How to Remove Pen Ink from Walls

Has your little Picasso left his artwork on your walls? Don’t sweat it. With the right tools and techniques, you can remove even the most stubborn pen ink from your walls.


I remember it like it was yesterday. I was sitting on the couch watching my 2-year-old doodle on a piece of notebook paper. Ding-dong – the doorbell rings and I leave the room to answer it.

After exchanging pleasantries with the UPS man, I head back to the living room to find my son grinning from ear-to-ear and pointing to the picture he had drawn. Much to my surprise, it was not on the paper, but on my clean, white wall!

Determined not to lose the security deposit on my apartment, I quickly tried every product and remedy I’ve ever heard of to remove pen ink. While some did nothing more than smear the ink, others were effective at fading and eventually eliminating the scribbles – much to my son’s dismay.

If you’re experiencing a similar situation, don’t panic. Try the following solutions for removing pen ink from walls.

What the Experts Say

Don’t get frustrated over a little pen on the wall. Most pen ink can be wiped away with the right product and a little elbow grease. Here’s some tips from experts about pen ink removal.

“Dab white vinegar on painted walls and keep dabbing until the ink is removed. Or rub gently with silver-polishing cream, then rinse.”

Jean B. MacLeod, If I’d Only Listened to Mom


“Kneadable art gum erasers are lumps of malleable gray rubber that are available at art supply stores. Kneadable erasers are excellent for removing marks from delicate paper, fabrics, or unwashable wall surfaces.”

Ellen Sandbeck, Organic Housekeeping


“First rub the area with a soft cloth damped on rubbing alcohol (don’t be scared if the wall turns out a different color! Keep reading); then take some soapy water and clean the area with a sponge; finish with some more rubbing alcohol in a clean cloth if needed.”

Amy Cleaning and Ironing, How to Clean Pen and Crayon Marks from a Wall


“Whether it is on the floor, the wall or your clothes, do not rub at the stain in an attempt to remove it.”

Jessica Watson, How to Remove Marker and Ink


“Another trick to try is using fingernail polish remover. Non-acetone type is best.”

Corina Wilson, The Basics of Removing Ink Stains


Remedies for Removing Pen Ink from Walls

For most parents, removing ink from walls is a matter of when – not if. Here are a few ways to make the clean-up process easier.

  • Before trying anything else, try removing the pen ink with a Magic Eraser. These multi-use sponges have worked for me dozens of times and are effective at removing most types of pen ink.
  • Spray a small amount of alcohol-based hairspray on the stained wall. Use a clean cloth to gently rub away the stain.
  • Bug spray may work to remove stubborn pen ink from walls and other types of painted surfaces.
  • If you have standard stain removers in your cleaning closet, spray a small amount on the wall and get to work. Stain removers are generally manufactured for use on fabrics but some may also work for wall stains.
  • Toothpaste is mildly abrasive, making it an effective cleaning tool. Smear a liberal amount of generic white toothpaste over the ink mark. Damp a rag with water and buff the area to remove the ink.
  • Rubbing alcohol works well to remove tough stains from permanent markers and pens. It acts as a solvent to reactivate the dry ink, making it easier to wipe off.
  • If you don’t have rubbing alcohol in the house, try hand sanitizer instead. A key ingredient in most hand sanitizers is alcohol.
  • Windex is not just for windows. A small squirt of the cleaning solution may be just what you need to get your little one’s doodles off the wall.

While you can be proud that your budding artist is growing his creativity, you don’t have to be happy about the mess left behind. Quickly remove the pen ink from your walls and redirect your toddler to a more suitable canvas.


Brandy Dishaw

Brandy is a content specialist and proud mother of two children. She enjoys writing engaging content on parenting, children’s health, and educational topics, and has been published on websites like Modern Mom, Yahoo! Shine, and With more than a decade of experience as a writer and mom, she combines research and personal experience to provide her audience with insight to the world of parenting.

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