How To Get Fountain Pen Ink Off Your Hands

Fountain pens hold a special place in the hearts of those who use them, and they are far more practical than most people realize, but they do have their drawbacks. one such downside to using a fountain pen is accidentally getting ink all over your hands when refilling or repairing a pen. If you have encountered this problem, you may be wondering how to get fountain pen ink off your hands.

Anything that will break down the fountain pen ink will remove it effectively. There are many off-the-shelf products designed to remove ink from the skin, such as Amodex. Other methods are to use a coarse soap or mixing a homemade ink remover using baking soda, lemon, and rubbing alcohol.

There are many methods for removing fountain pen ink from your hands. Some methods are quite harsh on the skin, but there are others that work perfectly well without harming the skin, and there are even some very simple methods that may surprise you. Let’s go over the best ways to get fountain pen ink off your skin.

Why Is Fountain Pen Ink So Difficult To Clean Off Skin?

The ink that is used in fountain pens is very unique. It is specially designed for use in these pens, and it comes in many varieties and is made by many manufacturers.

Spilling fountain pen ink on your fingers or accidentally getting a few drops on your skin somewhere while refilling or cleaning a fountain pen is a very common problem that is experienced by almost everyone who uses this type of pen.

Fountain pen ink is mostly water-based, but the elements that give the ink its color, namely the dyes that are used in the ink, are oil-based. This oil-based dye is what stains the skin for a while and is difficult to wash off.

Due to the oils in the dyes that give fountain pen ink their color, it is very difficult to wash it off. The oil is not soluble in water, so regular water-based soaps will not be able to remove it. You need to use something a little stronger to remove the ink entirely.

It is almost impossible to wash this oily pigment off of skin using standard hand soaps, as the soap does not break down the oil and release it from the skin. The oil from the ink soaks into the skin, and by its nature, the oil repels water.

This means that normal washing techniques and products are usually not able to wash off the ink.

To successfully remove fountain pen ink that has been spilled on your hands or elsewhere on your skin, it is imperative to use a substance that will break down the oils in the ink that have stained the skin.

There are many ways to break down the oils from the fountain pen ink to remove them from the skin, most of which are very accessible for everyone. Let’s look at some of the best and worst methods for getting fountain pen ink off your hands.

How To Get Fountain Pen Ink Off Your Hands

To remove fountain pen ink from your hands or anywhere else the in has stained your skin, there are some steps that must be followed as well as some specialized products or mixtures that should be used.

Entirely removing the ink can be a challenge, but the key here is to use the right method and be patient. The ink will come off one way or another.

There are various methods for getting fountain pen ink off your hands, including some home mixtures and general household items, products specifically designed for removing ink from the skin, and commercial cleaners that will get the job done, too, however at risk of damaging your skin.

Here are some examples of each type of ink removal method and how to use them.

Household Methods

Let’s start with the most readily available and simple to use methods for removing fountain pen ink from your hands: household methods.

There are multiple simple methods for removing fountain pen ink using standard at-home ingredients, materials, and products. Even if you do not already have these ingredients in a cupboard somewhere, they are all very easily attainable.

While all of these methods are easy to find and simple to use, they may not work well on every variety of fountain pen ink. Some links are tougher to clean than others, and very stubborn inks may require a stronger cleaning agent to remove entirely.

Lemon juice, baking soda, and rubbing alcohol – One of the most simple mixtures to make at home to remove fountain pen ink is to mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol.

This mixture is safe to use, and the lemon juice and rubbing alcohol do a good job of breaking down the oil in the ink to remove it from the skin.

Rub the mixture on the ink-stained skin with a soft cloth, and wash the area with soap and water afterward for the best results.

Baking soda, toothpaste, and vinegar – another skin-safe at-home mixture that is effective at removing most fountain pen inks is to mix together one teaspoon of baking soda, one teaspoon of tooth whitening toothpaste, and two teaspoons of vinegar.

In this mixture, the toothpaste acts as an abrasive to help scrub the ink out, the vinegar helps to break down the oil to separate it from the skin, and the baking soda is an activator that helps to lift and remove the oils and pigments form the skin while cleaning.

This mixture should become a moderately thick paste that can be rubbed on the area that is ink-stained. For best results, use an old toothbrush or other soft-bristled brush to scrub the area free of ink.

Wash with soap and water thoroughly after using this mixture.

Hand sanitizer – this may be a little unexpected, but hand sanitizer, especially the kind that has a high concentration of alcohol, is an excellent way to get fountain pen ink off your hands.

The alcohol in the hand sanitizer quickly breaks down the oil in the fountain pen ink, which allows it to be lifted from the skin very easily. The alcohol also evaporates very quickly, taking some of the broken down oil with it, making it even easier to clean the ink off of the skin.

This method is also very safe for your skin, as this is a product designed to be used on bare skin without damaging it. Some variants of sanitizer even have moisturizers and other additives that help protect the skin from the potentially harmful effects of the alcohol.

This method works well, and it works quickly. It also helps eliminate the need for a hand wash, so it can be used at your desk without having to get your hands wet.

Simple rub some sanitizer on the ink left on your skin, and watch it be dissolved. Wipe the residue away with a cloth, and repeat until the ink is completely gone.

Shampoo – this is another off-the-wall method for getting fountain pen ink off your hands, but it works surprisingly well.

This method works best with a shampoo that is designed for oily hair. This type of shampoo is made to break down excess oils in hair and strip them from the hair. This makes it the ideal product to use to strip oily residue from fountain pen ink from the skin.

To use shampoo to rid your hands of fountain pen ink, all it takes is washing your hands with the shampoo. Put a small amount of shampoo in your hand and wash thoroughly in warm water.

Be sure to let the shampoo suds sit on the areas of skin that are ink-stained, and rub your hands together to help scrub the ink away.

Rinse your hands with warm water, and repeat the process until your hands are completely free of ink.

Commercial Cleaning Products

The next set of remedies for inky fingers is found with much stronger products that are typically used for cleaning. These are not the safest products for human skin, but they are highly effective for removing fountain pen ink from human skin.

When using these products on your hands, always be very careful, and for the stronger products, always dilute them with water before applying them to your skin to prevent causing damage to the area.

There are several products that have been used for this purpose, but let’s keep it to the most commonly used commercial cleaning products that can be used for getting fountain pen ink off your hands.

These products will work on every type of fountain pen ink and every ink color as well. Unlike the homemade methods, there is no fountain pen ink that will stand up to these cleaning products.

Bleach – this cleaning liquid is effective for many purposes, and many have used it for cleaning ink off of their hands.

Bleach is very effective for breaking down the components of fountain pen ink, which makes it very effective at cleaning the ink off your hands.

The active ingredients in bleach do not only help to lift and wash off the ink from your hands but rather entirely dissolve the ink. This makes using bleach a fast method for getting the ink off your hands, and the process is very easy.

If you are using a strong bleach or a detergent that is high in bleach, always dilute it with some water before using it, or otherwise only use it for very short amounts of time before thoroughly washing it off.

Mix some bleach in a bowl with a small amount of water. A mixture of about 3-parts bleach 1-part water will work fine, but do not leave the mixture in contact with your skin for too long.

Splash the bleach and water mixture onto the ink on your hands, and rub vigorously to remove the ink. The ink should be broken down very quickly and removed easily. If the ink is not being washed away quickly, use a little more bleach in the mixture to strengthen the concentration.

Once the ink is completely removed, quickly and thoroughly wash your hands to remove the bleach before it does any damage.

Acetone – This seems like an obvious product to use for removing ink, but many may be concerned about using it on their hands. The truth is, acetone is safe to use on your skin in small quantities.

Acetone is a solvent that is usually used to break down other products such as nail polish, but it will work very well on fountain pen ink too.

The acetone will effectively dissolve the fountain pen ink that has stained the skin on your hands and loosen it from the surface of the skin, making it very easy to clean off.

It is always best to only use acetone in small amounts, so when using it to clean fountain en ink off your hands, dab some acetone onto a cotton ball or cotton pad, and use it to wipe the areas of ink.

Repeat the process until the ink breaks down and wipes away completely. Be careful not to leave the acetone on your skin for too long, as it may be harmful to sensitive skin.

Ink Removal Products

The best way to get fountain pen ink off your hands is to use a product that is made to get ink off of your hands.

The best and most effective ink-removal methods have been saved for last, as these products are expensive and difficult to obtain, but they are the most effective way to get rid of ink from your hands.

These products will effectively remove all types of fountain pen inks and all fountain pen ink colors. They are specifically designed to break down and dissolve ink from clothing, cloth, skin, and almost every other surface or material.

When it comes to removing fountain pen ink from your hands, there is no better way.

Kresto Kolor Ultra – This is a German-made ink solvent that has been purposefully designed to remove ink from the skin. Kresto Kolor Ultra is designed for removing dyes from the skin, and concentrated dyes are far more challenging to remove than water-based fountain pen inks, so there is almost no fountain pen ink that this product can not remove.

This cream works very well at effectively removing all ink from the skin and is very safe for all skin types as well. It is designed to not harm your skin and can be used liberally and often.

To use the cream effectively, be sure that your hands are dry before applying it.

Apply the cream to your ink-stained skin, and wait for a few moments, then rub the cream in thoroughly. After rubbing the cream into the skin, wash the cream off with water.

All of the fountain pen ink should have been washed away. If there is any ink remains, you may repeat the process until it is completely gone.

That being said, Kresto Kolor Ultra does have trouble removing some lighter shades of blue. These inks may linger even after multiple attempts to clean them off, but they will disappear eventually.

Kresto Kolor Ultra is a great product, but it is expensive and can be difficult to get your hands on depending on where you are in the world.

Amodex  – this is an interesting product. Amodex was originally produced for removing ink stains from materials and fabrics, but it is just as effective, if not more effective, at removing ink stains from the skin.

This ink solvent is completely non-toxic and very safe for use on your hands. It is able to loosen even the most stubborn of inks and is a great asset for every clumsy fountain pen user.

However, there are some steps to take to effectively use Amodex to its full potential.

Never wet the skin that you intend to use Amodex on before applying it, or the product will not work very effectively. This is because Amodex is non-toxic and gentle, so diluting it with water makes it ineffective.

When applying Amodex to your skin, only a few drops at a time is necessary. Apply a small amount to the ink you wish to remove, agitate the liquid for a minute or two with the provided brush, and then wash the area and dry the skin.

Repeat the process until the skin is free of inks.


Sometimes it can seem like a challenge to get fountain pen ink off of your hands, but it does not have to be that way. Fountain pen ink is not damaging to your skin, but it can leave a temporary stain that can be unsightly.

To remove the ink, use a substance that is able to break down or separate oils, as this is the reason that fountain pen ink stains skin. The oils from the ink pigment soak into the skin, so breaking down the oil allows it to be removed from the skin.

Lemon, rubbing alcohol, acetone, bleach, and vinegar are all viable options for removing fountain pen ink from your hands, but the best way to do it to use a product that is designed for the purpose.

Using a skin-safe ink solvent is the best way to clean your hands of pen ink, even though these products are somewhat expensive.

If the ink on your hands is a problem, use a solvent to remove it or use rubber gloves to protect your skin when working on your pens! Whatever method you choose, know that the ink will come off one way or another!

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