How To Get Pen Off Wood 1

How to Get Pen Off Wood


Whether it was accidentally made by an adult or happily made by a toddler, pen marks on wood are no fun. Some types of wood just won’t let go of pen marks although some can be quite forgiving. Some pen inks may not come off as well while you can remove some inks using ordinary home items like what we have here. If you are worried about pen marks on wood then this guide will show you how to wipe away these horrific marks.

Removing pen marks on wood basics

The trick to removing pen marks is you need to do it quickly especially on unfinished wood. Otherwise, the ink won’t be able to come off even with severe measures. The following techniques can help.

Things you will need

  • Baking soda
  • Alcohol
  • Toothpaste
  • Clean rags
  • Cotton or cotton swab


Using baking soda

Using Baking Soda 2


Mix a part baking soda and water to create a thick paste. Get a small amount of the mixture and spread this over the ink stain. Rub the paste over the ink stain using your fingers. Baking soda can be slightly abrasive, so do not scrub too hard or you may end up damaging the sheer finish of your wooden furniture.

Moisten a soft cloth with plain water and scrub the area to remove the paste. If you are removing larger stains, repeat the steps above until all traces of the ink have been removed. If you spot a haze on the surface of the wood due to using baking soda, wipe this with a cotton ball moistened with a small amount of rubbing alcohol.

Using rubbing alcohol

Using Rubbing Alcohol 1


Rubbing alcohol will easily lift most inks and dissolve it. It is possibly the cheapest way to remove ink and is also effective on most inks. Hairsprays also contain a small amount of alcohol and you may also use this to remove ink stains on wood.

Moisten a small cotton ball or cotton swab with rubbing alcohol or hairspray. Wipe the ink-stained area until the ink is completely removed. If the ink is quite stubborn, wipe the area with another moistened cotton ball. Avoid scrubbing with too much pressure because this can remove the finish of your wooden furniture and may also leave a mark.

Alternative cleaners

Alternative Cleaners 1


Other common household items may also work in removing the pen from wooden surfaces. Toothpaste may also work for some ink stains. Some toothpaste brands contain baking soda and these can be quite effective. Spread the toothpaste over the area and rinse it by wiping away with a clean cloth moist with plain water.

Another method is using spray insect repellent or sunscreen. Both of these products allow the water to penetrate underneath the ink and make it run off of the surface. Test a small amount of spray in a hidden area. Saturate the area with insect spray or sunscreen and see if the ink comes off.

If it works, then apply the spray on the area to be treated. Wipe away with a clean soft cloth. For smaller areas apply the spray on a cotton swab or cotton ball and rub the area. After the ink has been removed rinse the area with a soft cloth moistened with clean water.

Additional tips

  • Remember to test a small hidden area first to prevent damaging the furniture before proceeding with the actual ink removal. Never just proceed without testing because you are risking more damage to wood.
  • Keep in mind that a technique may not work because inks respond differently to different removal methods. So experiment and find the right solution that will work for your situation.
  • If the stain is on a wooden wall, perform the same steps but be very careful. Test on a conspicuous area first. If the mark is on a painted wooden wall, you might as well paint over the mark instead of using removal techniques.
  • The last resort would be sanding the furniture, floor or wall if the stain just won’t come off using common household cleaners or after using household items.


Getting pen marks off wood is easy. There are plenty of household items that you can use to remove ink on wood. You just need to experiment to find out which one works for you.