How to Remove Printer Ink from Paper

How to Remove Printer Ink from Paper – Ink from the printer may bond to the paper fibers or soak into the paper making it more difficult to remove from pen ink. However, as long as you don’t expect your paper to be as white as new paper, there are a few things you can try. Before starting, check the labels on the ink cartridges or printer to determine whether your printer uses inkjet or laserjet technology. If you cannot access the machine, try using the inkjet ink removal method. If the ink has not been removed, use the laserjet ink removal method.

Removing Inkjet Ink from Paper

Wipe off the new ink with a cotton swab. “inkjet” (or “bubblejet”) printers spray tiny droplets of ink onto paper. These ink droplets may remain wet for several minutes, depending on the type of ink and printer you are using. You may be able to remove some of the ink immediately after printing by using a cotton ball. [1] This step makes the next step easier, although the ink is still quite clear on the paper.

  • Don’t rub the paper hard. Your paper may tear.
    Most home and office “inkjet” printers use liquid ink, which is usually the cheapest ink and takes a few minutes to dry (unless the printer has a heating mechanism).

Gently scrape off the paper using sandpaper or a razor. Sometimes, a large amount of ink just sticks to the surface of the paper. Scrape off the top of the paper with a razor blade or fine sandpaper. [2] Scrape the paper slowly, pointing it towards you.

  • This step is more likely to succeed if you try it right after you print. This step is also more suitable for thick paper because heavy paper is more resistant to scraping. [3]
    UV inks, which are more expensive and stronger, will quickly set on the paper before soaking. [4] This type of ink may be erased more easily than other types of printer inks.

Use a liquid wipe. If the above methods don’t remove the ink, you may have to give up. Use correction fluid and wait for it to dry before writing/drawing on it.

Removing Laserjet Ink from Paper

Use acetone and cotton to cover up the ink. Laser printers spray ink (or “toner”) onto the paper fibers before removing the paper so the ink dries and blends with the fibers while you view the printout. [5] Acetone, or nail polish remover, can be used with a cotton swab to dilute the ink on the paper. This method is not perfect, but it may be the only way that is easy to do. Your paper will be gray and smudged, but new print or writing can still be seen easily on it.

  • Keep acetone away from heat sources as this chemical is flammable. If you feel dizzy from the smell, get some fresh air. If acetone gets on your skin, eyes or mouth, wash it immediately with warm water for 15 minutes, without stopping to remove your contact lenses. [6]

Rub the acetone all at once with the paper towels. Rubbing acetone into the ink will increase the amount of ink that is lifted, although 1/3 of the ink will still be stuck as gray smudges and light images. Rub the tissue paper only on the areas you want to remove because if you rub too much it might tear. You also can’t really increase the amount of ink erased. [7]

Place the paper with acetone in the ultrasonic cleaning machine (optional). Ultrasonic machines use high-frequency sound to lift stains and remove them from surfaces. This machine can be used to remove more ink smudges, although the paper still can’t look like new. However, these machines are very expensive even though they are sold for household use. These cleaning machines cost from IDR 1.5 million-IDR 15 million for higher capacity and more powerful machines.

Look for news on laser print removal. The machine uses a pulse of laser light to remove laser ink, but as of September 2014, the machine had only reached the theory or prototype stage. However, these circumstances may change, so look for news about “unprinter” or the company “Reuse.” [8]

  • This machine cannot be used to remove “inkjet” ink.

Use a liquid wipe. If none of the above methods can remove the ink, use a liquid eraser. This liquid will leave a white mark that appears on the paper, but after it dries, you can write/draw on top of the liquid.


  • If you don’t know whether your printer is an “inkjet” or “laserjet” type, look at the label on your ink cartridge, or search your printer type online for a description of the printer. Unfortunately, printouts from “inkjet” and “laser” printers are difficult to distinguish.


  • Some of these steps might affect the appearance of colored paper.
    Some substances other than acetone can remove laserjet ink, or they can be mixed with acetone to lighten gray stains left over from removal. However, some of these solutions are too dangerous for home use, and are generally not available outside of a chemistry laboratory. If you are a chemist or have acquaintances who can walk into a chemistry lab, using a mixture of 40% chloroform and 60% dimethyl sulfoxide is probably the most effective mixture. [9]


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