We have all done it. Written our letter to the love of our lives or completed that 20-page form and on the last stroke of the pen, we made a mistake. A misspelling of a word or a mark in a box that wasn’t supposed to be there and now you either have to send it off as a mess or start again. Wouldn’t it be great if we knew how to remove ink from paper and avoid rewriting over and over again? (and before you say it, we ALL still write on paper from time to time.)
Okay, so it may not be a letter to your partner, but it may be notes written in a textbook, or you went to sign your signature on the dotted line only to realise you signed it on the wrong line.
Whatever it is you need to understand first what you need to do and how you can fix the mistake without damaging the paper.
If your first thought runs to using an eraser and rub off the top layer of paper, I will stop you right there.
Unless you wrote on the paper so lightly that it hardly made a mark, then maybe, just maybe you can get away with it, but rather take one of these other approaches first before you destroy your document or book.
Of course, you could have bought a pen that allows you to erase your writing, but what was the point, if you can erase it, so can someone else!
The simplest method is using Correction Fluid. This is the white tape or fluid that can be used to ‘cover’ a mistake and allows you to write over it. For the quickest method here, this is it. It isn’t perfect and can be scratched off as if you had never corrected it and for formal documents, this option is very rarely acceptable.
Here are 8 ways on how to remove ink from paper
- clean cloth
- scrap paper
- blank piece of similar paper
I know you are thinking, “but I need this removed now” but I would caution you to jump right in. Rather test first on a scrap piece of paper to know which method will work for your pen and how much time you need to do to fix it.
Table of Contents
1. Water Removal
Yes, we know you were expecting something deep and exciting for the first option but simple is best. Remember to try first on a scrap piece of paper. Take the Q-tip and wet the end. First, gently dab the Q-tip on the ink and then with a dry Q-tip press and absorb the slightly damp ink off the page. This may take a little effort and time, but it will eventually get there. Do not wet the page or spot too much or the paper will break up.
2. Nail Polish Remover (acetone-based) / Rubbing Alcohol
Get that bottle of nail polish remover and dip the end of the Q-tip into it. Now gently dab the page to remove the ink. Blue ink will be easier to remove than black, and it is better to use a little at a time rather than to saturate the page with liquid.
We found it works best if you dab a little of the wet nail polish on first and then with a dry clean Q-tip, dab the wet ink off the page. Wait for it to dry and repeat if further cleaning is required.
3. Lemon Juice
This is a little more serious now as the acid from the lemon will begin to dissolve the paper too if you use too much for too long. Like before, dip a Q-tip end into the lemon juice and then gently touch the ink you want to remove. Again, the ink will begin to dissolve, and a dry, clean Q-tip will absorb the now liquid ink off the page. Dab gently.
This works in the same way as the previous 2 methods, but we find it leaves the page smelling of bleach and not what we really wanted to happen.
The following methods get a little more invasive and will damage your paper more.
5. Baking Soda / Toothpaste Soda
Use a little baking soda and add a drop of water to make a little paste. Now with your Q-tip, dab a little of the paste on the end and then gently rub the paste over the ink spot. Take your time and do not rush this or else you will end up with a gooey hole in your page.
If you are going to use a blade to scrape off the top level of the paper be aware that you may cut yourself and leave blood all over the page! TAKE CARE. With the blade flat again the text, gently begin to scrape at the writing and you’ll find a small layer of paper scraping comes off. This is really only effective if your paper is thick and sturdy and not recommended for thin paper.
Strangely this will ‘erase’ the ink sufficiently enough and take a very small layer of paper when gently rubbed in circles over the text. It has a two-fold method of covering and removing the ink.
This is most damaging and really is a last resort. Use the finest sandpaper you can buy and gently rub the paper and the ink and paper will be removed. Like the blade, it will leave an indent and you can easily go through the paper leaving a hole. Stick to thick paper for this one.
An old book with writing on thick pages may offer you an alternative, but it is very damaging and should be tried in an inconspicuous area of the book first before trying this method.
When trying any of the suggested methods above to remove ink from paper, be gentle and patient. This will help to not damage the paper.
It is also assumed you are working with white paper, as some of these methods have a bleaching effect on your paper and will make it look different.
Permanent Ink is called that for a reason. It will soak into the paper and be very difficult to remove. Use the scraping methods to get the ink off if it is vital.
Finally, dab and blot as you go. The more you rub, the more the fibres of the paper come apart and are destroyed.
Mistakes are going to happen when writing freehand. Someone bumps the table you’re writing on; a friend thinks it funny to write a note in your textbook; a darling child writes over that important document you need for the office. It happens, but all is not lost. Above are 8 ways on how to remove ink from paper you can try with items you can readily find in your home today, restoring harmony and balance back to our lives once again. They may not return your documents back to the original, but they will certainly go a long way to recovering what is lost.
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