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How to Erase Pen Ink From Paper

Updated July 19, 2017

Many of us have at some point needed to erase pen ink, either because we spilt some accidentally or put an inky finger on paper or simply made an error. Erasers are abrasive and tend to wear out the paper while removing the ink, thus weakening it and causing it to tear. A correction pen is an option; the white ink covers up an error and can be written over. You can also use acetone to remove most ink stains.

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  1. Fold a rag cloth twice over and lay it on the table. Use a cloth that is old but clean.

  2. Place the portion of the paper that needs to be erased over the cloth.

  3. Dip a cotton swab in acetone or nail-polish remover. Acetone is available in hardware stores, and nail-polish remover is available at any supermarket. If you cannot dip the swab into the bottle because the mouth is not wide enough, press the swab against the opening and gently tilt the bottle, so as to wet the swab.

  4. Hold the paper down with one hand and carefully rub the area that needs to be erased with the cotton swab in the other hand. Move the wet portion of the swab repeatedly over the portion to be erased till the stain is no longer visible. If the swab dries up, wet it again before attempting to erase the stain with it.

  5. Lift the paper and place it under a fan to dry. Weigh it down with paperweights if required. Throw away the cotton swab and wash the rag cloth. The paper should be dry in about 30 seconds.

  6. Tip

    You can use spirit of turpentine or rubbing alcohol instead of acetone or nail-polish remover. Turpentine is available in any hardware store and rubbing alcohol in any drug store or pharmacy. The rag cloth you use should be clean because any stains on it could transfer to your paper when they come in contact with the solvent. The paper will absorb the solvent and cause it to spread, potentially affecting other text on your paper. Use only a small quantity of solvent so that you erase only the text you would like to.


    Acetone is flammable. Do not work in the vicinity of flames or sparks. Keep the acetone or nail-polish remover bottle tightly closed when not in use.

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Things You'll Need

  • Rag cloth
  • Table
  • Cotton swab
  • Acetone or nail-polish remover
  • Fan
  • Paperweights

About the Author

Parul Gupta has been writing since 1993. Her work has appeared in "Discover India" magazine and in newspapers "The Telegraph," "The Times of India," "The Statesman," and "Hindustan Times." She is based in the U.K., and holds a Master of Arts in literature from the University of Leeds.

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