Removing ink from paper

  1. In this case, on the top corner of the book.

    I occasionally buy some of my books used, and they have stickers and stamps on them. I generally don't mind but this one is on the top of the book when the book is closed (on the top of the page), and it is some ink stamp.

    I tried removing it with water, and I even tried to sand it off but it doesn't seem to want to budge. Does anybody know a good solution that would get this off?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dr Transport

    Dr Transport 1,529
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    try hydrogen peroxide, or one of the oxy- cleaners.
  4. I tried Hydrogen peroxide and Isopropyl alcohol and it won't budge. I guess it's just the color of the paper now.
  5. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
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    You get a box of matches, a propane, nevermind. :uhh:
  6. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Bleach will remove ink, but it will leave a yellow discoloration.

    Dab a q-tip in bleach and touch a spot of the ink with it and see what happens.
  7. It depends on what type of ink it is. I've been restoring artwork (prints, paintings, etc.) for about thirty years now--mostly part time. There are different types of ink. Some dissolve in different types of alcohol (iso, denatured, grain), some in kerosene, acetone, turpentine---some even in water, or xylene even. So there are a few to try--some need precautions to work with. If the stamp bothers you, take it to a restorer, or maybe your chemistry teacher.


    it mostly depends on the original solvent in the ink and the original vehicle in the ink (its similar to the solvents and vehicles in paints).


    and, yes, you can try bleach then rinse/soak really well ---if that doesn't work also try ammonia then rinse well----you may have to combine some of the above even (more than likely)
    Last edited: May 7, 2008
  8. when I mention 'combine' --don't combine ammonia and bleach (bad--very baaad)----what I meant was you may have to combine working with one first then another with drying step in between. If you aren't careful though, you may end up with pulp. It takes quite a bit of experience to do a 'good' job.
  9. Danger

    Danger 9,663
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    How about a laser tuned to the absorbtion frequency of the ink? That seems to work reasonably well for tattoo removal.
  10. GCT

    GCT 1,751
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    Homework Helper

    Acetone is a wonder for most types of ink and yes it works at times where isopropyl alcohol is not compatible. You may be able to obtain one at Lowe's or at Home Depot.
  11. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
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    Or go to any local drugstore or grocery store and find nail polish remover (just avoid the ones that say "non-acetone" on them). It may have other stuff in it as perfumes and such, but it's strong enough and cheap enough without having to hunt through home improvement stores for pure acetone.
  12. Hmmm... Thanks. I guess I'll try acetone and then maybe bleach if worse comes to worse. It's actually a library stamp on the top of the pages so I thought it'd be easy to remove.
  13. what?!!!
  14. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    I'm going to post a picture in a second showing results with ball point pen, which IMHO, is the hardest ink to remove. Regular ink will be completely removed by bleach, ball point is left so faint as to barely see it. I've been using regular bleach to remove ink for years.

    the letters blea at the top - the bl was treated with a commercial ball point ink remover, the letters ea were treated with a drop of bleach.

    the "ea" below that is untreated and the "ea" below that was treated with acetone.

    The bleach wins.

    Attached Files:

    • ink.jpg
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    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  15. very scientific approach, there, Evo--and I can see how and why you suggest bleach

    if it was ballpoint, I'd say, go for it ---and, it may work--and if he has bleach

    The first thing that I would tell him, though,.....

    is to check the library, as it may be a overdue book.

    ps---blea? is that, like, yuck?
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  16. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
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    He said he got it at a booksale. I have old library books from such sales too. The libraries will sell off old books that don't get much circulation to make a little money toward buying newer books (sometimes they get a bunch donated too and sell those off as well).
  17. yeah---I'm a book collector too (1500-2000). It just depends on what the 'library stamp' is and says---whether or not its has and is a 'withdrawn' stamp or 'property of' stamp.

    I've bought used books before and returned them as they were still active.
  18. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
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    I figure if for some reason the book really is an overdue library book, the person selling it will be buying the library a new one through overdue fines anyway, so don't worry about it. If you don't return it, you've bought it anyway.
  19. Danger

    Danger 9,663
    Gold Member

    That's where I got my favourite 'Freddy the Pig' book (Freddy and the Ignormus). :biggrin:
    Speaking of which... Evo, did you happen to notice how much your illustration resembles a one-eyed pig?
    Last edited: May 8, 2008
  20. Wow. Thanks evo I appreciate the comparison and I think bleach will work.

    As for the Library stamp, it says McMillen Library and the address of the library in Indiana.

    I bought it off Amazon from a company called "alibris," who have sold over 20,000+ books through the site. So I doubt that they go around checking out books and selling them on the internet, although I guess will check with the library. I had bought a Martin Gardner book on mathematical puzzles just before this book from the same company, and it was not ex-library.

    This may be a big reason to want to remove the stamp in the first place. :rofl:

    The book was described as being in new condition, and they usually are, but while this one looks like it's never been used it is indeed ex-library. It's actually a calculus book. I decided to buy it after reading a recommendation in the "science book reviews" section of this site.

    I'm somewhat of a collector myself, although I don't have anywhere near a thousand books. Mostly I have collected some philosophical and math books - and I usually try and get books that are in a series. For instance, if I got Rousseau's Discourses from Cambridge Press, and I decided to buy Locke's Two Treatises of Government, I'd also get the Cambridge Press edition. Sometimes a certain philosopher will have a series of books from a publisher like Routledge, and if I get one I will usually try and get the others from the same company. Of course, I try and match editions as well.

    But again thanks for the help.
  21. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    OrbitalPower, after you use the bleach, be sure to "rinse" that part with water several times. I would place absorbent paper towels under the page and repeatedly dab enough water on the spot to soak through and rotate the paper towel each time. The bleach can turn the paper yellow and it also may weaken the paper, as will most other things suggested here.
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