How To Erase Pen—12 Easy Ways To Remove Ink From Paper, Skin & Clothes

Need to erase pen ink but not sure how? If so, you are in the right place. The article below will show you seven ways you can remove pen ink from paper with relative ease. We will also offer tips on how to remove ink from other surfaces.

Bear in mind that some methods are easier than others, while some are better for the paper’s integrity.

It is wise to learn about the type of ink and paper used. For example, ink from gel pens have a different consistency than regular ballpoint pen ink.

So, if you have made a mistake with pen ink and need to correct it, read on. We will cover below how to erase pen ink or remove ink stains from paper, skin, and even your clothes.

How to erase pen ink from paper

Writing with a pen is the norm, and many people are even reluctant to use a pencil. On official documents, exams, and other types of formal writing, a pen is required or is at least preferred over a pencil.

The problem when writing with a pen is that mistakes are hard to erase. With a pencil, all you need is a rubber eraser, but pen ink stains paper in a way that makes it hard to remove. Fortunately, it is not impossible to erase pen marks.

We have included below seven ways to effectively erase ink from a paper without ruining the paper itself.

1. Nail polish remover

If you need to erase pen ink from paper and have some nail polish remover lying around, you are in luck.

Nail polish remover contains a chemical solvent known as acetone. Solvents break up small particles of material, making acetone an effective tool for undoing an inky mistake.

To use this product to effectively remove pen ink from paper, apply a small amount to a cotton swab or ball. You do not need much for it to work.

Apply a couple of drops, then gently rub the swab over the area you want to correct. Acetone works best for regular ballpoint pen ink and gel pen inks and usually removes blue ink with a cleaner result than black ink.

2. Correction fluid

Correction fluid, commonly known under the brand name ‘Wite-Out‘, is a thick white liquid bought in a small bottle. The bottle’s lid usually contains a soft brush you can use to apply the fluid carefully and over fine lines.

It’s not an ink eraser. Correction fluid does not erase ink from paper but can cover up a mistake. As a fluid, it takes time to dry but is usually ready to write over within minutes after the first application. 

Before you use correction fluid:

  1. Shake the bottle with the lid closed.
  2. When applying to paper, do so carefully.
  3. Try not to use too much. It becomes thick and unsightly if you put too much fluid on the paper.

It may also become flaky, and writing over it may damage your pen.

How To Erase Pen

3. Use rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol contains a chemical known as isopropyl and can help you completely remove pen ink from paper, whether it is gel pen ink or ballpoint. Use as much or as little as needed.

If you only want to remove a few ink stains, only use a small amount. Half a teaspoon is more than enough and may even be too much.

If you want to use less, dip a cotton swab into the rubbing alcohol, let the drips fall back into the bottle, and carefully apply it to the ink.

It is wise to cover areas of ink that you want to keep just in case any alcohol drips from the cotton swab. 

You will need considerably more rubbing alcohol if you need to erase ink from an entire page. Pour a thin layer of rubbing alcohol into a tray (you do not need a lot, just enough to cover the paper) and let it sit for about five minutes.

Bear in mind that rubbing alcohol has a strong odor and is deadly if accidentally consumed.

If you have kids in the house, keep the rubbing alcohol away from them. That might sound obvious, but one could easily leave it lying around if they work on arts and crafts as a family activity.

4. Try sandpaper

You can remove ink from paper with friction.

Find a small piece of sandpaper with a low grit number. Sandpaper grit is classified with inverse numbers—the lower the number, the coarser the sandpaper. To erase ink, it is best to use coarse sandpaper with a grit of 40 or lower.

Since you are removing pen ink from paper, you may only need a small piece of sandpaper. A larger cut will make it harder to remove small areas of ink.

For effective and accurate removal, cut out a tiny piece of sandpaper, then glue it to the eraser at the top of a pencil. Be careful not to apply too much pressure.

Using coarse sandpaper as an ink eraser can rip the paper if you apply too much. Be gentle and check the area you want to remove after a few strokes. In the process, blow away any loose pieces of ink or grit.

5. Correction tape

Correction tape, commonly found under the brand name ‘Tipp Ex is not an ink eraser but effectively covers ink mistakes. Like correction fluid, correction tape does not remove the ink but instead whites it out so that you can re-write over it. 

One side of correction tape sticks to the paper while the other masks the mistake.

It is usually slightly wet when applied but dries within seconds. It is best to wait a minute or two before applying more ink over it. 

Like correction fluid, do not use too much tape. A little goes a long way, and if you use too much, then it is likely to flake and make your paper look messy. 

Correction tape is handy and easy to use, especially if you can scan the page through a copy machine before submitting it for whatever purpose. If you only use a small amount and do so carefully (following the horizontal line of writing with the tape), then it will be unnoticeable on a scanned page.

6. Correction pen

Correction pens are pen-shaped tools containing white liquid. Unlike correction fluid, which uses a soft brush, the white liquid of a correction pen is applied through the small pointed tip at the end of the pen.

Like other correction tools, correction pens do not remove ink but can effectively cover it up so that you can re-use the area of your paper.

Correction pens are best used for small mistakes. The application is fine, just millimeters in diameter, so this approach is best used for pen ink that has stained outside given lines on the page.

7. Opt for an erasable pen

Try an erasable pen if you prefer a pen over a pencil but still worry about making mistakes. Erasable pen ink looks like non-erasable ink, so they are suitable for many of your writing needs.

Remember that some scenarios in which you need to write will call for the use of a standard pen, and often those scenarios are not optimal for removing mistakes after that.

Erasable pens work just like a pencil. They usually come with a special rubber eraser at the top of the pen. Removing the ink is as simple as rubbing out your mistake as you would with a pencil.

How to get pen ink off skin

Whether you are leaning on your paper when you write, writing or drawing on your hands and arms, or the ink unexpectedly spilled on your hand, ink-stained skin can be annoying.

Any ink on the surface of your skin will fade and ultimately come off over time. Still, having only your hands can be a problem if you need to look a certain way.

Fortunately, it is relatively easy to remove an ink stain from your skin, but you should still do so carefully. Too much pressure or corrosive chemicals can harm or burn the skin. The best ways to remove ink from the skin are as follows:

Erase ink, pen ink from paper

1. Hairspray

If you are in a rush to remove ink from your skin, some everyday household items will do the trick. If you have got a bottle of hairspray lying around, you can use it to help remove the ink in a matter of minutes only.

How to remove ink with hairspray

  • Shake the bottle, then spray the ink-stained skin patch within a couple of short bursts.
  • Wait for two to three minutes for the hairspray to soak into the skin.
  • After a couple of minutes, rinse your skin under clean, cool, soapy water when you notice the patch of ink softening. 
  • If the hairspray worked but only removed some of the ink, wait a few more minutes and try again. You should only need one or two tries before getting the ink off.

If the ink is thick and stubborn, try a different approach. Too much hairspray is worse for the skin than an ink stain. 

2. Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is the go-to solution for ink removal. If you are in the office when you find that pesky ink stain, you might be hard-pressed to find some rubbing alcohol.

However, you probably already have some in your home. If not, hairspray contains enough alcohol to be effective.

How to remove ink from the skin with rubbing alcohol

The process is the same as that of hairspray.

  • Apply a small amount of rubbing alcohol to the stained skin using a cotton ball or pad.
  • Let it soak into the skin for a few minutes, then rinse with clean water.
  • Avoid rubbing the affected area immediately after applying the rubbing alcohol because that will only spread the ink around your skin.

3. Saliva

If you are in a rush to remove the ink, saliva might work. It is usually a go-to for minor ink stains, but the last resort is for bigger ones.

Saliva is an effective cleaning agent (sometimes) because of an enzyme known as amylase.

You may want to avoid explicitly spitting on your skin if you are in public. Instead, take a piece of tissue or cotton and spit on it, then use the tissue to clean the skin.

Rub the tissue gently on the skin, or apply pressure and rub once or twice. Do not rub too vigorously because doing so can damage the skin.

4. Sweat

If you are not in a huge rush to remove the ink, remember that it will fade over time.

The sweat from your pores pushes out the stained ink until it disappears completely. That does not mean you have to run a marathon to remove your ink stain.

We sweat naturally, and even the small amount of sweat released on an average day should be enough to remove an ink stain, though it may take a couple of days if the stain is big.

How to remove pen ink from clothes

We have all been there. You just bought a new white shirt, and the first day you wear it, you come home with an ink stain. If this has happened to you recently and you are unsure how to fix it, do not fret.

It is entirely possible to remove pen ink stains from your clothes. Still, it does depend on the material. Cotton is the easiest, while linen may present a more difficult task.

  • Begin with stain remover. Apply stain remover to the inked patch, and let it sit for around ten to fifteen minutes.
  • Fill an appropriately sized bucket with warm water, add some laundry detergent, and wash the stained garment in the bucket for about five minutes.
  • Remove the garment from the bucket and lay it flat. Next, soak a cotton ball, pad, or swab in some rubbing alcohol and apply it to the stain.
  • Continue to dab the stain with the cotton and alcohol until it has completely faded, then rinse under cold war.
  • Finally, give the garment another regular wash and dry.


Do not let one ink stain ruin your whole day. Whether you have got to remove ink from paper, clothes, or your skin, the ink eraser tips above will help. Remember the tips and share them with a friend when they are in need.

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