ink is dyed or pigmented, how old the stain is, and the type of carpet you own, there are several ways to remove the stain without breaking a sweat.
Dena Haines is a co-founder and writer on PrintLikeThis. We troubleshoot printer problems to get you back to printing.
She also writes at Storyteller Tech and is a travel blogger at Storyteller.Travel. Dena is co-founder of Storyteller Media, a company he started with her husband, Bryan.