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How to Erase Black Ink

Among ballpoint pens, those with black ink are often the most difficult to erase or remove. Typical ink erasers are two-sided erasers: one side has a sanding type of property that erases by removing the surface layer of the paper, the other side is usually a vinyl eraser that contains a chemical that acts on the ink to remove the ink. Some of these erasers will not work well with black ink. The chemical most commonly used to remove inks from paper and other materials is generally a group of solvents. When the ink is on a material other than paper, lift the stain using the liquid form of the solvent.

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Select an ink eraser. Sand and scrape off the top layer of paper using the rough side of the eraser.

Rub the ink with the vinyl side of an ink eraser. The vinyl side has a solvent-type chemical that is designed to act on the ink to remove it from the paper. This solvent will work on some ink mixtures but not on all varieties, particularly gel pens.

Dip a cotton swab in a solvent such as: benzine, bleach, carbon tetrachloride, methyl ethyl ketone, acetone or clear correction fluid.

Rub the wet cotton swab across the black ink. Use a clean swab to pick up or absorb the solvent as it dissolves the ink. Test each chemical separately and do not allow the chemicals to mix together. Test the chemicals first on a similar piece of paper with the same type of ink rather than on the paper you want to clean.


Some solvents will dissolve the colour fastness of the dyes used to colour papers and fabrics, as well as dissolving the ink. Test the chemicals in a discrete spot to see if this reaction takes place prior to attempting to remove the ink from a prominent spot.

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Things You'll Need

  • Ink eraser
  • Cotton Swab
  • Benzine
  • Bleach
  • Carbon tetrachloride
  • Clear correction fluids
  • Methyl ethyl ketone
  • Acetone

About the Author

F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.

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