How to Remove an Ink Smudge on a Glossy Print

Updated November 21, 2016

Ink smudges can easily ruin a vacation photo or fine-art print. To prevent future ink smudges, keep your photographs in an archival album that is free of the sticky backing. You can also use a small box for holding photographs. If you end up with an ink smudge on one of your glossy prints, however, you have several options for removing the stain and restoring your memories and the look of the photograph.

Lay your photograph down on a soft cloth. Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to either a cotton ball or cotton swab.

Blot at the smudge with the cotton ball. Use the swab for getting hard-to-get-out ink smudges. Follow the steps below if the ink is still evident on the glossy print.

Apply photograph and film cleaner to a cotton ball or swab and gently dab at the print. You can get film cleaner at your local photography store.

Scan the print into a scanner. Remove the ink smudge on a photo editing program. Print the glossy print out on glossy paper.

Allow the print to fully dry before placing it in a frame, album or box. Do not place the glossy print underneath another marked photograph.


Check out online photograph editing programs like or


Avoid washing off your print, because it can cause the paper to wrinkle if not properly dried.

Things You'll Need

  • Soft cloth
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball
  • Cotton swab
  • Film cleaner
  • Scanner
  • Photo editing program
  • Glossy paper
  • Printer
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