How to Remove Printer Ink from Paper  – A Step-by-Step Guide

cmyk buckets on white

Having an inkjet printer at home is a great way to maximize home office productivity. They come in handy for a wide range of uses, such as printing school reports, shipping labels, envelopes and expense reports for your home business.

Over the last few decades, printers have evolved and become more accessible for families. Many families have a printer right next to their personal computer. Inkjet printers have the capacity to print professional-quality photographs while laser printers can produce hundreds of prints for a business in a matter of minutes.

Sometimes, however, they can present problems, and one of those is when unwanted ink either spills or spreads onto paper. Luckily, there are a few ways you can carefully and effectively remove an accidental ink spill from your paper.

For Inkjet Printers

If this was a major spill, or your printer ink cartridges seemed to malfunction, the amount of ink may be too much to be removed, and you may want to reprint your project. If this is the case, first open your printer and examine the cartridge with some sort of protective disposable gloves.

If the cartridge is damaged or if it seems to be malfunctioning, contact the supplier to find out about a refund or replacement. If the cartridge looks okay, place it back into the printer and run a few test pages from the printer’s settings. Once the tests print normally, try your project again.

If the spill was just a small amount or a slight spread from an inkjet printer, try the following:

  • Use a Cotton Ball

Immediately following the spill or the print, grab a cotton ball and lightly dab the areas where you don’t want the ink. Typically, after a print, the ink remains wet for a few minutes, and this allows you the chance to remove it. Try not to rub or make any abrasive motions with the cotton ball but instead just dab the areas.

  • Use a Razor Blade

Gently scraping the top layer of the paper, where the ink has come in, contact can sometimes help to remove it. This often works best immediately after printing.

  • Use a White Paper Correction Liquid

If neither of the above methods work, a third option is to allow the ink to dry completely and then cover it using white corrective liquid or tape. This will result in a slightly different shade of white than your paper, however, and you may end up wanting to reprint the document.

cmyk ink cartridges

For LaserJet Printers

Laser printer ink varies slightly from that used in an inkjet printer cartridge. The fine powder in the toner cartridge fuses with the paper at high levels of heat. This may make it more difficult to remove than traditional ink.

If you are using a LaserJet printer, try the following methods to remove unwanted ink from your paper:

  • Combine Acetone with a Cotton Ball

With laser printers, the ink has already been fused to the fibers of the paper when printed or spilled. Dipping a cotton ball in acetone can help to dissolve some of the ink, similar to the way it does with nail polish. Keep acetone away from heat and flames, as it is highly flammable. Also, do not inhale the acetone or let it contact your skin.

  • Rub the Area with Acetone and Tissue Paper

Once you have dabbed the area with the acetone-dipped cotton ball, you can then rub the area with tissue paper which should remove most of the ink. However, this may result in a discolored, gray area on your paper.

  • Try Clear Tape

Transparent tape gently applied to the ink may help to remove a portion of it from the surface of the paper. Test it on a small area of the paper first to ensure the tape won’t cause further damage.

printer and laptop on table

Do a Test Print First

If you are printing an important document or report, perform a test print beforehand. This can give you an idea of whether your printer is functioning properly and the status of your cartridges. This can help to prevent any unwanted ink smudges and spreads on your important printed documents.

The Takeaway

Although having a printer at home is a great way to enhance productivity, as with anything in life, there are sometimes complications. Taking steps to ensure your ink cartridges are full and your printer is working properly can greatly decrease the chances you will have to deal with unwanted ink on your paper.

Ink Jet Super Store is a leading and trustworthy supplier for all your inkjet and laser printer cartridge needs. Browse our online inventory today to find high-quality ink and toner cartridges for your inkjet or LaserJet printer.