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How to Remove Pen Ink from a Check without Damaging It

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

How to Remove Pen Ink From a Check Without Damaging It

Accidents happen, and worse, on important financial documents like checks. If you write wrong and want to fix pen mistakes without white out, don’t worry! We have a helpful guide on how to remove pen ink from a check without damaging it.

Our easy-to-follow methods will show you how to restore your checks safely. Whether it’s a ballpoint pen, gel pen, or permanent marker, we’ve got you covered.

Keep scrolling to learn our hacks to erase pen ink and keep your checks looking clean and usable.

Ways to Remove Pen Ink From a Check Without Damaging It

1. Using Acetone


What to prepare:

  • Acetone: pure acetone or nail polish removers
  • Small container: a small dish or pan
  • A soft sponge or cotton swab

Step 1: Wet the Ink-stained Area

Acetone is one of the most effective ways to remove ink from paper check. To begin, carefully dip and wet the ink-stained area of the check into the small container with acetone. You need to ensure the affected area is soaked entirely.

Step 2: Rub or Scrub the Ink Area

To get pen ink off paper, rub the ink stain with a light force using a soft sponge or a cotton swab. You will see the ink starting to lift off the check.

Next, you can check the progress to see if the ink is coming off. If needed, apply a bit more acetone and continue rubbing.

The sponge can be more effective for larger ink stains, but it’s best to rub it gently to avoid damaging the check.

Note: For small or blue ink stains, you need to wet and rub the swab because blue ink is more easily removed than black ink.

2. Using Rubbing Alcohol


What to prepare:

  • Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol: avoid using Isopropyl has scents or dyes
  • A cotton swab or washing tray

Step 1: Prepare the Check

Without acetone, you can use Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol to erase ink from paper. First, place the check on a clean, flat surface.

If you need to remove a small ink stain, use a cotton swab. For larger ink stains, you can use a small washing tray.

Step 2: Apply Rubbing Alcohol on the Ink Stains

For small ink stains, dip a cotton swab into the rubbing alcohol. Gently rub the ink-stained area, and you’ll see the ink begins to dissolve and vanish.

For larger stains, place the check in a small washing tray containing rubbing alcohol. Then, let it soak for about 5 minutes, allowing the alcohol to dissolve the ink.

Step 3: Let It Evaporate

Rubbing alcohol dries up fast. When you put alcohol on the ink and rub it, the alcohol and ink mix together; then, the alcohol and the ink will evaporate, leaving nothing behind.

3. Using Lemon Juice


What to prepare:

  • Lemon juice
  • A cotton swab or soft cloth
  • A small bowl of water

Step 1: Prepare the Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is another pen ink remover that can get rid of ink stains from money order or remove a signature on it.

Squeeze some lemon juice into a small container, then dip a cotton swab into the lemon juice or pour a small amount onto the soft cloth.

Step 2: Scrub the Inked Area

With the damp cotton swab or soft cloth, gently rub the inked area on the check. The lemon juice’s acidity will help dissolve the ink.

If necessary, dip the cotton swab or cloth into the water and gently wipe the area to remove any excess lemon juice and dissolved ink.

You may need to repeat the process a few times for stubborn or black ink stains until the ink is completely gone. Be patient and avoid using excessive force.

Note: Lemon juice is acidic, so be gentle while rubbing to avoid damaging the paper, especially if the check is on delicate or thin paper.


How to remove pen ink from a check without damaging it? Acetone, rubbing alcohol, and lemon juice are effective solutions, each offering distinct benefits.

Acetone, found in nail polish removers, works best on ballpoint pen ink. Rubbing alcohol dissolves ink and is ideal for various paper types, but gentleness is crucial to avoid harm. Lemon juice, a natural alternative, proves effective when applied gently on lighter stains, yet requires careful consideration for delicate paper.

It’s best to do patch tests, use small amounts, and pick the right ink stain removal method to erase these stains from legal paper entirely.

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