How to prevent ink-jet paper from smearing

Written by louise harding
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How to prevent ink-jet paper from smearing
Use the appropriate inkjet printer supplies to prevent smears on inkjet paper. (dun cat - printer image by Maria Brzostowska from

Out of all the available types of printers, according to the Northeast Document Conservation Center, inkjet printers are used most often by digital artists. Ink-jet technology is made possible by a nozzle that regulates the application of ink through droplets and/or spray. The printing result is often crisp and vibrant. To prevent inkjet paper from smearing you must take special care in the choice and purchasing of your inkjet supplies. Ink, paper, handling and storage all are very important in yielding a smear-free product.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pigment-based inkjet Ink
  • High quality coated inkjet paper
  • Preserving fixative spray
  • Folders

Show MoreHide


  1. 1

    Use a pigment-based inkjet ink cartridge in your inkjet printer. According to the Northeast Document Conservation Center, pigment-based ink is thicker, dissolves less and is not as susceptible to light and moisture in the environment. Pigment-based inks are longer lasting.

  2. 2

    Use high quality, coated inkjet paper in your inkjet printer, and preferably of the same brand and maker as the inkjet ink you have chosen to use. According to the Northeast Document Conservation Center, coated inkjet paper has a coating that helps ink absorb into the paper so the ink doesn't seep or smear as much as with other papers. Coated papers work especially well with pigment-based inks. The solutions in a coating on a coated, inkjet paper can consist of polymers, clays and other chemicals and help the inkjet paper to dry faster.

  3. 3

    Allow inkjet paper to completely dry before handling. Rapid printing also can result in smeared pages when one paper is resting in the printer paper tray and another page is rapidly deposited atop it before ink has completely dried. Allow each inkjet page to dry undisturbed for at least one minute.

  4. 4

    Spray dry, printed inkjet paper with a preserving fixative spray. There are many brands of fixative sprays made for ink-jet-printed documents and photographs. Find fixative sprays in scrapbook, craft and photography stores. When spraying your printed inkjet paper, hold it upright and spray the page in a well-ventilated room. The page will dry in approximately 30 minutes. Some fixative sprays have heavy fumes even once dry. According to Jerry's Artarama, fixative sprays protect inkjet paper from moisture, fading and ink smears.

  5. 5

    Store printed inkjet paper properly to avoid smearing. According to the Northeast Document Conservation Center, inkjet inks are easily affected by environmental conditions such as moisture and air pollution. Keep printed materials in folders or out of direct light exposure when storing printed inkjet paper over the long term.

Tips and warnings

  • Some people sprinkle dry, printed inkjet papers with talcum powder or hold the damp printed inkjet paper and dry the page with a hair dryer.

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