Printer ink can bond with paper fibers or soak deep into the paper, making it harder to remove than regular ink. However, if you are not expecting bright white paper, there are several methods you can try. Before you start, check the label on the printer or cartridge to determine if you are using an inkjet or laser printer. If you don't have access to a printer, try the inkjet method first, and if you can't remove the ink, then go to the laser printer method.
Method 1 of 2: Removing inkjet ink from the paper
Step 1. Blot fresh paint with a cotton pad
Inkjet printers spray ink droplets onto the paper, and depending on the type of ink used and the printer, this ink can remain wet for several minutes. Immediately after printing, you can collect a small portion of the ink with a cotton pad. This can make the next step easier, even if the ink remains mostly visible on the paper.
- Do not rub hard on the paper, as it may tear.
- Most home and office inkjet printers use water-based ink, usually the cheapest option, and do not dry immediately, but within a few minutes, unless the printer has a heating mechanism.
Step 2. Scrape the paper gently with sandpaper or a razor blade
Sometimes the ink remains mostly on the surface of the paper. In this case, scrape off the top layer of the paper with a razor blade or fine sanding paper (M5 – M14). Scrape gently, only in one direction - towards yourself.
- The chances of success will be better if you try to do it right after printing. If the paper is thick, it is even better - it can withstand additional scraping.
- UV ink, which is more expensive and durable, dries up quickly enough without being able to saturate the paper. They can be scraped off more easily than other types of printer inks.
Step 3. Use a stroke
If the above methods don't work, there is probably nothing left other than refusing to remove the ink. Apply a stroke instead and let it dry before you write or paint over it.
Method 2 of 2: Removing laser ink from paper
Step 1. Apply acetone with a cotton pad to smudge the ink
Laser printers fuse ink (technically called toner) into the paper fibers before the paper is fed, so by the time the paper comes out of the output tray, the ink is solidifying and drying. Acetone, also sold as a nail polish remover, can be applied with a cotton pad to dissolve some of the paint and turn it back into liquid. This is not an ideal method, but perhaps the only one readily available. The paper will end up gray and smudged, but new print or handwritten text can be clearly seen from above the smeared surface.
Keep acetone away from heat sources as it is flammable. If you feel dizzy from inhaling the vapors, move to fresh air. If acetone comes in contact with the skin, eyes or mouth, immediately rinse with warm water for 15 minutes without pausing to remove contact lenses
Step 2. While applying acetone, rub the paper with a paper towel
This will remove much more ink, although about 1/3 of the ink is likely to remain as a gray spot and blurry image. Rub a piece of paper with a paper napkin only once, otherwise the paper can be torn, and you will not be able to remove a lot of paint with additional friction.
Step 3. Place the acetone-soaked paper in the ultrasonic cleaning machine (optional)
Ultrasonic devices use high-frequency sound waves to break down contaminants and rip them off the surface. They can even be used to remove large ink stains, although the paper will still not look new. However, although these machines are sold for home use, they are quite expensive depending on the power and volume of material being processed.
Step 4. Check out the latest news on laser anti-printers
These devices use short pulses of laser light that burn laser-printed inks, but as of May 2019, they only exist in theory or prototypes (some of which were invented by scientists at the University of Cambridge). However, things can change, so search the internet for news about these printers or about Reduse.
These devices will not work with inkjet paper
Step 5. Use a stroke
If none of the above methods worked, try using a stroke. It will leave a visible raised white surface mark on the paper, but once dry, you can write or draw over it.
If you are not sure if your printer is inkjet or laser, check the label on the cartridge or search the Internet for a description. Unfortunately, it is rather difficult to distinguish on which printer - inkjet or laser - the paper was printed
- Some of these methods can damage colored paper.
- There are some other substances besides acetone that allow toner paint to dissolve or, when mixed with acetone, will ultimately bleach a gray spot. However, such substances are too dangerous for domestic use and are generally not available outside of chemical laboratories. If you or an expert you know has access to a chemistry lab, a mixture of 40% chloroform and 60% dimethyl sulfoxide may be most effective.