How to Erase Pen from Paper: Useful Tips for an Organized Desk

The pen has been a popular writing instrument for centuries. It’s versatile, expressive, and functional. In the digital age, people still use pens to take notes or draw. But as any artist knows, the pen can be difficult to erase from paper or off hands without leaving behind an unsightly mark. Gel pens create even more of a mess than pencils because the ink won’t come off at all without the right eraser!

The good news is there are plenty of ways to take care of your writing mistakes so you don’t have to spend hours trying different methods. This article will answer common questions about how to erase pens from paper!

What You Should Do Before Removing Ink from Paper

There are several techniques used when trying to remove ink from paper whichever method works best will depend on what kind of writing utensil was used as well as the type of paper being erased. For this reason, it’s important to know the ink type before beginning any removal process.

Determine the Ink Type

Before you try any erasing technique, it’s important to figure out what kind of pen or marker was used. Different inks require different techniques. This is true with gel pens and regular felt tip markers too since both can contain a variety of colors in one ink cartridge!

The best way to determine the type of ink your writing utensil uses is by looking at how difficult it comes off on paper. For example, if when making an attempt to erase using a common rubber pencil eraser the image smears without lifting from the page altogether, then either permanent marker or paint was applied.

If however, no smear occurred but only light bits were lifted then a non-permanent marker or pen was used. In this case, continue on to our tutorial on how to erase pen from the paper.

Check the Type of Paper

Different types of paper are made with different fibers. Papers that contain less synthetic fiber tend to have better erasing capabilities than those containing more wood pulp, which is what makes them harder to rub off on an eraser or tissue.

Evaluate the Number of Errors or Ink Applications

If you only made one or two small mistakes, then proceed to our tutorial on how to erase pen ink from paper.

If you are trying to erase one of many ink applications, the technique might be different than if it was your first time using that pen. This is because some inks can become permanent over time due to layers accumulating on top of each other.

How to Erase Pen Marks from Paper

Here are our tips on how to erase pens from paper. They range in difficulty and intensity depending on the type of writing utensil used. The best method will depend on what kind of ink it contains (water-soluble or permanent) as well as what kind of paper was being written upon. Remember, different papers have different erasing capabilities!

Erase Ink With Household Chemicals

1. Apply Acetone or Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol and acetone are effective at removing ink from paper. You can find both of these products in most households which is why they’re the first places to look when trying to erase a pen. If you don’t have either on hand, nail polish remover works just as well!

Simply apply a small amount of the fluid and rub over the smudge until it’s removed.


  • Remember that not all types of paper will be able to handle this kind of product so test it out before rubbing directly onto the surface (or even better yet- cut out a small portion beforehand).
  • For this method to work best, the smudge should still appear wet since a dry piece of paper won’t lift up easily after being rubbed with chemicals. If rubbing doesn’t seem to budge the stain then allow time for it to soak into the fiber before trying again.
  • Be careful not to accidentally rub the chemical into your paper since it will soak through and damage other areas of the sheet! Only use this technique on smudges that are near the edge or margin of a page if you don’t want any additional marks appearing in unwanted spots.
  • Both nail polish remover and acetone can be harmful to skin so always wear gloves when applying onto an eraser or paper towel. In addition, avoid contact with clothing as these products will also remove most dyes from fabrics- including permanent marker ink stains on clothes!
Warning: do not use acetone around the eyes, nose, ears, or mouth since ingestion may cause serious health problems including liver damage or even death.

Also, note that both chemicals mentioned here are flammable so exercise caution open flames when using these products.

2. Apply Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is another household chemical that can be used to remove the pen from the paper. However, while it may sound like a plausible solution by name alone – this product is actually extremely dangerous and should only ever be handled if you know exactly what you’re doing!

This kind of fluid contains high levels of Acetone which will dissolve most inks on contact. It’s also highly poisonous so please exercise extreme caution when using brake cleaner at home.


  • Use it only as of the last resort since this type of fluid is difficult to remove after it’s soaked into the paper and should never be used around any kind of open flame!
  • After using brake fluid, allow some time for any remaining product to dry completely before closing up a book or folder since it will continue to soak through and cause damage!
  • If you accidentally get brake cleaner onto your skin, wash with a bar of gentle soap and water immediately to prevent illness or negative health effects! Be sure to consult a doctor if irritation continues after washing hands thoroughly.

3. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is yet another household chemical that can remove the ink. This product contains citric acid which acts to dissolve the ink pigment. However, because this method uses a natural fruit extract – it’s not as harsh or harmful to your materials so should be used if all other options fail!


  • For best results after rubbing with lemon juice allow some time before trying again in case there are small particles still stuck onto the smudge (i.e., sand/dirt) since these will make it harder to lift the pigment without causing any further damage.
  • Never test out any type of chemicals on good sheets since they may become damaged even when using safe solvents like lemon juice! Always use an old scrap piece first to make sure you don’t ruin anything precious by mistake!
Warning: always test out any type of chemicals before trying them directly onto pen marks you know exactly what will happen and how the paper will react.

4. Baking Soda and Water

Baking soda is a simple household product that also can be used to remove pen ink. This method uses the natural absorbency of baking soda as well as its abrasiveness to lift off ink pigments.

If you’re trying this technique on older stains or marks, first make sure to pre-soak with water and brush away any remaining residue before applying baking soda paste since this might also lift away any ink that’s still showing through.

Gently Remove the Ink with a Razor or Blade

In some cases, gently scraping away the pen from paper is a good way to remove ink from your documents.


  • For best results when using a razor to erase pen from the paper, first make sure the surface is flat and dry before gently scraping away any remaining marks or smudges.
  • Be careful when trying this method as you may accidentally cause other damage if using too much force or pushing down hard!
  • This method should only ever be used as a last resort since it can potentially ruin your book pages by causing rips or tears along its surface – especially for flat surfaces such as those made from notebook paper!

Try Using an Ink Eraser Pen

Ink eraser pens are available to purchase online or from stores- either as a disposable product you use once and toss away, or an erasable pen that can be refilled with ink after it runs out.


  • For best results with this method, use a gentle back-and-forth motion to slowly wipe away all ink marks until they’re gone!
  • This method is best suited for small marks left behind by dry erase markers – not traditional paint pens! If unsure about what kind of pen you’re using, test first before trying!
  • Never try using ink erasers around your books/notes because the solvent will soak through the paper and remove any writing on the other side.

Erase Pen Ink with Sandpaper

Sandpaper is another common product that can be used to remove the pen from the paper. In some cases, rubbing a piece of sandpaper over your writing may lift away the pigment just enough so it’s no longer noticeable.


  • For best results when erasing ink marks or smudges on flat surfaces such as those found in notebooks use a gentle circular motion while applying plenty of pressure until all residue has been lifted off completely.
  • Don’t rub back and against the surface because you’ll risk damaging your book pages!
  • Avoid using fine-grit sandpapers with this method as these will require too much time and effort for little results!
  • Don’t try using this technique on glossy surfaces because it’ll leave behind major scratches and marks – especially with fine-gripped sandpapers!

Use Erasable Pens

Another option is to use an erasable pen instead which has a special kind of ink that can be easily removed with water or some rubbing alcohol. This way you don’t have to worry about smearing and ghosting issues since the eraser in these pens will lift away any marks without leaving behind residues!

If your book features glossy pages, make sure to test this method before using it on all its surfaces because not every type of paper is compatible with erasable gel ink!

How to Erase Gel Pen Ink from Paper

Fortunately, gel pens produce their own distinct color and texture when used on paper which makes them easy to distinguish from other types of ink. This is why we can safely recommend using a white plastic pencil eraser for removing these marks without any smearing or ghosting issues.

If you don’t have one around but do have an old standard yellow rubber pencil eraser lying around then grab that instead because it’ll still work well enough even if it doesn’t erase as cleanly as its contemporary counterpart does with gel pen inks!

Covering Ink Marks

The methods above are effective, but they may leave stains that are difficult to remove after many attempts. In this case, the best choice is to cover up pen marks with another color.

Covering up old writing doesn’t have to be complicated – just carefully consider what kind of materials you’ll use to do it.

1. Cover It with a Correction Tape or Fluid

Sometimes it may be the case that you’ll have to remove large sections of text – especially if they’re handwritten!

In these cases, removing ink marks with correction fluid or tape is another good option. These products are specially designed for lifting away pen pigment without damaging the paper.

2. Conceal Mistakes with White-Out Pen

For a more permanent solution that still lets you get rid of pen marks, try using White-Out pens! These colorless correction markers can conceal any mistakes or writing on paper while remaining completely undetectable.

Just make sure to test these out first before applying them all over your book because not every type of ink is compatible with this kind of product!

3. Cover It with White Gouache

If you’re looking for a medium-term solution, white gouache is another paint product that can be used to cover up writing on paper without getting any smearing or ghosting issues.


Now that you know how to remove pen ink from paper using different materials, go ahead and try it out!

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