How to Remove Carbon Paper Marks From Wood

Have you ever been frustrated with those pesky carbon paper marks that refuse to come off your wood furniture? You’ve tried so many different methods, but nothing seems to work! Well, it’s time to give up the battle and try something new. Carbon paper marks on wood can be difficult to remove, but you should have no problem with the right technique. This blog post will teach you how to remove carbon paper marks from wood using a few simple ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store. 

How to Remove Carbon Paper Marks From Wood

10 Ways on How to Remove Carbon Paper Marks From Wood:

1. Use Toothpaste:

If you have a bunch of carbon paper marks on wood and are looking for an easy way to remove them, toothpaste may be the best thing you’ll ever try. This idea is similar to how they get white marks off of your teeth! Just wet a cloth with water or spit, put some ordinary Crest or whatever brand you have in your bathroom, and rub it on. Then, remove the excess toothpaste with another cloth, and watch as the carbon marks come off completely!

2. Rub with Charcoal:

Charcoal is a natural abrasive and can work well on wood stains, so it makes sense that it would be able to remove carbon marks too. Since charcoal is also good for getting odors out of clothes, try mixing some into a paste with water or toothpaste and rubbing it onto the stained wood. See if you can scrub away most of the stain before rinsing or wiping off any charcoal dust.

3. Rub with Sandpaper:

After you’ve tried toothpaste and charcoal on your black marks, try using plain old sandpaper to eliminate the rest that didn’t work as well as you wanted. Just wet a piece of sandpaper and rub it over the stained area. Then, wash the wood with soap and water to remove any trace of the stain. If that doesn’t work well enough for you, try rubbing steel wool as a last resort!

4. Rub with Ammonia:

Ammonia is another common household chemical that can easily remove carbon paper stains from wood if you use enough of it. Mix water and ammonia into a paste, and rub the mixture onto the wood where you have stains. Give it some time to bubble up and work its magic (it helps if you put on rubber gloves before doing this). Once the stain is gone, rinse with clean water or wipe off any excess liquid from your wood.

5. Apply WD-40:

appling some WD-40 to a soft cloth

WD-40 is an all-purpose lubricant that can be found in almost every home and garage. If you’re looking for a way to remove carbon paper stains from wood, this may work better than any of the other household methods we’ve covered. Just apply some WD-40 to a soft cloth, and rub it over the stained area. While doing this, wipe off any excess WD-40 so that it doesn’t seep into the wood or get on your clothing. Then, wash away any leftover WD-40 with soap and water.

6. Use Windex:

Windex is another household item you may already keep in your garage or bathroom, so it’s a good thing to try if you have black stains on wood. First, put Windex on one of your household rags, and rub the stain to see if you can remove most of it. If this leaves behind a shadow of the stain, try applying another layer with a clean rag. If this two-step process still doesn’t work, you can use steel wool to remove the stain in a last-ditch effort.

7. Scrape off the Stain:

If your marks are more of an outline than “real” stains, you may be able to remove them by scraping away at them with something sharp. If it’s some sort of ink, try a blunt knife or rubber spatula. If it’s charcoal, use a sharp knife that is wetted with water. This method may take a bit more work than you’d like to put into this problem, but if the stains aren’t too deep and dark, this remedy can be helpful.

8. Put the Wood in the Dishwasher:

Putting your stained wood into the dishwasher may seem odd, but it can work pretty well if you have stubborn marks that are set deep into the surface. If you spray some liquid soap onto your wooden board, put it on the top rack of an empty dishwasher, and turn on the cycle. The heat, soap, and water will loosen up the stain so that you can scrub it off with your kitchen sponge. You may have to try this a few times to remove all traces of the stain.

Five Things To Consider When Removing Carbon Paper Marks From Wood

1. Amount of damage incurred by the stain. If there is only minor damage, use fine-grade sandpaper and gently rub the discoloration out.

2. If the stain has not been removed after using fine-grade sandpaper, attempt to use an eraser on the stained area to remove it. An eraser will remove a black stain but will most likely leave behind a white mark.

3. If you have tried using an eraser on the stained area and it did not work, use baking soda and lemon juice to eliminate the stain. Baking soda is fine-grade sandpaper that is safe for wood surfaces.

4. If you have tried using the method mentioned in number three and it did not work, mix a small amount of ammonia with club soda (also known as sodium bicarbonate solution) to remove black stains. Club soda is used because it will not damage wood like regular ammonia.

5. If you tried using the ammonia solution on your discolored wood and it did not work, use lemon juice and salt to remove the stain. This is another method that requires club soda to remove the stain successfully.


To remove carbon paper marks from wood, we suggest using a mixture of one part white vinegar and two parts water. First, clean the problem area with this solution, then wait for it to dry before applying any other products. The acid in the vinegar will break down the ink left behind by carbon paper so you can wipe or vacuum up what’s left without damaging your furniture.

As you can see, there are several ways to remove carbon paper marks from wood. If your desk needs some TLC and the only thing wrong with it is that pesky black smudge, we hope this blog post on removing carbon paper marks from wood has helped point you in the right direction. Try these solutions on test surfaces before starting work on your antique writing desk or kitchen table.

Jennifer Branett
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