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How do I remove ink stains on paper money?

Updated April 17, 2017

If you've spilt ink onto paper money or received a note that is covered in ink, it can be frustrating. Some stores and traders won't accept notes that are too soiled, so you might need to find a way to remove the stain before you can use the note again. There are several household items you can use to remove ink stains from paper money. Not all of them will be effective on all inks, but with trial and error you should be able to reclaim and use your note again.

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  1. Fill a shallow dish with nail polish remover.

  2. Soak the stained part of the note for 10 minutes.

  3. Leave the paper to dry. You don't need to wipe the nail varnish off, as it is the acetone in the nail varnish that affects the ink. Once the nail varnish remover has evaporated, the stain should be gone.

  4. Apply a small amount of bleach to the end of a Q-tip.

  5. Dab the Q-tip gently on the paper, but don't rub it. Rotate the Q-tip with each dab so a clean surface is touching the paper each time.

  6. Apply peroxide after the bleach, using the same method. This stops the bleach from corroding the paper.

  7. Purchase fine sandpaper or a fibreglass eraser. You want the sandpaper's abrasive action to be gentle, so choose paper that has a grit of 240 or higher.

  8. Rub the paper or eraser very slowly and gently against the note.

  9. Repeat until the stained layers of paper have been removed and the ink is no longer visible.

  10. Tip

    Apply nail polish remover and bleach to a test piece of paper first to determine the correct quantities you need and how long it will take for the stain to be removed.


    Wear protective gloves when using bleach, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Don't rub the paper too hard with sandpaper because you can create a hole.

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Things You'll Need

  • Nail polish remover
  • Shallow dish
  • Bleach
  • Q-tips
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Sandpaper (grit size 240 or above) or fibreglass eraser

About the Author

Adele Eliot
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