How to Get Tattoo Ink out of Carpet [6 Best Ways]

Tattoo ink may be permanent ink, but fear not if you should happen to end up with a stain! Every tattoo artist knows that sometimes drips happen, and it’s even possible to end up with stains when you are the recipient of a tattoo.

If you’ve just gotten a fresh tattoo (congrats on the body art, by the way!) and you take the wrap off, there’s always a chance that residual ink might end up staining your carpet. Fortunately, if you’re looking for how to get tattoo ink out of carpet, you’re in the right place!

Cleaning your carpet from tattoo ink will involve using various products, such as baking soda, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, cleaning solution, denatured alcohol, lemon juice, or hairspray. You will usually have to apply your substance of choice to the stain, let it sit, and then wash it off. The treatment may take a bit of time, but by the end of it, your carpet should be good as new.

This article will guide you through the process of how to get tattoo ink out of carpet with a variety of household items that you probably already have in your cabinets. Let’s get right to it!

how to get tattoo ink out of carpet

What is Tattoo Ink Made out of?

Tattoo ink is a special kind of ink. It would have to be, right? After all, it helps artists weave colorful, intricate art across human flesh! It is generally made out of two things: a carrier and a colorant. The carrier involved is the fluid in which the color resides. Typical carriers used in tattoo ink are water, glycerin, witch hazel, or isopropyl alcohol. All of these are safe for the tattooing process and safe for human skin.

The colorant portion of the makeup is made out of extremely pigmented color compounds. These color compound pigments have to be strong because tattoo ink needs to be able to reflect light in a visible way. These colorants are usually made from sources like carbon, cadmium, and iron oxide.

Currently, there are over two hundred different colorants used to make tattoo ink. There are also sometimes additives included that are used as binding agents or preservatives.

While some of the pigments are made using animal products, there are also vegan and vegetarian inks that replace glycerin made from animals with glycerin made from vegetables. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, make sure you research whether your tattoo artist utilizes such inks before you get a tattoo.

Does Tattoo Ink Come off Carpet?

You’re in luck—it does! All but the most stubborn, deeply set ink can be removed from carpet. This is particularly important if you are a tattoo artist, because a stain-free carpet can reinforce the respectable atmosphere you want to project and make you look like a neater and more precise professional.

It may help to know if you have synthetic or natural fiber carpets. Tattoo ink can be cleaned out of both, but you may have to alter your methods based on the type of carpet you have. Some fibers, especially natural ones, are very delicate. In those cases, you’ll have to refrain from using certain cleaning agents, and you may have to be gentler during the cleaning process.

We’ll make sure to highlight below if any of our methods are unsafe on certain types of carpet. Unless noted otherwise, you can proceed to use the one that suits you best!

Removing Tattoo Ink Stains out of Carpet in 6 Easy Ways

No matter how it got there, whether by your own hand or a nervous customer, here is a list of helpful ways that you can remove ink from the carpet. Gather your tools, brace yourself, and get cleaning!

Method 1 – Baking soda

365 by Whole Foods Market, Baking Soda, 16 Ounce

There seems to be no end to the cleaning uses presented by baking soda. It’s not at all surprising that it will do a good job with tattoo ink, too, seeing as it can clean just about anything.

Keep in mind that if used incorrectly, baking soda may leave residue on your carpet, and you may end up with a different kind of stain! Make sure you follow our instructions closely, and if you’re not sure whether it’s safe, do a patch test first.

You can do that by simply applying our method to a small, hidden part of your carpet. If everything goes well, you can proceed to remove ink from the carpet. If something seems off, try a different method.

Without further ado, let’s get right to it. Here’s how to remove extra ink from the carpet with baking soda.

Materials

If you use a search engine and type in how to get tattoo ink out of carpet, the first result you’re likely to come across is this one: the baking soda method.

For this, you will need a few items in total:

  • Baking soda
  • Ginger ale (diet ginger ale is fine)
  • Warm water
  • Something like a cotton ball, microfiber cloth, or clean rag to scrub the carpet

Because whatever you use to clean the stain will probably end up stained itself, it is not suggested that you use a white cloth, at least not unless you’re prepared to let it go afterward.

Step 1 – Apply baking soda

Use warm water to soak the stains and then sprinkle the baking soda over the stain. After doing this, pour ginger ale on the areas covered in the baking soda. The ginger ale is used to counteract the paste-like effect that wet baking soda can have so that it will not make your carpet dry strangely.

Remember that you can also use diet ginger ale. Rest assured that it won’t make any difference whether you use diet ginger ale or the regular version, so just use the one you already have in your home.

Step 2 – Scrub the carpet

At this point, you can use a cotton ball, a toothbrush, or a clean rag to scrub the carpet. How well this works will depend on the color of the ink and what materials the ink was made out of. Temporary tattoo ink will always make it easier to remove stains than permanent tattoo ink or tattoo ink colors made of specific types of more concentrated colorant.

Be careful to remove all of the excess liquid that you can with this method, and all others. Leaving your carpet damp for too long can cause unpleasant odors to grow in the fibers. You don’t want to cause one carpet issue while solving another!

Once you’ve gotten rid of the stain, leave your carpet to air dry. You can help your cause by using fans, dehumidifiers, or even a regular hairdryer.

Method 2 – Nail Polish Remover

Pronto 100% Pure Acetone - Quick, Professional Nail Polish Remover - For Natural, Gel, Acrylic, Sculptured Nails (8 FL. OZ.)

If you are dealing with a semi-permanent ink stain, nail polish remover may be the ideal choice for you. If the ink is permanent, you might want to skip to the next step and check out how the alcohol method stain remover.

The acetone from the nail polish remover can also help if you have ballpoint ink stains (or any other pen ink spot) or a permanent marker stain!

Materials

For this, you will only need a clean cloth (or a few) as well as a bottle of nail polish remover. Any alcohol-based nail polish remover will do.

Steps

This method is one of the simplest on this list. All you have to do is pour the nail polish remover over the spot on your rug where the tattoo ink stain is.

Leave the acetone-based remover on for about a minute, and then use a clean cloth and cold water to gently scrub the tattoo ink out of the carpet.

Much like in the previous method, you have to make sure you leave your carpet dry when you’re done—no amount of cold water or nail polish remover should be left behind. Using a fan or a hairdryer and directing it onto the stain is a nice and easy way to dry things up after you’ve removed ink from the carpet.

Method 3 – Rubbing Alcohol

Dealmed Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol 70% USP, First Aid Antiseptic, 16 fl. oz, (1 Pack)

If the nail polish remover doesn’t work or you are dealing with permanent tattoo ink stains, denatured alcohol is a proven and effective way to remove tattoo ink from your carpet.

All you need is a bottle of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol. If you are removing non-permanent ink, a weaker percentage bottle will be fine. If you are dealing with permanent tattoo ink, you will want to go for something that is 70% or above.

Alcohol is a fantastic option for cleaning a number of things. If you don’t happen to have a bottle of alcohol handy, you can also use hand sanitizer.

Materials

  • Clean cloth
  • Isopropyl, rubbing alcohol, or hand sanitizer

Step 1 – Remove extra ink

To start out, use a clean cloth and run it under or dip it in warm water. Use the wet cloth to get rid of any excess ink that might be lingering on the stain. The process for this is the same for both natural and synthetic fibers.

Step 2 – Apply rubbing alcohol

Next, take the rubbing alcohol and apply it to the stain while the stain is still wet thanks to the warm water. Leave the rubbing alcohol on the ink stain for approximately ten minutes. The goal here is to give the rubbing alcohol plenty of time to soak into the tattoo ink on the carpet.

Step 3 – Blot away

Once the tattoo ink is saturated in the rubbing alcohol and has had time to set, use a paper towel and blot away the rubbing alcohol. For most stains, they should begin to fade almost immediately.

If there are remaining particles of ink in the fibers, simply try repeating the process a few times until all the ink from the carpet is gone.

Step 4 – Dry

You guessed it—you should never leave your carpet wet or even slightly moist if you can help it. Soak up excess moisture with your cloth, and if that’s not enough, air out the room. As always, a fan, a dehumidifier, or simply air conditioning will help tremendously.

Method 4 – Using a Cleaning Solution

OxiClean Color Boost Color Brightener plus Stain Remover Liquid FREE 45oz

Using a cleaning solution can be a fantastic option for getting rid of an ink stain, and consequently, leaving you with a pristine carpet.

It is suggested for both synthetic fibers and natural fibers, and should even work on a light-colored carpet, which is a lot more than can be said for some other methods.

‘Cleaning solution’ might sound a little ambiguous, but it can refer to pretty much any detergent or bleaching solution that is safe to use on carpets. You may already have one in your home, but if not, you don’t need to spend money on an ultra-specialized solution. Anything that removes stains from carpets will do!

Materials

  • Cleaning solution
  • Warm water
  • A cloth
  • A bucket

A quick tip: Microfiber cloths are an excellent option for removing stains.

Step 1 – Soak up excess liquid

To begin with, you should make sure that any excess liquid ink from the stain has been removed from the carpet by blotting the stain gently or scraping it. Make sure not to rub the carpet, as that has the opposite effect—you’ll be working the ink into the stain, not outward!

Step 2 – Apply the cleaning solution and wait

Once that is done, mix the cleaning solution with the recommended amount of water and then apply it to the remaining stain.

Allow the mixture to sit on the stain for five minutes. We can’t stress this enough: do not attempt to even gently scrub the wet ink stain into the carpet, no matter how tempting that may be! That will only make the issue worse and potentially cause a permanent ink stain.

Step 3 – Blot the stain with cold water

Once five minutes have passed, use a microfiber cloth or a kitchen towel that you do not mind having stains on and apply cold water to it. Use the wet, cold cloth to blot against the stain remover on your carpet. Once all the cleaning solution is gone, check if the stain persists. If there is still an ink stain, redo the steps until you are left with a spotless carpet.

Sometimes these cleaning solutions can involve harsh chemicals, so it may be recommended that you wear gloves and take other precautions when working with them to remove ink from your carpet fibers.

Method 5 – Lemon Juice or White Vinegar

Member's Mark Distilled White Vinegar Jug, 1 Gal

This method may be the most convenient one on the list, given that lemon juice and white vinegar are two things that are likely already sitting in your kitchen pantry. For this reason, and because the steps to use these items as a stain remover are the same for each one, we are listing them together.

If you have a particularly stubborn bit of tattoo ink you’re trying to get out of the carpet, you can also try both options in succession.

Materials

  • Lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Paper towel
  • A cloth

Steps

Start by blotting away all the ink you may be able to get rid of before getting down to business and starting the cleaning process. Remember to work it outwards, not inwards, or you may accidentally make matters worse.

For either liquid option (lemon juice or white vinegar) simply apply your option of choice in place of a regular stain remover.

Next, wipe it away with a paper towel or a clean cloth until the carpet fibers come clean.

If one application fails to work, you can try this method again as many times as you need to get the tattoo ink out of your carpet. Make sure not to let either liquid sit on your carpet for too long.

Method 6: Using Hair Spray

L'Oreal Paris Advanced Hairstyle Lock It Bold Control Hairspray 8.25 Ounce

For the hairspray method of removing ink stains, you will only need an aerosol can of non-oily hairspray! The brand does not matter as they should all work the same, but it is important that you check the ingredients. Here’s why.

The active ingredient that will help you with your ‘how to get tattoo ink out of carpet’ dilemma is alcohol, so if the product you are going to use does not list alcohol in the ingredients list, you will need to use a different kind.

Materials

  • Alcohol-based hair spray
  • Paper towels
  • Vacuum cleaner or broom
  • Container of water

Step 1 – Prepare to clean

Make sure that you have ventilated the area as much as you can so that the fumes from the hair spray don’t make you feel unwell. Hair spray and tight, closed-off spaces really do not mix!

Step 2 – Spray the stain

After you have ventilated the area as much as possible, spray between a fourth and a half of the bottle on the stain, depending on the size of the mark. You will be using a generous amount, so don’t be afraid to spray away.

Step 3 – Leave it to sit and then blot

Once the hair spray has sat on the carpet stain for about ten minutes, you should see that the stained area is beginning to look different. The hair spray will have begun to dissolve the ink from the fibers of the carpet.

At this point, you can take a paper towel and begin to blot the stain with a folded paper towel. Do not scrub the stain! Scrubbing will have the opposite effect and will embed the residual ink further into the carpet.

Step 4 – Vacuum

After the hairspray has been blotted and given time to dry, you should follow up with a vacuum cleaner or a broom to ensure that the hairspray particles do not form chemical bonds with your carpet. A chemical bond will make the hairspray very difficult to remove and leave your carpet with a strange, unpleasant texture.

Step 5 – Add water

As a final step, pour warm water over the stain. The warm water should begin to remove ink from the carpet fibers quickly. Use a moderate amount—enough to make it wet, but not enough for it to be soaked.

Once you’ve removed as much ink as possible and the hair spray has done its job to remove stains, you should remove as much excess water as you can and then leave your carpet to air dry.

Tips for Removing a Dry Tattoo Ink Stain

The above suggestions are most suitable for a still wet ink stain, but there are some things you can do to attempt cleaning an already dried one as well.

You can use alcohol or a non-sticky hairspray to re-moisten the ink. Once you do that, apply a dry cloth to the spot and hopefully, the ink will transfer from the carpet onto the rag you are using to remove stains. You may have to repeat this process a few times.

Once you’ve removed all (or as much as you can) of the stain, use a clean cloth and warm water to rinse the carpet and remove the residual alcohol or aerosol spray. Next, follow up with one of our methods to get rid of it completely.

Precautions to Follow When Cleaning Tattoo Ink

If you are trying to get tattoo ink out of carpet, there are a few things you should not do.

First, don’t wait! The sooner you begin to clean up the stain, the more likely it is that you will remove ink stains completely from your carpet.

You should also clean any excess ink or excess liquid up as soon as possible. The more you can wipe away while it’s still extremely liquid, the less ink will have a chance to get into your carpet fibers.

Lastly, avoid scrubbing or rubbing the ink into your carpet unless directly instructed to by the method that you are using. Carpet fibers are delicate and highly absorbent, so you want to be gentle.

FAQs: Removing Tattoo Ink out of Carpet

Your stain should have hopefully been dealt with and you got rid of all the excess ink, but we are here to leave you with some parting knowledge on the matter. If you want to get tattoo ink 101, you’ve come to the right place!

1. Is tattoo ink dangerous?

Not every pigment is safe for tattooing; in fact, only thirty percent of dyes and pigments available have been deemed safe. It is very important to make sure you’re getting a tattoo from a reputable source. Amateur or home tattoos can cause medical issues when the ingredients have not been vetted!

2. How do you get black permanent ink out of carpet?

Tattoos are permanent, but so is a Sharpie—at least in theory. In reality, so-called permanent markers are not really permanent, so you’re in luck: you’ll be able to save your carpet if alongside tattoo ink you’ve spotted a permanent marker stain.

Removing black permanent ink out of carpet is much the same as our methods listed above. Use non-oil-based hairspray or rubbing alcohol. Apply it to the stain, blot it gently, and leave it for a few minutes. Lastly, clean the residue with lukewarm water, and make sure to let your carpet dry properly!

Verdict

Not only can you get tattoo ink stains out of the carpet, but you can do so largely using things that you will already find in your home. What’s even better is that baking soda, lemon juice, hairspray, vinegar, and ginger ale are not hard to acquire even if you don’t happen to already own them.

There is also nothing wrong with combining these options. If you feel like you have removed as much of the stain as you can with lemon juice, you can always switch to baking soda! A combination of them won’t hurt your carpet and might help you with removing ink stains when they show up exactly where you don’t want them to be.

We hope that our guide has helped you bring your carpet back to life. Happy cleaning!

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