How to remove pen marks from wallpaper

When there is a small child in the house, there is a high probability that one day, in a fit of inspiration, the young artist will start drawing on all surfaces that he can reach. This is how traces of a ballpoint pen appear on the wallpaper, and the task of adults is to get rid of them as quickly as possible.

What you need to know before breeding

The first thing you need to find out when you are going to clean ink drawings from your walls is the type of wallpaper. The main question is whether it is washable or paper.

  • The paper version does not tolerate moisture, may not withstand mechanical impact, and is practically impossible to clean.
  • Vinyl ones are not afraid of water or household chemicals.
  • Material that is not treated with a water-repellent impregnation cannot be washed.
  • In the case of paintable wallpaper, the cleaning method depends on the type of paint applied.

The following recommendations will help make the process of cleaning wallpaper from ink more effective:

  • Test the selected cleaning agent on an invisible area, for example, behind a chest of drawers or a sofa. This way you can track the reaction of the material. In case of a negative result, the damaged area will not attract attention, reliably hidden by furniture.
  • More chances to remove fresh pen marks. The longer they remain on the wallpaper, the more they are absorbed.
  • Don’t get stuck on one method. Perhaps a combination of several methods will be more effective.
  • When using household chemicals or cleaning solutions, it is worth wearing gloves.

There are various methods to help get rid of ink marks on wallpaper. Both special means and those that are at hand are used.

Products from the pharmacy

What can be applied:

  • Hydrogen peroxide is not strong enough to remove ink, but when paired with glycerin, its cleaning properties are significantly enhanced. Mixing these two substances in a 1:1 ratio produces a good cleaning agent.
  • Ammonia will help remove pen marks from wallpaper. Apply a cotton pad soaked in the liquid to the stain and hold for a few minutes. But the method is not effective for paper wallpaper – verified by the editors.
  • Another option is to mix a teaspoon of ammonia and soda, pour a glass of warm water. Wet a cotton swab with the solution and treat the stained area.

Improvised means

Among them are vinegar, citric acid, starch and soda, milk, an eraser, a melamine sponge, toothpaste and even an iron.

  • Acids corrode ink very well. You can verify this by trying to clean the wallpaper with vinegar. Carefully run a damp cotton swab along the ink stain. Change the swabs before they become heavily soiled. When cleaning wallpaper, keep in mind that vinegar can discolor the pattern and leave whitish marks. It is better to use table vinegar, apple cider vinegar is not effective at all on paper. But on washable wallpaper, the result is immediately noticeable.
  • Squeeze some lemon juice. Dip cotton swabs in the juice and gently rub away the ink streaks. Change the swabs often to avoid smearing the dirt. It is not necessary to use juice; citric acid diluted in water will do.
  • Add a little water to the starch, mix until you get a paste the consistency of low-fat sour cream. Apply the mixture to the stain with a soft cloth or cotton pad. Wait 3-5 minutes, carefully remove the residue with a damp cloth or rag.
  • Dilute soda with water to a paste, treat the ink stain. After a few minutes, gently wipe the wallpaper with a soft cloth or sponge without pressing. Editor’s review: a paste of soda is one of the best cleaning agents, but not for paper wallpaper.
  • Wetting a hard brush in warm milk, outline the ink mark on the wallpaper. As it dries, the drawing will begin to fade noticeably. To enhance the effect, once the milk mark dries, it is worth repeating the manipulation.
  • You can try to remove the ink with an iron: turn off the steam function, heat it up. Apply a white sheet of paper to the stained area and iron it with a hot iron. The drawing will gradually transfer to the paper, and the wallpaper will become clean.
  • To remove pen stains from wallpaper, school erasers that erase ink are suitable. You need to try to erase the pen mark without damaging the wallpaper itself or removing the drawing on it. Therefore, you need to act carefully, moving the eraser with gentle movements.
  • A good remedy for fresh ink stains is a melamine sponge. It should be wet with warm water, squeezed gently (without twisting) to get rid of excess liquid, then wipe the stain with a corner. During the washing process, foam is released, which removes stains. When cleaning is finished, the remaining foam should be removed with a paper towel or cloth napkin.
  • Toothpaste will help clean wallpaper. Apply a small amount to an old toothbrush or the hard side of a sponge and wipe the dirty surface. You need to act gently, without unnecessary effort. Remove the remains with the soft side of a dry sponge or napkin. Not effective on paper wallpaper – verified by the editors.

The paste should be white without additional dyes. This method can only be used for light-colored wallpaper.

Household chemicals

The list includes the most accessible means that will help remove pen marks from wallpaper: soap solution, dishwashing gel, shaving foam, hairspray, nail polish remover or acetone.

  • It is best to use laundry soap. To achieve the effect, the soap solution must be concentrated enough. Carefully wash off the ink with a sponge or cleaning cloth soaked in it. The sponge should be slightly wrung out, the soapy water should not flow like a stream.
  • Dishwashing liquid often copes with ink stains. Dilute a small amount of gel in warm water. Moisten a cotton swab or toothbrush in the resulting solution. Gently rub the painted area until the marks disappear completely. Then wipe the area with a damp cloth. This method is good for small and fresh stains.
  • Apply a small amount of shaving foam to the dirty area. Leave until dry, then remove the residue with a damp, well-wrung-out cloth.
  • An effective way to clean vinyl wallpaper from ink is to spray it with hairspray. Immediately wipe the surface with a damp soft sponge or cloth.
  • Drawings made with a gel or ballpoint pen will quickly dissolve and disappear from the wallpaper if you apply nail polish remover or acetone to them. After the dirty surface has been treated with a swab soaked in the cleaning agent, you need to go over the wallpaper with a sponge soaked in water.

Professional products

Special stain removers are effective. For light wallpaper without a pattern, bleaching compounds containing chlorine are suitable. For colored wallpaper, you can try products for linen or carpets.

But none of the proposed methods give a 100% guarantee of complete removal of ink stains from wallpaper. But many of them give good results.

If you can’t remove the drawing, the only option left is to replace the damaged canvas or completely re-glue the wallpaper. Another solution is to leave the art untouched and proudly display it to everyone who comes to visit.

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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