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How To Get Pen Inks Or Marks Off The Wall

Drawing on the walls seems to come with parenting. My youngest had fun with permanent markers. The oldest opted for fingernail polish and markers. My son chose to display his artwork using a pen.

If your children are anything like mine, you’re trying to figure out how to get pen off the wall without ruining the paint. There are a few different methods to try that will work wonderfully.

Household Cleaners

Thankfully, most pen ink is washable. Also, most household cleaners don’t damage the walls. To use this method to get pen off a wall, use cleaners as you regularly would. 

For spray cleaner, such as a bottle of Lysol with a squeeze trigger, follow these directions. 

  1. Spray the cleaner liberally on the pen mark
  2. Using a scratchpad part on a sponge, scrub the stain vigorously
  3. Use a dry towel to wipe away the cleaner
  4. The stain should be gone if the ink is washable. It should be lightened if you have a particularly tough stain. 

For other household cleaners, follow these directions. 

  1. Using a bowl that is not used for food, mix the cleaner with water according to the directions. 
  2. Dip a sponge in the cleaner, and, using the scratchpad side of the sponge, scrub the wall. 
  3. Wipe the wall dry with a dry towel. 

Magic Eraser

Magic Eraser does not get the credit that it should, especially when it comes to removing the pen from a wall. These come with cleaner already in them, which makes them easier to use than other methods. 

To use Magic Eraser to remove pen marks from the wall, follow these directions. 

  1. Remove the eraser from the package. 
  2. Get the eraser wet so that it is damp. 
  3. Using the Magic Eraser, scrub the wall. 
  4. This should remove all washable marks from the wall.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an effective method for removing stubborn ink stains on walls. To use this method, follow these directions. 

  1. Apply rubbing alcohol to the ink stain. 
  2. Carefully dab the ink stain with a rag. This should slowly remove the ink stain. 
  3. Repeat as necessary. 

It might take more than once to remove the ink stain if you’re using this method. 

Goo Gone

Goo Gone is wonderful for removing everything from ink to paint to the sticky area that medical tape leaves when you’re in the hospital for days. It’s also easy to use, only takes ten minutes, and is relatively budget-friendly.

To use Goo Gone, follow these directions. 

  1. Spray Goo Gone on the stained area. 
  2. Let it sit for five to ten minutes
  3. Wipe the area clean. The ink should come off when you wipe the area. 

It’s important to note that Goo Gone can also remove latex paint, so use the least amount possible when using it to remove ink stains. 

100% Acetone Fingernail Polish Remover

While this will remove the ink from the wall, it will remove everything from the wall, including the paint. The harder you scrub, the more paint will come off.

If you have more than one coat of paint, your walls will still look wonderful when you’re done. If not, you might need to pick up a small can of paint and do a touch up after you’re done. 

After picking up a bottle of fingernail polish remover, follow these directions to get rid of the pen on the wall. 

  1. Apply a small amount of fingernail polish remover to a rag. Do NOT put it on the wall. If you do, it can make the paint run, resulting in you having to do a lot more work to get your wall looking like new again. 
  2. Gently rub the wall in the direction of the ink. Use the least amount of pressure possible to remove the ink stain. The more pressure you apply, the more paint will come off the wall. 

This method should be used as a last resort and should be done very carefully. Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area as the fumes can be hazardous.

Also, use the least amount of fingernail polish remover to guarantee that walls look new when you’re done instead of repainted. 

Do Not Paint Over Ink With Paint

When my youngest decided to draw all over her room before we painted it, I didn’t really care as much because we were going to paint anyway. I left the ink there and attempted to paint over it.

The end result was that the ink was suddenly more liquid, blended in with the paint, and black swirls in her bubblegum pink paint. 

Upon researching this, I discovered that this a common reaction to painting over ink. This is because the ink will bleed into the paint. It can also bleed through the paint over time, so you might see a slow reappearance of ink after painting over it. 

Use Primer First

If the ink simply will not come off, and you’re planning to paint the walls anyway, you can avoid spending hours scrubbing by using a primer first. Kilz is a wonderful brand! The step 3 primer will cover anything in two coats.

Pick up a small can of this, and put primer over the ink. Then, after allowing it time to dry, paint the walls as you normally would. The ink will not bleed through the primer because this is a stain-blocking primer, and your walls will look amazing. 

Avoid Latex Based Primers

Ink will not only bleed through latex paints, but it will also bleed through latex primers. These primers are designed to cover paint, not stains. This is why a stain-blocking primer is necessary to cover the ink.

If you do not have a brand like Kilz in your area, that’s okay. Any stain-blocking primer will work provided it is not a latex-based primer.

kids drawing on the wall

If you’re more into visual learning, here is a video that shows how to remove ball pen marks from the wall. We hope it’s helpful!

Final Word

It can be shocking to discover a wall covered in pen marks while your little one is beaming with pride at their artwork. The longer the ink is on the wall, the harder it is to remove, but one of these methods is guaranteed to work.