How Can I Erase Thermal Paper Print?

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The process of erasing thermal paper print is easy and straightforward if you know what to do. But then, not many people know how to remove imprints from a printed thermal paper without damaging the paper. As you read on, we will show you all the tips and tricks you need to know about safely erasing thermal print.

How can I erase thermal paper print? Powerful organic solvents, such as acetone, can help erase thermal paper prints. The common sources of acetone that people use to erase thermal prints are fingernail polish removers. They contain the appropriate concentration of acetone to help erase thermal prints and it’s easily accessible. To erase thermal paper print, all you need to do is carefully dab the fingernail polish remover over the printed thermal paper, followed by bleach. You must, however, be careful not to dampen the paper with either the polish remover or bleach, so that it won’t be ruined.

As you read on, you will learn about organic solvents that can help erase thermal paper prints and whether you can use them or not. We will proceed to show you the easiest way to remove your thermal paper prints and the simple items you need for the procedure. What’s more, we will share a few tips that will come in handy for removing imprints from your printed thermal papers.

How can I erase thermal paper print
Image by Sabine van Erp from Pixabay

What Can Erase Thermal Paper Prints?

Acetone and alcohol are among the well-known organic solvents that can help remove thermal paper prints. Detergents and many other organic solvents can also help remove thermal paper prints. Most organic solvents will erase most types of dyes and inks, including thermal prints. So, in principle, any organic solvent can remove thermal paper prints. However, not all organic solvents are readily available in the concentrations required to erase thermal paper prints.

The following are common organic solvents that come up when people talk about erasing thermal prints:


Acetone is a very powerful solvent, and it can remove inks and dyes from paper quickly and easily. It erased most types of dyes and inks, not minding what they are made of. More so, it is cheap and easily accessible. The good part is that it removes imprints without damaging the paper.

Acetone is one of the main ingredients in fingernail polish removers. That’s why most people use these polish removers to erase thermal prints. It is the most widely used method of erasing thermal paper prints. You can also get pure acetone easily from beauty supply and hardware stores, but most people would rather dash to a local store and get a nail polish remover for the procedure.


Alcohol is another well-known organic solvent you can use to dissolve inks and dyes from papers without damaging the paper. There are several types and grades of alcohol and they are all ink removers, but IPA (isopropyl alcohol) is the most widely used of them all. This is because it is easily accessible in drugstores. However, most of these alcohols are dissolved in water, which in large concentrations, can damage the paper substrate.


Household soaps and detergents are also very potent for removing dyes and inks from papers. Detergents usually attract ink dyes and lift them off the paper surface. The detergent would also dissolve the ink and you can then wash it away by rinsing it with water.

This method could be effective but it’s not advised for paper because it involves water. Water will damage the paper if you use too much or rub vigorously.

Enzyme Mixtures

Enzyme mixtures are very powerful and effective for dye and ink removal from paper surfaces. They remove ink particles and dye imprints completely without leaving a trace and without damaging the paper. But this method is mostly used by large-scale recycling facilities.

The advantage of this method is that you can re-use the papers after de-inking them. It is also an environmentally-friendly option, compared to dissolving the ink pigments with organic solvents. But then it is quite more expensive and is not readily available.

How to Erase Thermal Paper Print?

The most popular way to remove thermal paper print is to use fingernail polish remover. There are four easy steps to doing this. To start with, get a cotton ball (or a no or low-lint rag) and dip it in the fingernail polish remover. Then wipe your thermal paper with the slightly damp cotton ball. Make sure to swipe in only one direction. After this, take another piece of cotton ball and dip it in bleach. Wipe the thermal paper with this second piece of cotton ball in the same direction.

These easy four steps should erase the thermal paper print. But there are cases where some imprints would remain on a few spots. If this happens, you can repeat the same process, focusing only on the spot(s) where imprints remain.

To make the process easier for you, we will enumerate the items you need and share a few tips for the seamless removal of imprints from your thermal printed papers.

What Items Do I Need to Erase Thermal Paper Prints?

To erase thermal paper prints, you need the following three simple items:

  • Fingernail polish remover
  • Bleach
  • Cotton ball (or a no or low-ling rag)

All of these items are readily accessible at local stores. And they are very cheap too.

Tips for Erasing Thermal Paper Prints

Some tips to follow when trying to erase thermal paper prints include protecting the work surfaces from stains before you start the print removal process. Another tip is ensuring to get powerful bleach; strong enough to remove the print but strong enough to ruin the paper. You should also ensure to swipe in only one direction and apply the fingernail polish remover first before the bleach.

A few tips will come a long way in helping you achieve results without stress. As you read on, we will share some helpful tips to bear in mind during the process of removing imprints from your thermal printed paper. They are as follows:

  • Make sure to cover the tables and countertops with paper towels before you start. This will prevent the cleaners you’re using from staining the surfaces.
  • After protecting your work surfaces, lay the thermal paper down directly in the central area of the paper towels. This will prevent the cleaners from spilling over during the imprint removal process.
  • Make sure to get good-quality bleach for the removal process. You may not get satisfactory results if you use low-grade, excessively diluted bleach.
  • While dabbing the thermal paper with nail polish remover or bleach, be careful not to apply too much. If not, you may overly dampen the paper and ruin it. Too much polish remover can also stain the paper with a stubborn greasy overlay that’s hard to remove.
  • Do not pour the nail polish remover or bleach directly onto the paper. Use either a cotton ball or a low-lint rag. After dipping the cotton ball or rag in the solution, you can dab it over your printed thermal paper.
  • Apply great caution while dabbing the soaked cotton call or rag over your paper. Don’t push so hard or apply too much pressure so that you don’t end up ripping the paper.
  • Dab in only one direction and start with the fingernail polish remover first. If you start first with bleach dabbing, it might work. But there are higher chances of tearing or napping the paper.
  • When you dab with the fail polish remover, it is normal for the entire thermal paper to turn black. The blackness will fade off when you dab bleach over the thermal paper.

✅ Video – Receipt vs Nail Polish Remover

In this video, you will see the effect of nail remover polish on thermal papers. The person in this video did not follow all the tips for removing thermal prints. But the video will give you an idea of what to expect when the fingernail polish remover comes in contact with your thermal paper. When you see the effect, you will better understand why you need to apply bleach to the paper surface after the nail polish remover.

  • Don’t use the same piece of cotton ball to dab both the fingernail polish remover and bleach over the thermal paper. Ensure to use two separate pieces of cotton balls. You can use the same rag if you have only one, but make sure to use different parts of the rag.
  • After the entire process, wait for the thermal paper to dry completely before picking it up. Also, check to be sure that all the imprints are completely removed.

Related Questions

How Do I Revive A Faded Receipt?

To revive a faded receipt, you can apply low heat levels to the receipt and the faded prints will re-appear. A good source of low heat will be a handheld hairdryer. Hold the dryer and blow low-level dry heat onto the faded receipt at about the distance of an arm’s length. You can increase the heat level gradually if the faded print does not reappear well enough with low-level heat.

Another common way to revive a faded receipt is to make a digital copy of the faded receipt. Scan the faded receipt and upload it to your computer. Then manipulate the contrast and brightness settings of the image until the faded prints become clear. Note, however, that neither of these two methods will revive a thermal paper print that you have erased with an organic solvent.

How Long Does Thermal Paper Last Before It Fades?

The typical image life of thermal papers is seven years. As soon as you print an image on a viable thermal paper, the image should remain on it for about seven years before it fades. But for the thermally printed image to last that long, you must pay attention to the proper storage conditions and handle the thermal with utmost care and caution.

To store thermal printed papers, you should keep them in a dark, cool, and dry environment. The ideal storage temperature for thermal printer papers is 25°C (77°F) and below. And the ideal relative humidity is 45-65%. What’s more, avoid vigorous rubbing while handling the thermal printed paper and keep it away from water, sweat, alcohol, oil, and other non-compatible materials.

Do Paperang Prints Fade?

Paperang prints will fade eventually, just like every other thermal printed receipt but they might last a bit longer. Paperang works like every other thermal printer and their official paper is like every other thermal receipt. But the official Paperang papers are appositely improved for high-contrast imaging with fade-resistance and water-resistance qualities.


Thank you for reading to the end. We hope that you have learned a lot about how to erase thermal paper prints. The most common and easiest approach is to use a fingernail polish remover because it contains acetone. But if you run a large-scale recycling facility, you should use enzymes to erase thermal paper prints before recycling them.

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