A lot of people like working with a pencil because they think errors made with a pencil are less damaging than mistakes made when using a pen.
They are right. But they are also wrong!
It’s that when one is working with ink on paper, any mistake is going to be hard to remove. Hard but not impossible.
It’s going to cost a few more dollars than the rubble on the back of your pencil, but I can assure you that there are ways that can help you remove ink from paper (wet or dry ink), and most of these methods won’t destroy the quality of the paper.
Let us take a look at some of these ways.
What You Should Do Before Removing Ink from Paper
You should not just choose a method of removing ink without checking some specifics. There are a couple of things you should do before you start removing.
Here are three of these things:
- Determine the ink type
- Check the type of paper
- Evaluate the number of errors or ink applications
These factors will help you find the most ideal process and the appropriate correcting tool to use. Once you have checked all three, you can remove the ink and make any changes without damaging the quality of the paper or the book in general.
Obviously, different ink types require different correcting tools. For example, ink types from printers, pens, and fountain pens don’t require any special tools or methods. On the other hand, ink types from markers require special correcting tools and some other tougher inks are not erasable.
Pen erasers are not magical wands; if there are just too many ink errors on your paper, or if the mistakes are simply impossible or mazy to remove, you will end up damaging your paper. This has the highest certainty when you are dealing with delicate paper, so always check the type and quality of the paper before proceeding to erase the ink.
Effective Ways to Remove Ink from Paper
After ticking all the checkboxes in the last list, you can choose the method and tools to use when removing ink from papers.
Here’s a couple of those methods and tools:
1. Apply Acetone or Nail Polish Remover
Acetone is an effective chemical for removing pen inks, especially if you are dealing with ballpoint pens.
Most nail polish products contain acetone, and acetone is a solvent that has chemical properties that help you get rid of the ink.
So how do you go about using acetone to remove pen inks? All you need to do is, drop a small amount of the liquid on a cotton ball or a cotton bud and swab the area—on the paper—which you want the ink erased from.
If the paper is part of a book, you have to place tissue paper or a piece of cloth underneath the paper to prevent ink from sipping through the page onto another page of your book. The protective tissue or cloth can also prevent the solvent from sipping onto your desk, chair, or any surface you’re using.
To get the paper back in shape, use a clothing iron and press it on the paper until it dries.
2. Cover It with a Correction Tape or Fluid
If you’re dealing with printer inks, it’s hard to leave the paper unscathed. However, using correction tape or fluid can help you cover the ink. This way, you can conceal printer inks (or pen ink) without using abrasive and destructive methods, as the correction tape works by sticking to the paper not scratching it.
All you do is glide the correction tape and cover any ink you want to be erased. The difference between correction tape and acetone is that you don’t have to wait for it to dry. As soon as you apply it, you can write over it. However, a correction fluid requires some time to dry first before writing on it.
3. Use Wite-Out or Tipp-Ex to conceal the Ink
To conceal mistakes, you can use pens that are designed to bury the unwanted ink under their own fluid. Among these so-called correction pens is an ergonomic pen filled with white fluid: the Bic Wite-Out Correction Pen—and I have also listed it in the best ink removing products section.
You have to shake the pen and squeeze it to force out the correction fluid. I have previously used Tipp-Ex and it comes in a variety of containers: a small bottle, a pen, etc.
Correction pens are effective since they are ideal for precise and intricate corrections. You can squeeze the fluid onto a small area (whether a few letters of a long word/phrase or a single letter in a word). One wonderful fact about correction pens is that they work with almost any ink; you can use them to deal with pen ink, print ink, and even permanent markers.
4. Apply Rubbing Alcohol
Alcohol can also be used to remove ink from your notebooks or any other written document. You have to be careful when using alcohol because it’s a strong chemical compound, and pouring it directly over ink will harshly damage the paper.
You have to take a small piece of cotton, soak it in alcohol, and dab it on the ink you want to erase. Again, I have to advise you to be careful. Apply this alcohol slowly, and don’t rub it harshly on paper.
5. Erase It with Friction Using Sandpaper
You can also use sandpaper which has a fine grit. The fine grit helps you prevent abrasive erasures.
Take a little piece of sandpaper and slowly brush the area of the paper where the ink you want to remove is. Be slow and gentle so as not to rip the paper off or make abrasions.
6. Lemon Juice
This is just one of the homemade solutions that lemon juice has to offer. Lemon juice is highly acidic, and it’s that acidity that helps remove ink from paper.
Use a dropper or dip a toothpick in the juice. Drop the juice onto the paper slowly and cautiously. If there’s any ink that you don’t want to be removed, cover it to prevent it from coming off as well.
And… you have to make sure that you use pure lemon juice, not lemonade—you need as much acidity as possible to get the ink to disappear from the paper.
7. Use Erasable Pens
These are different from our ‘regular’ pens and have ink that seems to be lighter, and this ink is easily erasable.
Removing mistakes made by using these pens is easy: you simply rub the ink with an ink eraser (usually comes with the pen), and the ink immediately disappears.
See a bit more about erasable pens in this section.
8. Brake Fluid
Yes, brake fluid! Apparently, it works. You only need a very small amount of brake fluid to get the ink off the paper.
Use a dropper and, again, only drop a tiny bit of brake fluid on the area where the ink is to be removed.
9. Baking Soda and Water
I have not seen this one in action but I hear that it works. You have to add a few drops of water to the baking soda until it starts to form a paste. The paste should not be thick enough not to soak the paper.
Use a toothpick or anything similar to apply the paste on the area you want to be erased and use the other end of the toothpick to rub the paste over the letter.
10. Use a Razor Blade
If you’re dealing with ink from a printer, then you can use a blade to scrape the letters off your paper.
I’m not really a fan of this method because you could end up scraping your skin instead of ink. But it works!
Place the blade close to the surface of the paper and keep it as level as possible and start scraping the letters off. You have to get under the letter first, it becomes easier to peel off the letter that way.
Erasable pens are some sort of pen-pencil hybrids that aren’t as popular or regular as ballpoint pens but are effective if you want to deal with your writing mistakes.
So, How Do Erasable Pens Work?
Erasable pens write and work just like the ballpoint or gel pens we all use, but the ink inside an erasable pen is different. ‘Regular pens’ use oil or dye inks, but erasable pens use rubber cement or thermo-sensitive ink.
Thermochromic pens are more pop than rubber cement pens because the ink in the latter basically hardens like cement and can’t be effaced just after a few hours. Thermochromic pens, on the other hand, can become invisible as a result of the heat produced by rubbing the paper.
One of the disadvantages of thermochromic ink is that it fades over time; therefore, it’s not ideal for long-term writing projects.
When to Use Erasable Pens
Since erasable pens are just like pencils, they are ideal for scenarios that require erasing written mistakes instead of crossing them out. They are impermanent, so you can erase their ink while keeping your notes tidy and orderly.
Erasable pens are ideal for taking notes, marking appointments in calendars, crosswords puzzles, and doodling.
When Not To Use Erasable Pens
Erasable pens aren’t ideal for writing notes or letters that are intended to last a long time, writing a signature on legal or other documents, paper with unusual writing surfaces, and documents meant for open notice boards.
Best Ink Removing Products
Here are some popular products that you can use to remove different ink types:
1. Tombow 67304 MONO Sand Eraser, 2-Pack
2. BIC Ink Eater Permanent Eraser Pens
4. Tipp-Ex Rapid Top-Quality Opaque And Clean Correction Bottle
We all make mistakes, it’s so human but sometimes, we can’t live with those mistakes and we want to immediately get rid of those mistakes.
Luckily for all of us, there are a lot of ways that we can try to take off ink from a paper without damaging the paper. And luckily for you, I have just given you the top 10 solutions in this post.
Some of these will cost you a dollar, while others are close to free. And I’m confident that all of these methods work, but you must make sure that you follow the steps and do it properly and carefully.