How to Get Pen Off Painted Wood

Does your little one like to draw… on everything? Often children get a little overzealous with their colouring pens and start taking their masterpieces off paper and onto your walls or furniture.

There are loads of techniques to remove pen from different surfaces, but right now we’re going to look at a few to help get pen off painted wood.

What to try first

It’s always best to try milder cleaning solutions before attempting to remove pen from painted wood with abrasive methods. Use a damp cloth with a bit of washing up liquid and carefully rub the area lightly and see if this lifts the pen mark.

Another idea is to use a bar of hand soap and a small amount of water to remove pen and other stains from a range of surfaces.

More methods for getting pen off painted wood

If a bit of mild detergent doesn’t do the trick, then there are loads more cleaning options before resorting to sanding and repainting. If you do try anything a little out of the ordinary or attempt to use something that could affect the paint, then do a small test patch on an area that won’t be seen.
Here are lots of suggestions for you to try:

  • Full cream milk!
    Some people swear by full cream milk for removing biro from virtually everything. Use a cotton ball soaked in milk and place it onto the area with the pen marks, leave for a minute or two then rub lightly.
  • Baking soda
    Make it into a paste with water then rub it into the wood with your fingers.
  • Toothpaste
    Apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste onto the pen and then rub it in with a cotton bud before rinsing.
  • Mayonaise
    Use the same method as above.
  • Magic eraser
    Snip a small amount off the sponge, then wet it before rubbing gently on the affected surface.
  • Nail varnish remover
    Use a cotton bud or the tip of your finger with a cloth to rub over the stain lightly.
  • Hairspray
    Use the same method as with nail varnish remover.
  • Alcohol
    Again, follow the method of application from above (nail varnish remover and hairspray).
  • Cif
    As above

All methods need to be tested on an area that can’t be seen, as different types of paint finishes and wood will react to these methods in different ways. You do not want to add a big stain on top of a pen mark!

Also, remember to rinse any substances off your furniture and dry the area to avoid any damage or damp stains.

Repaint time!

If you have no luck with any of the methods suggested, you might be looking at a sand and repaint job. If the culprit pen was a biro, there may well be dints or scratches where the pen was used, so even if the ink is removed, you may be left with a mark. To combat this, you would have to sand, then fill, then sand the surface before painting.

If repainting isn’t an option, can you cover the pen with a tablecloth or ornament?

Of course, you’ll have to have a talk with whoever got the pen onto the furniture in the first place. If it was your little’n, then make sure they never do any more doodling outside of their paper or colouring books!

Good Luck!

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