How to Get Ink out of Wood

When working in the dining room or signing contracts at the study table, a pen can often find its way onto the wood surface of furniture. This can leave an ink stain, big or small, that can be challenging to remove.  

Cleaning wood needs to be done carefully as the material can be sensitive to harsh chemicals and rough methods. You need to know how to get ink out of wood safely and effectively. 

This article guides you on the best methods and products to use to remove a nasty ink stain from wood furniture or wood floors in a way that still protects the wood surface. 

How to Remove Ink from Wood Furniture

Fresh Ink

If you have just dropped an open pen onto your wooden floor, or the nib finds its way off the paper and onto your oak table, the best possible approach is to act fast on cleaning the stain. 

The quicker you get to work on cleaning the stains out of the wood furniture or flooring, the easier it will be to remove. This will also allow you to use a simpler cleaning solution that should make the process quick and simple. 

how to get pen out of wood

Remove Excess Ink

If an ink stain is still fresh, you might be able to remove some of the excess ink that is still wet on the surface. 

Use a paper towel or tissue to gently blot the stained area to remove as much ink as possible. Avoid rubbing the ink, as this could just spread the stain and make it bigger. 

Continue blotting until the ink no longer transfers onto the tissue. This applies to any fresh stain, like removing paint stains from wood furniture

Mix Solution

Next, combine two teaspoons of liquid soap with a cup of warm water and mix in a small bowl. 

Ensure that the water is lukewarm, and not too hot, as it can damage the wood if so. This solution also works well to remove fruit stains from wood furniture.

how to remove ink from wood furniture

Apply Solution

Dip a soft cloth into the mixed solution, and then gently wipe down the ink stain. You may need to re-dip the cloth and wipe over the stain a few times before it is completely removed.

Do not apply too much solution onto the wood at any given time, as too much water can soak deep into the wood and require you to remove water marks from the wood furniture, or even cause major water damage. 

Rinse & Dry 

Once the stain has cleared, you will need to rinse off any remaining soap from the area. Dip a fresh cloth into plain, cold water and then wipe over the same area to remove the remnants of the cleaning solution. 

Leave the area to air dry for a few minutes. 

Old Ink

It happens to the best of us - you spot a small ink stain on your wood furniture and you have no idea how it got there, and how long it has been there. While this does make it more challenging to remove, you can still get rid of older ink stains. 

This method uses the popular home ingredient of baking soda, which has always been considered an effective way to remove stubborn stains safely. It also helps with odor issues, like removing the musty smell from furniture.

remove ink from wood furniture

Prepare Solution 

Put two tablespoons of baking soda into a small bowl, and then slowly add small amounts of cold water until you create a paste consistency. You may need to adjust the mixture until you achieve this. 

The baking soda paste can also work incredibly well to get grease out of wood.

Do not use warm or hot water for this step, as it may dissolve the baking soda which makes it unusable for this purpose. 

Apply Solution & Scrub

Next, you will need to apply the combined paste to the stained area. Use a small spoon or butter knife to scoop the paste onto the stain, and then spread it over to cover the entire stain. 

Leave this to settle for about 5 minutes. 

how to get pen out of wood table

Once settled, use a soft cleaning brush to gently scrub the paste into the stain. We recommend our Hand-Fit HorseHair Brush, which is non-abrasive and works well on wood. Do not apply too much pressure while scrubbing, as this might damage the wood. 

You could also use a CRB machine for this step.

Rinse & Dry

Dip a fresh cloth into cold water and wring it out to remove any excess liquid, then wipe off the baking soda paste completely. You may need to re-dip the cloth and wipe it down a few times to completely remove it. 

how to get ink out of wood table

Leave to dry for a few minutes, then check the area to see if the stain is clear. If not, repeat the process from the start. 


An ink stain on wood might seem like a real disaster, but with the right methods and products, it can be removed relatively easily. 

The key to getting dark stains out of wood is to attend to them as soon as it happens, as the ink is still wet and has not been allowed time to settle into the wood too much. 

However, this might not always be preventable as we can sometimes only spot a stain long after it first occurred. In this situation, baking soda can be a real lifesaver. 

Wood is sensitive material, whether in the form of furniture or flooring, so it is important to check products carefully before using the wood. Spot tests are always a good idea to check how the wood reacts to the product before you begin the cleaning process. 

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