How to Remove Fountain Pen Ink From Your Hands

Written by Laura Walker / Fact checked by Leilani Carroll

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Fountain pens are timeless writing tools cherished by many. However, even the most experienced fountain pen enthusiasts can occasionally find themselves with ink-stained hands, whether due to a slip of the nib or an unexpected leak.

So, how to remove fountain pen ink from your hands? In this guide, we will explore various methods to easily and effectively clean ink from your fingers and hands.

13 Ways to Remove Fountain Pen Ink on Hands

1. Isopropyl Alcohol Hand Sanitizer


Isopropyl alcohol hand sanitizer is a powerful solvent for ink stains. Apply a small amount to a cotton ball or swab and gently rub the stained area until the ink dissolves. This method is particularly effective for water-based inks.

2. Baby Oil


Baby oil is a gentle option if you prefer to remove dry ink or wet ink without alcohol. All you need to do is apply it to the stained area and rub gently to lift the ink.

Wash your hands afterward with soap and water. This method is also ideal for children’s skin and for those with sensitive skin.

3. Hairspray


Spray a small amount of hairspray onto the ink stain, let it sit for a moment, then wipe away the ink with a cloth or tissue.

Hairspray can effectively dissolve ink, but it may contain other chemicals, so wash your hands thoroughly after using it.

4. Borax


Create a paste by mixing borax and water. Apply the paste to the ink stain, gently scrub, and rinse. This method is especially useful for stubborn stains, like those from calligraphy ink.

5. Dishwashing Soap


Simple dishwashing soap can often do the trick. Just apply a small amount, lather, and scrub the stained area before rinsing with water.

6. White Vinegar


White vinegar is another household remedy that you can use to rub the ink stain until it fades away. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residual vinegar smell.

7. Butter or Vegetable Shortening


A small amount of butter or vegetable shortening can help loosen the ink for easier removal. Wash your hands with soap and warm water afterward.

8. Magic Eraser


Magic erasers are effective at removing various stains, including ink. Wet the eraser slightly and gently scrub the stained area. But be cautious not to scrub too hard, as this may irritate the skin.

9. Baking Soda & Water


Baking soda is a mild abrasive that can help lift ink stains. Create a paste using baking soda and water to clean your hands.

10. Milk


If you have got some extra milk in the fridge, consider using it to get pen ink off skin fast. Milk can be a surprisingly effective remedy for removing stubborn fountain pen ink stains from your hands.

Pour a small amount of milk into a bowl and dip a cotton ball or soft cloth. Gently rub the ink-stained area, allowing the milk’s enzymes to break down the ink particles.

11. Teabag


Tea can be a natural remedy for ink stain removal. Start by brewing a tea bag in hot water, allowing it to cool slightly. Once cooled, take the tea bag and gently rub it over the ink-stained area on your hands.

Then, wash with soap to eliminate any residual ink or tea residue.

12. Lemon Juice


Use fresh lemon juice directly onto a cotton ball and gently rub to take off ink from skin. The acidity of the lemon juice helps dissolve the ink over time.

13. Toothpaste


Toothpaste is not just for your teeth! You can use it for ink removal from skin. Start by squeezing a small amount onto your fingertips. Rub the toothpaste onto the ink stain in circular motions, and you can use a soft toothbrush or an old toothbrush for gentle scrubbing.

Fountain Pen Ink Ingredients


Fountain pen inks, known for their smooth flow and vibrant colors, typically consist of water and dye as their primary ingredients. Here’s a closer look at the components that make up these inks:

1. Water (Base & Solvent)


Water serves as the base and solvent for most fountain pen inks. It plays a crucial role in making the ink flow smoothly through the fountain pen’s nib.

This water-based composition allows easy ink flow when the nib is wet, contributing to the fountain pen’s characteristic writing experience.

2. Dyes (Ink Color)


Dyes are responsible for the ink’s color. Different colors are achieved by using specific dye compounds. For example, red ink may contain eosin, while blue ink often features triaryl methane dye. Black ink typically results from combinations of various dyes, creating the deep black color many fountain pen users prefer.

3. Additional Ingredients in Fountain Pen Inks


In addition to water and dyes, modern fountain pen inks may include other ingredients to enhance performance and longevity:

– Humectants: Humectants are additives that slow down the ink’s drying time. While this can be beneficial for maintaining a consistent ink flow during writing, it also increases the risk of smudging and staining, especially when the ink has not fully dried.

– Surfactants: Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension of the ink. This property allows the ink to flow smoothly and evenly across the paper, resulting in a more enjoyable writing experience.

– Biocides: Biocides are included to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi within the ink, helping to preserve its quality over time.


Inccidents are an inevitable part of using fountain pens at home and at school, and ink-stained hands are a common inconvenience.

Fortunately, with the methods in this guide on how to remove fountain pen ink from your hands, you can enjoy the elegance of fountain pen writing without the worry of unsightly stains.

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