There are various kinds of pen ink, including ballpoint, fountain, gel pen ink, etc. Technically speaking, removing water-based ink is simple, although this penetrates fibers deeply. Meanwhile, the oil type requires much effort as the organic solvents adhere to papers strongly.
Plus, pigments or dyes are added to create over 100 colors, with the former being more adhesive than the latter, so you should know how to erase pen ink from paper correctly.
You shouldn’t apply the same cleaning approaches for all ink types. You can refer to 2 levels to delete pen ink:
Printer ink, fountain ink, and normal pens: easy to take ink off paper.
Calligraphy and marker ink: require some special ink removers
Moreover, you check if the ink is permanent or temporary by using erasers that erase ink. In case the paper debris appears, and the stains don’t spread more widely, the ink is non-permanent, you can keep cleaning and vice versa.
2. What kind of paper are you using?
You will remove ink stains from papers containing less synthetic easily but spend more effort to eliminate ink from traditional wood pulp papers. Note that to work gently on delicate papers to maintain their quality.
Ways and Hacks to Erase Pen Ink
1. Dabbing Methods
Step 1: Apply household products to clean ink stains at home
1: Rubbing alcohol/vinegar
Choose alcohol without dyes and scents to avoid affecting the result—seal areas you don’t want to remove.
For small areas, use a cotton swab to take a little alcohol or vinegar and pat it delicately to the marks. Never rub them if you don’t want to damage your notebooks.
For large stains, submerge the paper for 5 minutes to get pen off paper.
2: Acetone/nail polish remover
Almost all nail removers contain acetone which is excellent at removing ballpoint pen and blue ink.
You can wear gloves before proceeding and arrange tissue paper under affected areas.
Add a little remover to a swab and blot on stains. If they aren’t cleaned yet, wait a while for the liquid to absorb into the paper.
3: Lemon juice
We’d recommend you use lemon juice on heavy-weight paper. Follow the previous ways to clean spots with a Q-tip or dropper.
4: Can bleach remove ink from paper?
Dip the Q-tip in bleach and dab it on the stains to erase ink from paper effectively. Once the first layer is dried completely, repeat it several times. If the tip is soaked, you can change the new ones.
5: Cotton ball/Wet paper towel
For small, fresh, and wet gel spots, dab a cotton ball into the paper to absorb ink. Also, to solve ink on dry paper, dampen a towel and dab it many times until it takes off the marks.
6: Brake liquid
Brake fluid is actually acetone but at high intensity; hence, it’s hazardous. Never use this chemical near flame; always wear protective clothes when working with it. If it comes into contact with your hands, wash them immediately with gentle soap and water, then go to a doctor for further checking.
Use an eye dropper or pipette to suck brake fluid. Drop a bit of liquid into the stains.
Utilize a clean swab to dab several times on the affected zone.
Step 2: Dry the stains
Once the ink is dissolved, soak it with a clean ball or towel and let it dry. You can also iron pages to recover their shape and dry the fluid.
Ensure the brake cleaner is dried completely before closing the book. Otherwise, it can penetrate other pages and remove lines.
2. Scraping methods
After scraping, there will be scratches on the surface. Hence, never practice this way on glossy and lightweight pages.
Step 1: Check the stains and prepare a tool
If the stains are wet, let them dry perfectly before scraping. You can attach a small piece of triple-ought (000) sandpaper to a stick like an eraser end of a pencil to remove details.
Step 2: Scrape the ink marks
1: Razor blade/craft knife/ Stanley knife blade
Keep the blade vertically and close to the page. Then, apply light pressure when moving it up and down until you remove pen ink from paper completely.
Watch this video:
2: Sandpaper/Fine-grit grinder
Brush the stains gently and slowly in circular motions instead of up-and-down movements to get rid of pen on paper without tearing the page.
For ink marks on the edges of the book, you can use a fine-grit grinder with a rounded-stone head to eliminate stains uniformly and quickly.
Also, don’t forget to blow debris away once done.
3. Rubbing method
1: Ink eraser/Sand eraser/Eraser pen
Step 1: Determine the kind of ink
An ink eraser, sand eraser, or eraser pen is suitable for removable ink, usually in blue. You can find this information on the package.
Step 2: Rub the ink
You just need to rub the stains slightly until they are cleaned without damaging the paper; however, there are some notes for each type of eraser:
An ink eraser: You can use a vinyl ink eraser, but it is fairly aggressive and can damage your paper.
An eraser pen, aka eradicator pen, is designed with two ends allowing you to delete and write over stains.
Sand eraser contains abrasion sand to remove paper bits along with the ink.
2: Toothpaste/Baking soda paste
Step 1: Create baking soda paste
Prepare baking soda and warm water with a ratio of 1:2 and stir well until the paste forms.
Step 2: Wipe pen ink off
If you are working with dried ink, you can wet the stains and remove them with a brush before applying baking soda paste.
Spread toothpaste/baking soda paste on the ink and let it work for 5 minutes. You can rub slightly as you work with an eraser.
Then, remove the paste with a damp cloth. And use another towel to clean the paper.
4. Covering method
Step 1: Coat the ink spots
1: Correction fluid/tape/ White gouache/deleter/ Tape
If you want to find a product without whiteout, you can erase pen with tape coming white and other tones suitable for your needs. Then, you can write immediately on it.
The easiest way to remove ink stains without acetone is to add a white layer on the marks with the others.
First, shake it to release white liquid consistently. Otherwise, dried clumps will block the flow.
After that, squeeze the liquid to conceal pen ink.
Step 2: Let it dry
If you choose the fluid products, wait until they dry thoroughly before overwriting them.
Overview About Erasable Pens
Erasable pens usually come in 2 ink types: thermosensitive meta mo ink and rubber cement solutions, and your mistakes will be deleted without noticing.
Thermosensitive metamo ink
This kind is a mixture of 3 chemicals: color developer, leuco dye, and color change temperature regulator. Once you rub the ink stains, the heat can make them invisible. However, they can reappear when the temperature ranges from -10 to -20 degrees Celsius.
This ink is on top of paper fibers instead of adhering firmly; hence, it’s not ideal to prevent ink disappearance from legal paper and from paper check.
Rubber cement solutions
This option comes in 2 ends: an ink point and a rubber. If you want to eliminate semi-dried marks for several hours, rub them with the existing rubber.
If they sit for over 10 hours, the ink can become permanent and likely challenging to remove.
When you should use erasable pens:
You can use these pens for documents you want to keep clean, including taking notes, listing necessary items, drawing, doodling, marking appointment schedules, and more.
It would help if you never used these pens to sign legal papers or others required to store for a long time and write on unlevel surfaces.
Tips for Preventing Ink Stains and Paper Damage
Once you realize ink stains, you need to immediately avoid spreading them out and prevent ink from soaking into other pages.
Each type of paper and ink stain requires specific cleaning tools, ensuring you select them correctly to promote their capabilities.
Never apply hard pressure when removing ink stains. Be careful, slow, and delicate with vulnerable papers so you can clean without leaving a mark.
Prevention is always better than cure. You should use only good pens to avoid leakage and potential issues.
Tips Protect Paper While Erasing
Put a tissue or cloth under the paper to prevent the liquid from penetrating other pages.
Keep the paper in place with your hands while erasing and cleaning ink from the center of the stains to the outer edges.
To clean different areas, you can rotate paper for easy accessibility.
Always cover the areas where you don’t want to remove ink to avoid cleaning substances that are bleeding to these and damaging your lines.
If you accidentally make mistakes on paper, don’t worry; we believe that you can tackle ink stains effectively with this how to erase pen ink from paper guide. Although almost all methods are free and available in your kitchen, they are workable and can satisfy you.
We hope your papers will be restored to clean. If you have any questions, please feel free to share with us via comments.
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