How to Remove Ink from a Dollar Bill

Somehow, your dollar bill is soiled with ink, and now you have to remove ink from a dollar bill. Don’t worry; there are several working methods you can use to get it off the note. Generally, a degreaser is the simplest way to remove ink stains from money. However, this cleaning liquid is mainly used to dissolve grease and oil from machines but also has chemicals to dissolve stains.

While it’s okay to buy things with stained money, collectors might struggle to sell them to foreigners who can’t use them due to the ink stains.


Some folks have used toothpicks to remove ink stains from their money. They scrape the ink away, but it’s risky and might damage the money. Some also try putting the money in a cloth and washing it in a machine to remove the stain. However, this method is even riskier and could tear the money apart.

How to Remove Ink from a Dollar Bill


How to Remove Ink from a Dollar Bill Using Household Items

1. Use WD-40

WD-40 can remove ink from money. First, apply WD-40 to the inked area and let it sit for a short while. Then, blot the area with a paper towel. If the ink starts to come off, put a paper towel under the bill and add more WD-40, blotting between a towel on the top and bottom. Once the ink is removed, add a bit of detergent or soap to the WD-40, rub, and wash. This method is described as being easier done than said.

2. Use Alcohol

Plain old regular alcohol can also be used to remove ink, especially from Magic Marker or Sharpie-type stains. Wet the inked spot liberally with alcohol, then scrub, rub, and blot the area. The type of fabric and color combination may affect the effectiveness of this method, but it’s worth a try.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide or Harsher Means

Regular low-percentage hydrogen peroxide may work on some ink and fabric combinations. If that doesn’t work, you can try harsher means like cigarette lighter fuel, acetone, or liquid Coleman lantern/stove fuel (white gasoline). Always follow up with soap and water as soon as possible to reduce any risk of spontaneous combustion.

4. Using Acetone (Nail Polish Remover)

Most nail polish removers contain acetone and can remove ink from a dollar bill, especially blue ink. Just put a little on a cotton swab and rub the ink away. It works best on regular ballpoint pen ink.


5. Brake Fluid Method

You can also use brake fluid to remove ink from a dollar bill. Use a dropper to put it on the ink, and then rub it with a clean cotton bud. It’s a quick way to get rid of pen ink.

6. Rubbing Alcohol Technique

Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, is another way to erase ink. You can use a cotton swab for small stains or soak the bill in a tray for bigger ones.

Any brand works, but avoid ones with scents or dyes. And remember to cover the parts you don’t want to erase.

7. Purple Power Degreaser Method

A more detailed method involves using a specific product called Purple Power Degreaser.

  • Idea: Use Purple Power Degreaser and a microwave to remove the ink.
  • How to Do It: Microwave a bowl full of degreaser and the dollar bill for 5 minutes. Rinse the first layer of ink off under warm water. Repeat the process with a fresh bowl of Purple Power and microwave for 5 more minutes. Then, gently rub the rest of the ink off with a soft bristle toothbrush dipped in the degreaser. Rinse with warm water and lay flat to air dry and remove ink from a dollar bill.

8. Experiment with Simple Green

Simple Green is a cleaning product that some people use to remove time stamps from paperwork. It might be an option for removing ink from a bill, but proceed with caution. As with other methods, practicing on a less valuable piece of paper first is recommended.

Tips and Warnings

  • Black ink is harder to erase than blue ink.
  • Always be gentle to avoid damaging the paper.

How to Remove Ink from a Dollar Bill Using Friction

1. Use a Special Ink Eraser

If you’ve got blue ink marked as ‘erasable’ on your dollar bill, you can simply use an ink eraser to get rid of it. It’s like a pencil but with ink on one end and an eraser on the other. If you’re not sure if the ink is erasable, just try using the eraser. But be careful with vinyl erasers, they’re rough and might damage the paper.

2. Sand the Ink Off

You can use very fine sandpaper (000) to rub off the ink. If you need to be more precise, glue a small piece of sandpaper to a pencil’s eraser end. Rub it gently on the ink and blow softly to clear away any bits. Don’t press too hard, or you might damage the dollar bill.

3. Use a Simple Blade

If you need to remove just a few letters, a simple blade can do the trick. Hold it upright and rub it gently on the ink. Don’t press too hard, or you might tear the dollar bill. This method is best for printed ink.

4. Use a Fine-Grit Grinder

A grinder, like a mechanical sandpaper, can help you remove ink from a dollar bill more evenly. A mini grinder with a slightly rounded head is best. This method is good for inky edges on books, but be careful, as it might be too rough for the dollar bill.

What Not to Use

Gum erasers and rubber erasers are great for pencil marks but not for pen. They won’t help you with the ink on your dollar bill.

How to Remove Ink from a Dollar Bill Using Natural Remedy

There are a few types of degreasers, but the most common ones are water-based and oil-based. The water-based kind is handy for removing ink or stains from paper money, but be careful because both types can hurt your skin and eyes if you use a lot and don’t clean up properly. Make sure to be very careful when using them.

People often call a water-based degreaser a natural one. It has things like vinegar, citrus oil, baking soda, and lemon juice in it. Unlike oil-based degreasers, the natural one doesn’t have bad chemicals. Using the water-based degreaser to remove ink stains won’t harm your money. It’s safe and handy to use.

1. Degrease with Baking Soda and Lemon

For this, get half a cup of baking soda and a cup of lemon juice. Get a spray bottle and put the baking soda and lemon mix inside. Spray it on the stained money, wait a bit, and then use a dry cloth to wipe away the stain. Be careful, though! Lemon juice can dissolve paper, so be gentle, especially with thin paper.

2. Use Castile Soap and Vinegar

To do this, you’ll need half a cup of castile soap, a cup of vinegar, and a spray bottle. Mix the castile soap and vinegar, then put the mix into the spray bottle. Spray this mixture on the stained money and gently wipe the ink away using a paper towel or dry cloth. The stain should come off easily.

3. Try Using Natural Soap and Vinegar

If you don’t have Castile soap, any natural soap will work. If your soap is a bar, grate it and dissolve in warm water. Once it’s liquid, mix half a cup with a cup of vinegar. Put this in a spray bottle and spray it on your money. Use a dry cloth to wipe away any stains on the money.

4. Use Citrus Oil and Vinegar

For this mix, get a cup of vinegar and a tablespoon of citrus oil. Put the vinegar in a spray bottle, add the citrus oil, shake it up, and then spray it on the stained money. Wipe away the ink stain afterward.

But before you leave this page, here is something you should know:

Under Section 333 of the U.S. Criminal Code:

Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both. – 18 U.S.C. ยง 333.

Consult a Professional

If you have a valuable dollar bill with ink stains, consult a professional conservator. They have the expertise to handle delicate materials without causing further damage. You can call your State Archives or local historical society to get in touch with a professional book and paper conservator. They can provide insight into what you can do at home or offer professional services for a fee.

Read also: How to use SSN to get money

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