How to Cleanly Erase Pen Ink from Paper

It’s happened to us all at some point in our lives that we have made a mistake with a pen while writing.

It may have been while doing homework for school or college, in our favorite journals, writing letters, or filling out forms.

This has left you wondering how to cleanly erase the pen ink or remove ink stains from paper.

Quite a few websites and YouTube videos advise how to erase pen ink from paper cleanly.

Most of it is complete rubbish at best, and if you follow their advice, you could make things a lot worse and end 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 help you make an informed choice about how to tackle removing that irritating pen ink mark.

Hacks to Remove Pen from Paper

The bad news is that most DIY hacks, at best, 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, and ethyl alcohol, and I even saw that somebody is recommending using brake fluid.

They suggest that using one of these liquids with a Q tip, earbud, cotton wool, etc., will magically eliminate the ink from the paper.

THIS DOES NOT WORK. After spending hours researching, 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 remove the ink in a fashion it leaves a horrible-looking stain.

Ok, now I have got that off my chest, let’s look at ink removal techniques that you can do to erase ink more cleanly from paper.

Craft Knife / Razor Blade / Stanley Knife Blade

Remove pen ink with a blade

Ink marks can be removed from the paper by gently scraping the ink 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 long time and can cleanly erase pen ink from paper.

They work because the rubber is quite coarse, and as you rub, you are removing a very tiny amount of paper.

If the ink mark is not deeply ingrained and depends on the thickness of the paper, then it is possible to erase a pen mark from the paper cleanly.

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 one eraser stands out from the crowd. The Tombow Mono Sand Eraser 512A.

Tombow Mono Sand Eraser 512A

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The Tombow Mono Sand Eraser 512A is made from natural rubber latex and Silca Grit.

Tombow USA makes some bold claims on its website about this eraser, stating that it “removes colored pencil and ink marks, including ballpoint, rollerball, and some marker. It is also made from all-natural materials”.

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 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 cards 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 is 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.

It requires the ink to be not too 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 comes into its right.

Bic Wite Out

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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 one we recommend.

This is backed up by a 4.5 out of 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 impossible with tape & brushes.

Its correction fluid dries to a smooth seamless fluid, unlike some brush-type ones that look like a 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 its fluid is mixed properly before applying it to the paper.

Correction Tape

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.

Tombow Correction Tape

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This has an amazing 1170 reviews giving it a 4.7 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon.

What is great about using tape instead of correction fluid is that there is no mess or drying time.

You apply the tape to cover up whatever you need to correct, and then you can write straight over it using either a pen, pencil, or marker.

White Gouache

I must admit that I had never even heard of white gouache before I started to research different ways to remove pen ink from paper cleanly.

I stumbled across a comment from someone who swears by using white gouache instead of writing out to correct any mistakes she made with a ballpoint pen.

Desiners Gouache Windsor and Newton

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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 try it, then Amazon’s choice is Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache Tube, 14ml, Permanent White.

Deleter White Out

Deleter White

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While researching white gouache, I came across this great article at Comic Tools where he recommends a product called White Out by Deleter which, when dried, can be drawn over almost as well as paper.

This is not the Bic wite out but a specialist artist’s 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, also known as an ink eradicator pen, is a correction pen used to erase a special type of blue ink 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, some examples of washable ink are Diamine Washable Blue ink and Parker Quink Washable blue.

Pelikan Ink Eradicator

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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 permanent ink, usually Royal Blue.

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. 

Erasable Pen

Prevention is better than cure, and this is certainly true when it comes to removing pen marks from paper.

Erasable pens have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years and are 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 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.

Pilot Frixion Ball 07 Blue

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If you want 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 is easily fixed. Check out our guide to removing ink stains from clothes.

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Peter Warrior: Pen & Pencil Expert

With nearly a decade of experience in the pen industry, I successfully ran an online pen business for 9 years. My deep-rooted passion for pens and pencils led me to become a part-time blogger, where I've dedicated myself to sharing the wealth of knowledge I've amassed over the years. I'm a firm believer in the power of the written word, as echoed by Malcolm Forbes: "Putting pen to paper lights more fire than matches ever will." My expertise is not just rooted in business, but in the genuine appreciation and understanding of the art of writing instruments.

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