What makes gel pen ink permanent

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Have you accidentally written on the back of an important document with pens? Do you really want to remove the lines and save your paper? If you are dealing with a pencil, use the eraser, whereas with ballpoint pens and felt-tip pens you have to consider other options.

Ordinary and cheap ballpoint pen ink can usually be removed from the paper without any major problems. If, on the other hand, it is a copy that is certified according to DIN and is therefore document-proof, it will be very difficult to remove it again with old home remedies. There are several ways you need to try to remove ballpoint pen ink, depending on the result you want to achieve.

    • Eraser: These are mixtures specially tailored to the ink. The only disadvantage is that your paper is often attacked when you erase.
    • Tipp Ex: With this option, the ballpoint pen is not removed, but covered. You can choose from liquid and solid Tipp-Ex variants.
    • Citric acid: Pour the liquid directly onto the ballpoint pen ink. You should use cotton swabs as an aid for this.
    • Pen white: You can also try to paint over the lines with a white pencil. In addition to ordinary wooden pens, you can also use lacquer crayons for this purpose.
    • Razor blade: You can also use the blade to carefully scrape the pen out of the paper. However, this variant is not recommended for very thin paper, as your paper may tear immediately.
    • Dirt eraser: At first it looks like a white sponge, but it can quickly become a miracle cure. You should be extremely careful when using it and only work lightly on your paper.

Remove the felt-tip pen from the paper

Even worse than ballpoint pens is the color of felt-tip pens on paper. Many variants literally suck themselves into the paper, making it very difficult to remove. Edding, the permanent marker in the form of a felt-tip pen, is particularly difficult here and can usually no longer be removed. On the other hand, with ordinary felt-tip pens, you can try the home remedy starch or potato flour against stains on paper.

  1. Put some cornstarch in a cup and add some water. The consistency should by no means be liquid but rather sticky to firm.
  2. Now take a spoon and carefully put your mixture on the felt-tip pen stains.
  3. After about a minute you can remove the cornstarch and your paper should be free of color.

As an alternative to cornstarch, you can also try nail polish remover. Depending on the composition of your felt-tip pen, this can also be a way of removing the color.


There is not always a means that will 100% remove your stains on paper. Try the multitude of options, you may be able to save your paper this way.

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Veronika Helga Vetter is a freelance artisan and graphic designer from the Free State of Bavaria. The conservative wife and mother has been running several websites since 2011. On GWS2.de, “Vroni” not only provides handicraft instructions, but also forms and children's coloring games free of charge. In addition, the Catholic advocates that the Federal Republic of Germany remains a sovereign nation-state in which cultural education and family values ​​have a high priority. Her motto: The more broken the world outside, the better it has to be at home. (Reinhard Mey)