How to Remove Ink Stains

October 8, 2009
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Nothing like an ink stain to ruin a carpet cleaner’s day…or will it? If you’re looking to learn easy step-by-step techniques to remove ink stains, then settle in and keep reading.

Let’s say you show up to the client’s home and they have an ink stain. She explains how her dog got a hold of an ink pen and chewed it up on the carpet in the middle of the family room.

When a job like this comes along it’s exciting, because you know you can charge more for this kind of specialty situation. The client is going to want this ink stain removed; it’s in the middle of the family room where they spend the most time.

We love dogs. If it wasn’t for them, business would be a whole lot tougher.

Everything you do is on purpose to give the client the confidence she has the right technician. Get up close and personal with that ink stain by dropping to your knees and showing the client you are serious about her dilemma.

Always wear booties before entering the home, hand her a business card and explain you are an expert ink stain specialist.

Take a dry white towel and see if you get any ink transfer. This will impress your client. Explain the process: “Mrs. Jones, first I’m going to blot as much of the ink residue as possible. Then I will fence off the ink using a special technique to keep this from turning into a growing monster.

“I will use cleaners specially designed to remove ink.
(Never say chemicals, that’s what the competition uses; you use cleaners) Next I will use a tamping brush process to help remove as much of the ink into my towel as possible before extracting. Then, by using a combination of cleaners that are compatible, I will attempt to remove this eyesore. I can do this right now if you would like.

“Can I get started? Great!”


Step 1

Step 1

Remove as much ink in as possible before applying any spotting agents. Carefully inspect the ink stain and determine how many carpet tufts are affected.

Step 2

Step 2

In some situations you can remove a tuft or two or trim the surface to remove a significant portion of the ink.

Step 3

Step 3

After careful trimming, blot with a dry towel to remove any fresh ink, repeat until you have no transfer to the dry towel.

Step 4

Step 4

Apply a specially formulated hydrogen peroxide product to the surrounding yarns; this keeps the surrounding yarns from absorbing any dissolved ink.

Step 5

Step 5

This will ensure that you do not have a strong reaction when the ink comes in contact with the treated yarns.

Step 6

Step 6

Apply a citrus gel product to the stained yarns; the gel formula will keep the solvent on the surface where you want it.

Step 7

Step 7

Add a few drops of non-volatile dry solvent to assist in the ink break down. Be sure not to over apply the solvent; the solvent should not penetrate the back of the carpet.

Step 8

Step 8

Agitate and work in with a spotting tool. Allow dwell time.

Step 9

Step 9

Blot several times using a fresh area of the towel until transfer slows down, and repeat Steps 4 through 9.

Step 10

Step 10

Using a metal upholstery or stair tool, (the solvent may react with some synthetic tools and weaken or discolor them) place the tool on the stain exposing the edge of the ink stain and drip the non-volatile dry solvent down the tool onto the ink stain. This will dissolve the ink and extract it into the tool with out spreading or damaging the carpet backing.

Step 11

Step 11

Repeat as you slowly drag the tool back.

Step 12

Step 12

Repeat using a specialty solvent designed for ink. This product should not be used until the end of the process; it is a volatile solvent and with quantities of ink you must be careful to dissolve the ink at the same time as you are suspending the pigments.

Step 13

Step 13

Alternate between the NVDS, the citrus gel, the VDS and the ink solvent until the ink is gone

Step 14

Step 14

In some cases there may be trace pigments left behind after all the solvent soluble components have been removed.

Step 15

Step 15

If there are traces of pigment left after blotting the yarns dry, apply part A of a two-part hydrogen peroxide-based stain remover, and then apply an equal amount of part B.

Step 16

Step 16

Tamp with a tamping brush to insure even mixing on the fibers and activate the process. Allow 15 minutes for the reaction. Repeat Steps 15 and 16 as needed for complete stain removal.

Step 17

Step 17

Trim the tips of the affected yarns to match the surrounding yarns.

Step 18

Step 18

Get paid!



Editor’s Note: This step-by-step featured tools and chemistry from Prochem, but there are many outstanding products on the market. See your local distributor for more information.

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