How to Remove Stains From Paper

If you happen to find stains and spots on documents in your home, do not be alarmed. It may be because the papers are old and have absorbed air and liquids over time. Whether the stains occurred from years of air exposure or liquid spills, you can try to remove them. There is no need to bring the papers to a professional unless they are valuable and need to be preserved.

Overturned coffee cup; coffee spilled over papers and file folder
credit: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

First Technique

Step 1

Lay the paper out flat, or as flat as possible, on a hard surface. In order to remove the stains, you need to have as few wrinkles and ridges in the paper as possible.

Step 2

Lightly dust palpable clay or chalk over the stain using the soft paintbrush. These two components will draw the moisture out of the paper to diminish the stain. Only apply the powdered substance to the stained areas, and use enough to cover the stain completely.

Step 3

Place the stained paper gently between two pieces of fresh, white paper. These sheets will act as a pocket for the stained document so it will not burn when you apply heat to help lift the stain.

Step 4

Lay the flat-iron over the top paper for about five to 10 seconds. Remove the flat-iron before the paper scorches.

Step 5

Remove the stained paper from the inside of the pocket, and the stain should be extremely lightened or completely removed.

Second Technique

Step 1

Lay the paper onto a flat, hard surface. Smooth out all edges and creases. This technique will only work if the paper is as flat and wrinkle-free as possible.

Step 2

Tape the paper down using regular tape to keep it in place.

Step 3

Fill the spray bottle with water, and lightly mist the stained area on the paper. Do not soak the stain. Making it just damp enough for the water to be removed by suction is your goal.

Step 4

Turn the vacuum on, and place the hose nozzle directly above the stain, without touching the paper. Adjust the vacuum strength if it has adjustable settings.

Step 5

Watch the moisture and stain lift off of the paper.