It’s happened to us all at some point in our lives that we have ended up making a mistake with a pen while writing. It may have been while doing homework for school or college, in our favorite journal, writing letters or filling out forms. This has left you wondering how to cleanly erase the pen ink from paper.
There are quite a few websites and YouTube videos giving advice on how to cleanly erase pen ink from paper. Most of it is complete rubbish at best and if you follow their advice you could end up making things a lot worse and ending up completely frustrated.
There are several different techniques for erasing pen ink from paper and we will go into detail about the benefits and drawbacks of each one. This will then help you make an informed choice about how you are going to tackle removing that irritating pen ink mark.
Table of Contents
Hacks to Remove Pen from Paper
The bad news is that most of the DIY hacks at best just don’t work and worst-case make a complete mess. By their very nature pens are designed to leave a permanent mark on the paper, and they do this by staining the paper with either an oil-based, dye-based or gel-based ink.
There are a lot of people recommending that you can use, nail polish, bleach, ethyl alcohol and I even saw that somebody is recommending using brake fluid. They suggest that using one of these liquids in conjunction with a Q tip, earbud, cotton wool, etc. will magically get rid of the ink from the paper.
THIS DOES NOT WORK after spending hours of research I cannot find one website or YouTube Video that shows someone successfully cleanly removing a pen ink mark from paper. I have seen some people kind of remove the ink in a fashion, but it leaves a horrible looking stain.
Ok, now I have got that off my chest let’s look at what you can do erase ink more cleanly from paper.
Craft Knife / Razor Blade / Stanley Knife Blade
Ink marks can be removed from the paper by very gently scraping the ink off with some success. A technique mastered by the extraordinary conman Frank Abagnale whose exploits were brought to the big screen by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Catch Me if You Can. But I would not recommend it as I value my fingers far too much and there are far safer ways of achieving this.
Rubber Ink Eraser
Rubber ink erasers have been around for a very long time and can cleanly erase pen ink from paper. The way that they work is that the rubber is quite coarse and as you rub you are removing a very tiny amount of paper. If the ink mark is not a deeply ingrained mark and depending on the thickness of the paper, then it is possible to cleanly erase a pen mark from the paper. The best technique is to when using the rubber to rub gently with a very light touch.
Not all pen erasers are created equal and there is one eraser that stands out from the crowd. The Tombow Mono Sand Eraser 512A.
The Tombow Mono Sand Eraser 512A is made from a compound of natural rubber latex and Silca Grit. Tombow USA makes some bold claims on their website about this eraser stating that it “removes colored pencil and ink marks, including ballpoint, rollerball, and some marker. It also made from all-natural materials”.
It looks like these claims are not without substance as the 512A sand eraser has a very impressive 4.2 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon with over 350 reviews. I am a big fan of reviews that are from people who have forked out their hard-earned dollars to buy the product to use it themselves.
When you read the reviews, most are positive about using the pen to remove ballpoint ink and colored pencil marks from card and paper. There are a couple of negative reviews and they tend to be that they have worn through the paper. It also turns out that this eraser is a huge hit with crafters for removing watercolor, glue and ink smudges and recommended on YouTube by Jennifer McGuire in one of her crafty videos.
Wite Out Correction Fluid
Using a rubber or sharp blade to remove ink from the paper is a technique that involves removing minute layers from the top surface of the paper and requires the ink to be not to deeply engrained, decent paper weight and a very light touch. An alternative and very effective way of erasing the ink is by covering it up so that it can no longer be seen and writing over the top of it. If you are using white paper then this is where the BIC Wite-Out Shake ‘n Squeeze Correction Pen really comes into its own right.
There are lots of wite out and correction pens available to buy but The BIC Wite-Out Shake ‘n Squeeze Correction Pen stands out from the crowd and is the one that we recommend. This is backed up by a 4.5 out 5 stars rating on Amazon and over 780 reviews. What makes the BIC Wite-Out Shake ‘n Squeeze Correction Pen so special is that its ball tip allows for extremely fine corrections that are not possible with tape & brushes. Its correction fluid dries to a smooth seamless fluid unlike some of the brush type ones that look like white dried on cake mixture.
To get the best performance out of the shake and squeeze wite out you need to give it a good shake to ensure that its fluid is mixed properly before applying it to the paper.
The Bic wite-out correction pen is fantastic for intricate corrections but if you want to cover up a larger area then we recommend trying the Tombow Mono Correction Tape Hybrid Style.
This has an amazing 1170 reviews giving it 4.7 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon. What is great about using tape as opposed to correction fluid is that there is no mess or drying time you simply apply the tape to cover up whatever you need to correct, then you can write straight over it using either a pen, pencil or marker.
I must admit that I had never even heard of white gouache before I started to research different ways to cleanly remove pen ink from paper. I stumbled across a comment from someone who swears by using white gouache as opposed to wite out to correct any mistakes she made with a ballpoint pen.
White Goauche is used by artists and is a water-based water-soluble dense opaque flat white paint. The idea is to paint over the area you want to correct and then when it is dry rewrite over it the same as you would with wite out. If you want to give it a try then Amazon’s choice is Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache Tube, 14ml, Permanent White.
Deleter White Out
While I was researching white gouache I came across this great article at Comic Tools where he is recommending a product called White Out by Deleter which when dries can be drawn over almost as well as paper. This is not the Bic wite out but a specialist artist guache for correcting ink drawings. So this may well turn out to be a good alternative to wite out (Tippex for any of our UK readers)
Ink Eraser Pen / Ink Eradicator Pen
An ink eraser pen which also known as an ink eradicator pen is a correction pen that is used to erase a special type of blue ink that is known as washable ink. A couple of examples of pens that use this type of ink include the Stabilo Easyoriginal pen and the Berol handwriting pen. For fountain pen users a couple of examples of washable ink are Diamine Washable Blue ink and Parker Quink Washable blue.
An Ink eraser pen usually has two tips a chisel tip that is used to erase the washable ink and a blue pen to write over the erased area. The blue pen contains a permanent ink usually Royal Blue in color. If you try to write over the erased area with washable ink again it reacts with the correction fluid left on the paper by the ink eraser pen. The Pelikan – Super Pirat Ink Eradicator for Royal Blue Ink is highly recommended with some very good customer reviews on Amazon
Prevention is better than the cure and this is certainly true when it comes to removing pen ink marks from paper. Erasable pens have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years and are by far the easiest way to correct any mistake while using your pen to write on paper. The Pilot Frixion erasable pens are without a doubt the best available. when you make a mistake you simply rub it with the eraser at the end of the pen and it magically disappears with no mess, and you can rewrite straight over the erased area.
If you would like to know more about erasable pens read our complete guide to erasable pens. Once you have your paper cleanly erased you might realize that you have an ink stain on your clothes. Don’t worry that easily fixed check out our guide to removing ink stains from clothes.