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How to Erase a Pencil Without an Eraser?

how to erase a pencil without an eraser

There are times when you have so many pencil marks on your paper that they cannot be removed easily using a regular eraser, at least without damaging the paper. So, how to erase a pencil without an eraser? The good news is that there are several methods you can use.

All of them use materials that you probably already have in your home, or can easily buy in any grocery store. Keep in mind that these methods may also damage the paper surface, especially if you are dealing with thin stock. So you have to be extra careful when you are using these techniques; otherwise, you will see hours of work disappear in an instant.

Step-by-Step Guide

Using Old Bread

erase a pencil with old bread

Graphite pencils have been around far longer than erasers, so what did people use to erase pencil marks back then? Artists in the olden days would use stale bread to erase pencil marks. The great thing is that what works back then still works today.

What to prepare:

  • Stale bread

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Remove the crust from the bread

You will only be using the soft parts of the bread, so you should remove the hard outer crust of the bread. After removing the crust, tear the remaining bread into chunks.

Step 2 – Rub the bread on the pencil marks

Take a chunk of bread and gently rub it on the pencil marks you wish to erase. Do not use too much pressure. Apply just enough to push the bread onto the surface. Use small and circular strokes to remove the graphite marks from the surface.

Step 3 – Replace the bread if needed

If the bread has picked up a lot of graphite, it will turn black and will not be able to pick up more. Do not use the same piece of bread once it gets too dark; otherwise, it will smudge the pencil instead of erasing it. Use a new chunk of bread when the one you are using gets a bit too dirty.

Using Hot Glue

erase a pencil with hot glue

If you do not have an eraser but have a hot glue gun and plenty of glue sticks then you are still okay.

What to prepare:

  • Glue gun and glue sticks

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Preheat your glue gun

Load your hot glue gun, plug it in, and then wait for it to heat up. Once the glue starts to drip out of the nozzle even without you pulling the trigger, it is still okay to use.

Step 2 – Coat the end of your pencil with hot glue

Hold your pencil and carefully apply a liberal amount of hot glue on the end that you do not use for writing. You can place as much hot glue on your pencil as you want, but I would advise against putting so much that the end gets a bit too heavy.

Step 3 – Use the hot glue like you would a regular eraser

Once the hot glue cools down, you can use it like an eraser. Carefully rub your pencil marks with the dried hot glue until it is erased. However, keep in mind that hot glue will not be quite as good as a regular eraser but it will do the job if you are in a pinch.

Using Nail Polish Remover

erase a pencil with nail polish remover

This method is great if you want to erase a lot of pencil marks rather cleanly. However, you should wait a bit before you can start drawing or writing again.

What to prepare:

  • Nail polish remover or acetone

Cotton swabs

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Apply acetone to the cotton swab

Dip the cotton swab into the nail polish remover. You just need enough nail polish remover on the cotton swab to get it damp but not dripping wet.

Step 2 – Dab the acetone on the pencil marks

Dab the cotton swab over the pencil marks gently. Use small circular motions to lift the graphite from the surface of the paper. If there are still visible marks, wait for the acetone to dry before trying again with a new cotton swab.

Step 3 – Allow the acetone to dry completely

After erasing the pencil marks, you need to wait for a couple of minutes before you can start drawing or writing on the paper again.

Using Toothpaste

erase a pencil with toothpaste

If you are in a hurry and you do not have time to go to the store and get a new eraser, you can try using a bit of white toothpaste.

What to prepare:

  • White toothpaste – Gel toothpaste will not work as well and also stain the paper
  • A clean, soft rag

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Apply a bit of toothpaste on the rag

Wrap your finger in the clean rag and then place a small dollop of white toothpaste on the tip of your finger. It is best to use a small amount of toothpaste as it might damage the paper if you used too much.

Step 2 – Rub the toothpaste into the pencil marks

Gently place the tip of your finger on the pencil markings and rub the toothpaste into it. Do not put too much force on the paper as it might smudge graphite deeper into the paper.

Step 3 – Use another rag to wipe off the toothpaste

Do not let the toothpaste dry on the paper. As soon as you finish rubbing the toothpaste to remove the pencil mark, get another clean rag to wipe away the remaining toothpaste on the surface of the paper. Make sure to get off all traces of the toothpaste as it might damage the paper.

erase a pencil with eraser


Although there are other methods on how to erase a pencil without an eraser, there is no doubt that using a regular eraser is the more practical, and most of the time, more efficient solution.

However, if you are caught without an eraser and you desperately need to erase colored pencil marks, the methods mentioned earlier will do an acceptable job. You just need to take care when using the aforementioned methods as you might damage the paper, which is infinitely worse than not being able to erase your pencil mistakes.

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