How To Remove Biro From Leather: The Best Tips And Tricks!

A close up image of four leather bags of different colours sitting on a shelf.

Image © irrmago, under a Creative Commons license.

We've all been there: a fun afternoon's colouring activity for the children that we look away from for one moment and there's biro pen on a nice new leather handbag.

Or maybe a few of us have had it where we're just getting up from an hour in front of the TV to find that we've sat on that to-do-list that's never going to get completed, pen and all, and there's a little mark of ink both on bums and the sofa.

Well fear not! If you want to know how to remove pen from leather and you don't want to end up smudging the ink stain into an even bigger problem, we can help. We've scoped out the best methods - from products to home life hacks - for how to get rid of ink stains.

A close up image of a woman holding three different cleaning products to try and remove biro from leather.
Image © Kelly Sikkema

Some Things To Know Before You Get Started

There's a difference between naked leather and finished leather. Put a drop of water on your leather surface and, if it gets absorbed your leather is naked. You should only try and clean finished leather at home, naked leather will have to be cleaned professionally.

Does your leather product come with care instructions? If so give them a read, they might have products that they recommend using.

Whichever product you are using, always do a spot test before applying it to the biro.

A toddler playing happily (but messily) with a biro pen.
Image © user6014584, under a Creative Commons license.

The Best Leather Stain Remover Products

The type of leather stain remover you need may depend on what type of leather you are trying to clean, so do make sure you read the small print to check each product is suitable. Most of the time one of these care products is the best way to clean leather sofas or handbags.

Furniture Clinic Leather Care Kit: This comprehensive cleaning kit makes a good investment if you are buying a leather sofa.

Furniture Clinic Leather Care Kit.
Image © Furniture Clinic

Wilko Leather Cleaner: This is a great option if you are on a bit of a budget.

Wilko Leather Cleaner.
Image © Wilko

Amodex Ink & Stain Remover: Amodex has been removing stains for over 50 years so this really is a tried and tested option.

Amodex Ink And Stain Remover.
Image © Amodex

How To Remove Ink From Leather With Products You Already Have In The Home

Want to know how to get biro off leather without buying a product? There are lots of things you might have lying around the house that could help you.

Water And Soap: The easiest and first thing to try to get biro off leather. you can use washing up liquid mixed in a bit of warm water, then gently applied with a damp cloth.

Baby Wipes: Definitely worth a try! Just gently rub the baby wipe on the leather surface.

Hairspray: Spray a small amount onto the stain and use a cotton bud to gently rub. Make sure to condition the leather afterwards as the alcohol in hairspray can dry leather out.

Rubbing Alcohol: Rubbing alcohol has been known to work to get biro off leather. Apply a small amount to a cotton bud, but be sure to treat the leather with a care product afterwards as the alcohol can cause it to dry out.

WD40: Who'd have thought it? This handy all-rounder can actually help get biro off leather, though make sure the leather is not absorbent at all. Spray a little on to a soft cloth then rub onto the ink marks.

Nail Polish Remover: Use a cotton bud to rub a small amount onto the biro stain. Apply leather conditioner afterwards to avoid it drying out.

White Vinegar And Water: Mix equal parts of water and vinegar. Use a soft cloth to gently rub the solution onto the ink stains.

Milk: This has been known to work for some people. Simply dip a cotton swab in milk and dab it on to the biro stain.

A close up image of a gloved hand rubbing a brown leather sofa with a cloth in an attempt to remove a biro stain.
Image © Fantastic Services

Dos And Don'ts


Dab the excess ink with a paper towel before starting

Use a leather conditioner afterwards to restore the finish of the product


Apply your cleaning product with a scratchy cloth, always use a cotton swab or soft sponge.

Push too hard. If the stain doesn't seem to be coming off, you could make it worse by rubbing vigorously. Always go tentatively.



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