How to Remove Highlighter Marks from Paper

Highlighter pens are an effective way to mark up important text for easy reference. However, when you need to erase the ink due to a mistake or other reasons, it can be difficult and may cause more damage than good.

But luckily, there are a few different methods that will not compromise the quality of your document or leave behind any residue.

Among them, using lemon juice to remove highlighter from textbooks is the most effective and popular method. You can also remove ink stain without lemon juice using some other ingredients like – nail polish remover, baking soda, and rubbing alcohol.

So, keep on reading, as in the following, you’ll get detailed steps and some tips on how to remove highlighter marks from paper without damaging the surface of your document!

Important ✓

How carefully you use highlight markers, you can make mistakes. And want to erase that area for a fresh start. 

But while erasing highlighter ink from any document, you may not love that your paper is damaging. So, before starting the erasing process, you must know that from which type of paper you are trying to erase. And how the method will affect the paper.

In our day-to-day life, we mainly use two types of paper – glossy and matte. From these two, you’ll be able to remove highlighter stains easily from glossy paper, generally used on high-quality books or magazines.

But in terms of matte paper, you must need to be careful. You’ll find some cheap matte paper that starts to tear up or erase the original text ink. Whatever method you choose, it’s always recommended to test it on a small area first.

So, you can try out the simple tips given below to get off highlighter stain and make your book looks new. Don’t make a hurry! Remember that not all types of highlighter marks can be removed from paper.

Things You’ll Need

  • Lemon Juice
  • Cotton Swab
  • Bottle Cap/Small Bowl
  • Paper Towel/Soft Cloth
  • Nail Polish Remover
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Soft Bristled Toothbrush
  • Baking Soda
  • Warm Water
  • Kitchen Knife

Remove Highlighter Stain from Paper With ‘Lemon’

Remove Highlighter Marks from Paper
How to Remove Highlighter Marks from Paper | Step by Step

Among all the ingredients that are used to produce highlighter pens, Pyranine is the most important one. Because this ingredient decides the color of the highlighter. But Pyranine is PH sensitive.

On the other hand, lemon is a natural fruit with acidic juice, making it an excellent home remedy for removing stains. It acts as natural bleach when used on stains.

So, when you use acidic lemon juice on the PH-sensitive ingredient, it’ll start to become fade and eventually colorless. That’s why you can also use this household item to get highlighter out of clothes.

You can use lemon to remove highlighter ink from paper in the following steps:

First Step

The first step is to get a lemon and cut it half or quarter using a kitchen knife. Don’t make the mistake of directly putting the lemon juice on the highlighted text just by squeezing it.

The reason is that lemon holds a lot of juice, and when you put it directly on the ink, the paper will get wrinkled. And there is also a chance of spreading the ink everywhere.

So, first, squeeze the lemon on a small bowl or bottle cap, whatever you find near your hands to collect the juice.

Second Step

Now take a cotton swab and pour one side of it in the juice. When it absorbs enough liquid, you have to rub it over the highlighted text to erase the ink.

Before that, you have to test it in other areas to check whether it does any damage to the paper or not. Because you must need to keep the paper and typed ink as before and just need to erase highlighter ink.

So, test the cotton swab on outside of the left margin close to the binding. Because in that area people usually don’t look as they notice mainly on the right side margin of a book.

However, if you see that it’s working without damaging the paper, you have to start the main process.

Third Step

In this step, place a hard paper beneath the area you want to use lemon juice. It’ll keep safe the other pages from wetting out.

Now, gently start rubbing over the original highlighted area. While rubbing, you’ll see that the lemon has started to work, and highlighted ink is fading away.

After rubbing twice or thrice times, you’ll notice that all the highlighted ink has become vanished. It works magically like a bleach-based ink eraser.

Remember not to rub more than thrice as it can make the paper wrinkled more or even tear. Even while rubbing for the first time, the cheap paper begins to wrinkle.

Final Step

After erasing all the ink, use a paper towel to soak extra residue of lemon juice. But it’s not the end. If you notice that you’ve got a wrinkle in your paper, then you have to resolve it.

For this, put printer paper over the wrinkle area. Then carefully iron on it few times with a low setting. And Yes! You’ve got your book as before. But this step is not necessary if there are no wrinkles on pages.

How To Get Highlighter from Paper ‘Without Lemon’

Though lemon is a very popular method for erasing highlighter stains, you can also use other ingredients given below to remove it.

Nail Polish Remover

It’s another one of the effective tools that will help you to remove ink stains. In most nail polish, you’ll find Acetone that is the main hero. It also works effectively to remove marker stains from cloth.

For using it on ink stain, you just need to follow the lemon juice method. First, you have to test on a small portion of the paper to check if it’s suitable for the paper or not. However, it’s not recommended for a cheap sheet of paper.

Then pour some remover on a cotton swab or cotton ball and gently rub over the stain. After giving some rubs, you’ll see the light highlighter color. And eventually, the fainted color will also vanish. In this way, you can also remove regular ballpoint pen ink.

Baking Soda Paste

Baking soda is another household product that somewhat acts like bleach. It’s also helpful in vanishing crayon marks from walls. But for removing ink stain from paper, you have to make baking soda paste.

Take a small bowl and put some baking soda on it. Then pour some warm water to make a thin paste. You can also use regular water but be careful not to use hot water in the paste.

Now use a clean cloth to apply the paste on the highlighter ink and gently dab over it. For getting an effective result, you can also use soft bristles brush (with no frays) to rub the stain.

After rubbing for some time, you’ll notice that the stain is fading away. The main science behind this ink removal method is, heat is produced when you rub baking soda over the stain. And slowly, the stain is erased completely with this special eraser.

After completing the process, water will automatically evaporate, and baking soda will also fall off. If you want, you can use a paper towel to clean the area.

You must remember that this process is only recommended for magazine-quality glossy coated papers. Because rubbing with a brush will easily damage lower-quality documents.

A word of Caution ✖

The most important fact is that you cannot erase all types of highlighter marks. These methods work well for yellow, neon yellow, and similar shades but are not guaranteed for alternate colors. For example – if you try to remove blue color ink with lemon juice, it’ll leave a faint stain.

Again, all the methods will not work well on each type of paper. These are best for glossy or semi-glossy paper and high-quality matte paper.

You shouldn’t use any of these ingredients more than 2-3 times over the stain as it can make the page wrinkled. And for resolving wrinkles, if you use an iron machine, you must keep it in a low setting. Otherwise, it may burn the pages.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: Are There Any Erasable Highlighters?

Yes, top-rated brands are manufacturing high-quality highlighter pens for books that are erasable. Brands like Pilot FriXion, M&G, Paper Mate, ParKoo, Vanstek, and others like them are the trusted name in the erasable highlighters world.

These pens are formulated with special ink that you can remove whenever you want. You’ll find an eraser just at the opposite side of the highlighter tip, which is made with the anti-highlighter solution. You can easily glide them on the highlighted ink from where you want to erase the ink. And Voila! The ink will vanish in seconds.

But I personally don’t recommend these pens to use on official legal documents as it may affect some papers and inks.

Q: How To Remove Highlighter from a Bible?

You can use lemon juice to remove the highlighter from Bible easily. But remember that Bible pages are generally made with premium quality “Scritta Paper,” a thin uncoated paper.

So, while using lemon juice over it, you must need to be careful and gentle enough. Don’t make any rush and follow the process mentioned above properly. You can also use erasable highlighters for highlighting Bible pages.

Q: How Does ‘Lemon’ Erase Highlighter?

It’s not magic but science. Most of the highlighter brands use Pyranine in the manufacturing process that determines the color. And Pyranine is a PH-sensitive ingredient.

So, when you use lemon juice over the highlighter stain, this Pyranine starts to fade due to lemon’s acidic nature. After rubbing, it becomes colorless, and the highlighted color vanishes eventually.

Q: How Do You Remove Marker from Paper?

Removing permanent markers from any surface is difficult but not impossible. Since paper is a porous surface, it can be a bit tricky. But you can easily use typical ingredients like hairspray, nail polish remover, and toothpaste to remove Sharpie stain from paper.

However, the success ratio will entirely depend on the thickness of the paper and the method you will choose. You will get better results on thick and hard papers like index cards, glossy papers, card stocks, coated papers, etc.

But there is a chance of tearing up cheap papers if you use these methods on them.

So, be careful! Apply the nail polish remover on the stain following the way mentioned above and the toothpaste-like baking soda method. But for using hairspray, you have to put a clean cloth beneath the paper (it helps absorb extra ink). And then spray over the stain. Let it sit for a while and remove the stain by dabbing a paper towel on it.

Final Thoughts

Using highlighter pens is great for remembering important text, especially for students. But sometimes, you might need to remove the highlighter stains if there is an error or you want to use it somewhere else.

In that case, the methods mentioned above are definitely worth trying. Using them, it’s possible to erase the ink from wherever you want.

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Maria Tanish

Hello World! Tanish here, a student of Fine Arts. Drawing was my passion from an early age but I also love to do some DIY projects to spend my leisure. Even I work as a writer, to share my knowledge about the ins and outs of drawing and the art industry itself. As an artist, I always wanna share my experiences with you all.

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