Removing smoke stains from paper

I did a bunch of autotracing of rubber stamped images today (stamped on heavy card stock), and some of them have a bit of smoke stains on the edges.

Thought I’d show my method for getting most of the stains off: bleach on a pointy cotton swab (I got these from the local Sally’s Beauty supply, they are for nails).

Although it doesn’t always get all traces of smoke stain off, usually the improvement is significant.

You wouldn’t want to do this on paper used for long term archival purposes, I imagine bleach is pretty hard on the paper fibers. Works fine for card making though.


If I run into this issue I’ll probably just distress the edges with some ink and a blending tool…


Also (my experience from photo work) the bleach can sometimes activate interesting chemical reactions a few weeks or months down the line. But for the short term it’s great.

I wonder if some kind of cleaning putty would take smoke off paper.

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Have you tried an eraser?? The squishy ones you get in art stores…


Dry chem sponges are made for removing smoke and soot from paper. They also absorb smells. I use them to clean old book pages all the time - they even remove the smell of cigarettes from paper.

They’re totally safe to use on archival or delicate paper too. I mean, if you’re gentle. I’ve torn paper by being violent and clumsy, but safe to say that’s user error.

I don’t know why they’re called chem sponges. I’m fairly certain they’re just rubber…


I see three candidates on Amazon for this type of thing.
This, this, and this.
Any advice on which one would be best?

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Well, I’ve definitely used the first brand and I’ve think I’ve used the second. Those Amazon prices seen really expensive, though. You may be able to buy them cheaper at home depot or eBay or something.

They’re all pretty much the same thing - sort of fluffy rubber - so I would just get the cheapest or fastest shipping… Or the pinkest. Ive never had a pink one before. Although that might make it harder to see the dirt. And there’s something satisfying about seeing the dirt.


Thank you for the tip! Will be very useful! Are you using a Seklema mat when you do these? Or magnets?


Since magnets hold the paper just fine and I’m only cutting the periphery, that’s what I’m using. I save the Seklema mat for when magnets won’t do the job.


Here’s some super pink stuff.

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(I am loath to start new topics, when there are so many excellent ones already)

This thread popped up on top when I looked for stain removal, so figured this would be the appropriate spot for it. This may or may not be useful for GF issues (but who can tell, I just came across mustard, the yellow poopy stuff in threads, on calipers :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:)
So -
An extensive collection of stain removal solutions: