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How to Remove Ink on a Photo

Remove ink from your favorite photo.

Things You'll Need:

  • Towel
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton ball(s)

There's nothing worse than spilling something on your favorite photo--especially ink. Many believe photos are ruined after ink is spilled on them, but in many cases all or most of the ink stain will come off. You have several options to help you remove ink on a photo.

Place the photo on a flat workspace over a cloth or towel.

Dab a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the cotton ball.

Rub the ink spot in a circular motion. Turn the cotton ball over frequently while rubbing.

Repeat the process as many times as needed to remove all of the ink.


Many photo shops sell photo and film cleaner, such as Pro-Line film cleaner. If the rubbing alcohol does not remove the ink stain, consider purchasing some. See the resources or visit your local photo shop.

Some photo lab technicians have successfully used a small amount of hair spray to remove ink from a photo. If neither the rubbing alcohol or photo cleaner are successful, this method may be worth trying.

For a small ink spot, you can also use cotton swabs.


  • Do not attempt to remove an ink spot from a photo printed from a home computer. Most of these prints are not waterproof; the alcohol will smear the photo.
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