How to Remove Ink From Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Remove Ink From Paper: Step-by-Step Guide

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Operating a fountain pen, a ballpoint pen, or any type of pen sometimes leads to accidental stains, which can be a real bother to get rid of. So, knowing how to remove ink from paper can save you from a lot of hassle when you make a mistake while writing or if there are incidental ink stains or spills on your paper. 

Luckily, the Truphae team has you covered with a step-by-step guide that’ll help you remove ink stains easily, even after the ink has dried, without destroying your high-quality paper. But before we get into that, let’s see why this is so difficult.

Why Is Removing Pen Ink From Paper Difficult?

woman erasing

If you’ve ever had your filled fountain pen accidentally leak on your premium-quality paper, you’ve probably struggled to remove the stain. Removing ink from paper is hard to do because of a few main reasons:

  • Ink penetrates the layer of the paper, unlike pencil graphite which stays on the top layer of the paper. How much the ink penetrates the paper varies from paper to paper, which is why you can’t just erase the ink as you would erase traces made by a pencil.
  • Fountain pen ink contains dyes and other pigments that bond with the paper fiber and penetrate the internal layers of the paper, making it hard to remove.
  • Ballpoint pens operate on oil-based ink, and even though it doesn’t enter the paper as deeply as water-based ink, it sticks to the paper, which is why some techniques for removing it might also damage the paper.

Weird Hacks To Skip

Since not all pen removal techniques are efficient, let’s cover those you should avoid.

    • Ammonia - even though it can be used to remove ink stains from clothes, it shouldn’t be used to remove ink from paper.
    • Bleach - similar to ammonia, bleach is used to remove ink stains from clothes, not paper.

Hair spray - back in the days when hairspray contained a lot of alcohol, it was often used to remove ink, however, today, hairspray formulas have changed drastically, making them inefficient for ink removal.

Rather than waste your time and ruin a perfectly good piece of paper with these hacks, you should opt for the ones that will definitely do the trick and remove the ink from your paper easily. Learn more about those in the following paragraphs.

Ink Removal Tests

We’ve tested out different ink removal techniques to give you the ones that actually work and concluded that sand erasers, ink removers, ink removal with razors, using ink-removing pens, and covering up the ink with correction tape or fluid are the methods that do the job. 

Most ink-removing products work best on blue ink because they’re specifically created to target the pigments in blue ink. This doesn’t apply to all ink-removing products, though. Moreover, keep in mind that some ink-removing products may work better than others, depending on the brand’s quality, so do your own test on cheaper paper before you use them on your premium paper.

Without further ado, let’s see how you can take off ink from paper.

How To Remove Ink From Paper

erasing on paper

Cleaning a fountain pen is a pretty straightforward process. However, cleaning the ink from paper can be done in a few different ways. Below, we’ll focus on the following techniques:

  • Sand eraser
  • Ink removal with a blade
  • Correction tape or fluid
  • Erasable ink
  • Acetone
  • Rubbing alcohol

Sand Eraser

This is a pretty straightforward ink removal method for which you only need 800-1000 grit or ultra-fine sandpaper, a pencil with an eraser, and a bit of glue. 

Cut off a small piece of the sandpaper (the size of the eraser at the end of a pencil), apply some glue to the eraser of your pencil, and add the sandpaper on top. To erase the ink, take the pencil and slowly and gently rub the sandpaper side on top of the ink. Be careful not to rub very harshly, or you risk making holes in the page.

Ink Removal With Blade

The next method for ink removal works best for removing both printer ink and pen ink. For this, you’ll only need a sharp blade or a razor. 

To remove the ink from your paper, hold the blade or razor vertically and gently move it up and down until all the ink is gone. You may need to use a rubber eraser to erase any leftover ink. Don’t apply too much pressure, though, because you may remove layers from the paper, and be careful so you don’t hurt yourself.

Correction Tape or Fluid

If you want to minimize the chances of damaging your paper but also remove unwanted ink spills, using correction tape or fluid is the way to go. With this tool, you’ll conceal both pen and printer ink in one easy step. 

Just apply the fluid where you want to make a correction, wait for it to dry, and continue writing on top of it. The correction tape, on the other hand, needs no drying time and you can start writing as soon as you apply it.

Erasable Ink

Erasable ink is more user-friendly than ink that can’t be erased, especially for those who often make mistakes when writing. It often comes as blue ink, and the term “erasable” is found on the packaging. Some brands have special collections of erasable inks that often contain an eraser on the opposite side of the pen, similar to where the eraser on a pencil is located.


While it doesn’t work for every type of pen, acetone is an adequate ink remover if you want to remove ink from ballpoint or gel pens. Due to the fact that acetone contains chemical properties that break down the pigments in ink, it can be used to remove unwanted mistakes. 

To remove ink from paper with acetone, add a small amount of acetone to a cotton swab and gently rub the ink spot. To prevent the ink from transferring to the next page, place a tissue under the page and carefully apply the acetone. If you don’t have any acetone, you can check the ingredients of your nail polish remover, as most of them have acetone as the main ingredient.

Rubbing Alcohol

Another great way to erase unwanted ink from your paper is to use rubbing alcohol. 

For this method, apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab. Next, carefully apply the rubbing alcohol using the soaked swab on the spot that you’re trying to correct. You can use any brand of isopropyl alcohol but don’t use scented or dyed ones because you can ruin your paper. Also, be extra careful about where you apply the rubbing alcohol so you don’t end up accidentally erasing something that you don’t want to be erased.  

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How to remove ink from printed paper?

Acetone is a commonly used ink remover for printed paper that’s also really affordable. You need to be extra careful with this method as it may smudge.

Can an eraser remove ink from paper?

Yes, there are some erasers that are specifically designed to remove ink from paper, like those that physically remove the ink as a result of their abrasive surface, which essentially scratches the ink from the surface. There are also chemical ink erasers that break down the ink by disrupting the dye molecules of the blue ink.

Can you conceal ink mistakes with a Wite-out pen?

Correction pens are similar to correction fluids and they are used to conceal ink mistakes. They use similar liquids, but the only difference is that correction pens use a ballpoint tip to distribute the liquid, while correction fluid is applied with a brush.


We know that as pen users, everyone is bound to make mistakes while writing, but this doesn’t have to cause you stress. There’s always something you can do to conceal your errors, and the methods we covered do the trick.

Have you tried any of these methods yourself? Or do you have another ink removal method that we might have missed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Lesley Bowler

    I have a pencil drawing of a miner which my artistic brother drew. He gave it to me and I tried to copy it. Unfortunately it was too faint to copy, so I covered over a small part with black biro. Immediately I realised this was spoiling the drawing, and need to try and remove the small part which I tried to enhance. Do you think this would be possible? I would greatly appreciate any advice you could give me. With sincere regards Lesley Bowler

  • tanveer

    i want to remover stamp in paper what can i do


    i have scott 702 with a printed red cross removed leaving just a faint remnant of the cross not visible to the naked eye, nor is any other black ink printed been affected.
    any solutions as to how this was done without damaging the stamp papper

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