How to Remove Ink From Linoleum

Linoleum is a popular and durable flooring option known for its elegant, classic look. However, one common issue linoleum owners face is dealing with ink stains. Whether it’s from a leaky pen, marker, or printer cartridge, removing ink from linoleum can be a tricky task. But fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of effectively removing ink from your linoleum floors and restoring them to their former glory.

Remove Ink From Linoleum

Linoleum and Ink Stains

Linoleum is a resilient, natural flooring material made from linseed oil, wood flour, cork dust, and other natural materials. While linoleum is highly durable and resistant to many types of stains, ink can be one of the more stubborn and challenging substances to remove.

Ink stains on linoleum can be particularly problematic because the ink can actually penetrate and soak into the material, making it harder to remove than a surface-level spill. The type of ink also plays a role in the difficulty of removal. Permanent markers, ballpoint pens, and printer ink tend to be more stubborn than washable markers or fountain pen ink.

Preparing the Linoleum Surface

Before attempting to remove the ink stain, it’s important to properly prepare the linoleum surface. Start by sweeping or vacuuming the area to remove any loose dirt, dust, or debris. This will help ensure that the cleaning solutions can effectively reach the stain.

Next, wipe the area with a damp cloth or paper towel to dampen the linoleum. Avoid soaking the floor, as excessive moisture can potentially damage the linoleum or cause it to swell.

Selecting the Right Cleaning Agents

When it comes to removing ink from linoleum, you’ll want to use cleaning agents that are specifically designed to tackle stubborn stains without harming the linoleum surface. Here are some effective options to consider:

  1. Rubbing Alcohol: Isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, can be an effective solvent for breaking down and lifting ink stains from linoleum. Start with a small, inconspicuous area to test for any potential discoloration or damage to the linoleum.
  2. Nail Polish Remover: Acetone-based nail polish removers can also be used to remove ink stains, but exercise caution as they can be more aggressive and potentially damage the linoleum if not used properly.
  3. Laundry Stain Removers: Some heavy-duty laundry stain removers formulated for ink and grease stains may work well on linoleum. Look for products that contain enzymes or solvents specifically designed for tough stains, such as Biz Advanced Stain Fighter or Shout Advanced Stain Remover.
  4. Baking Soda and Vinegar: A homemade solution of baking soda and white vinegar can be an effective, eco-friendly option for removing ink stains. The combination of the abrasive baking soda and the acidic vinegar can help break down the ink.
  5. Commercial Linoleum Cleaners: If you prefer a more specialized product, look for commercial linoleum cleaners or stain removers that are designed specifically for use on linoleum floors, such as Mop & Glo Linoleum Floor Cleaner or Armstrong Linoleum Floor Cleaner.

It’s important to test any cleaning agent on a small, inconspicuous area of the linoleum first to ensure it doesn’t cause any discoloration or damage to the surface.

Step-by-Step Ink Removal Process

Now that you have the necessary supplies, let’s walk through the step-by-step process of removing ink from your linoleum floors:

  1. Blot the Stain: Start by blotting the ink stain with a clean, dry cloth or paper towels. Avoid rubbing the stain, as this can spread the ink and drive it deeper into the linoleum.
  2. Apply the Cleaning Agent: Depending on the cleaning agent you’ve chosen, apply it directly to the stain. For rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover, use a clean cloth to gently dab the solution onto the stain. For baking soda and vinegar, make a paste and spread it over the affected area.
  3. Let it Sit: Allow the cleaning agent to sit on the stain for a few minutes, giving it time to penetrate and break down the ink. The exact time may vary depending on the product, so follow the manufacturer’s instructions or start with a 5-10 minute wait time.
  4. Scrub Gently: Using a soft-bristled scrub brush or a non-abrasive sponge, gently scrub the affected area. Apply light to moderate pressure, taking care not to damage the linoleum surface.
  5. Rinse and Dry: Once you’ve lifted the majority of the stain, rinse the area with clean water and blot it dry with clean towels or paper towels. Ensure that all the cleaning solution is removed to prevent any potential damage to the linoleum.
  6. Repeat if Necessary: If the stain persists, repeat the process, starting with applying the cleaning agent again. It may take several rounds of cleaning to fully remove stubborn ink stains.
  7. Consider Professional Help: For particularly stubborn or deep-set ink stains, you may need to consider seeking the assistance of a professional linoleum cleaning service. They have access to more powerful cleaning solutions and techniques that can effectively remove even the most challenging ink stains. For example, the Chem-Dry Linoleum Cleaning service uses a hot carbonating extraction method to deeply clean and restore linoleum floors.

Tips for Preventing Future Ink Stains

While removing existing ink stains is important, it’s equally crucial to take steps to prevent future ink stains on your linoleum floors. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Be Vigilant: Keep a close eye on any pens, markers, or other ink-containing items that may be used or stored near your linoleum floors. Promptly clean up any spills or leaks to prevent them from setting in.
  • Use Coasters or Placemats: Encourage household members to use coasters or placemats when using pens, pencils, or other writing implements near the linoleum. This can help contain any accidental drips or spills.
  • Consider Protective Mats: Placing protective mats or rugs in high-traffic areas can help shield your linoleum from potential ink stains and other types of damage. Look for products like the Notrax Vinyl Studded Entrance Mat or the Mohawk Home Granite Entrance Mat to protect your linoleum floors.
  • Establish Cleaning Routines: Regularly clean and maintain your linoleum floors, following the manufacturer’s recommendations. This can help prevent the buildup of dirt, debris, and other substances that could contribute to staining. Consider using a specialized linoleum floor cleaner like the Bona Linoleum Floor Cleaner for best results.
  • Be Mindful of Placement: When arranging furniture or decor, try to avoid placing items that could potentially leak ink or other staining liquids directly on the linoleum.

By incorporating these preventative measures, you can help minimize the risk of future ink stains and keep your linoleum floors looking their best for years to come.


Removing ink stains from linoleum can be a challenging task, but with the right approach and cleaning agents, it can be done effectively. By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide, you can tackle even the most stubborn ink stains and restore the natural beauty of your linoleum flooring.

Remember to always test cleaning solutions on a small, inconspicuous area first, and consider seeking professional help for particularly stubborn stains. Additionally, adopting preventative measures can help you avoid future ink stains and maintain the pristine appearance of your linoleum floors.

With patience, the right tools, and a little elbow grease, you can bid farewell to those unsightly ink stains and enjoy the timeless elegance of your linoleum floors for years to come.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.