We’ve all been there – frantically searching for an eraser during a test or working on an important project, only to realize we don’t have one.

No need to panic!

Many common household items can substitute for an eraser in a pinch.

With a bit of creativity, you can also make your own DIY eraser hacks using ingredients from around the house.

You will find some good ready to use eraser substitutes and hacks in this guide.

Handy Household Eraser Substitutes

Don’t let an absent eraser derail your productivity! You likely have effective eraser substitutes already in your home.

Here are some common items that work in a pinch:


The humble slice of bread can absorb graphite and wipe words and images away cleanly. Simply press a small piece of bread onto the paper and lift. The bread crumbs act like an eraser. White bread works best.

bread crumbs act like an eraser
Bread as an Eraser

Pencil Eraser Crumbs

Gather up the worn remnants and crumbs from an old pencil eraser. Roll them into a small ball to erase pencil marks. The eraser remnants still have absorbent properties to lift graphite.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

This popular cleaning product works well as an eraser too. Its micro-scrubbing power takes pencil marks right off with some light scrubbing.


Fine grit sandpaper can buff out pencil marks on paper. Go gently and hold it perfectly flat to avoid ripping the paper.

Eraser Substitutes and Hacks, Liquid Paper as Erasing Tool
Liquid Paper

Whiteout or Liquid Paper

Cover up wayward pencil markings with a coat of whiteout or liquid paper. Once dry, the surface can be written on again.

Baby Wipes

The gentle cleaning power of unscented baby wipes can erase pencil without ripping paper. Use a fresh wipe and rub lightly.


Run a chapstick over pencil marks like an eraser. The waxy stick lifts graphite without damaging paper.

Nail Polish Remover

Nail Polish Remover

Dip a cotton ball in nail polish remover and gently dab it on pencil marks to dissolve the graphite. Use this method sparingly as acetone can damage paper.

Non-Shaving Cream

Squirt some non-shaving cream onto paper and gently rub with a cloth to remove pencil marks without shredding paper. Wipe the leftover cream away.

raw potato over pencil marks


As strange as it sounds, rubbing a sliced raw potato over pencil marks can lift graphite marks from paper. The starchy juices act as an eraser.

DIY Eraser Substitutes and Hacks

With a few simple ingredients, you can whip up your own homemade erasers that do the job on a budget.

Here are some of the easiest DIY options:

Bread Dough Erasers

Make an eraser out of bread dough! Simply mix together:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Shape it into an eraser-sized rectangle. Let it dry out overnight until firm. Rub the dried bread dough over pencil marks to erase. The light abrasives in the dough remove graphite.

Gum and Tissue Erasers

Chewing gum can double as an eraser in a pinch!

Simply press a small piece of well-chewed gum over pencil marks and lift. The oils in gum help grab graphite.

You can also place a tissue over pencil smudges, then rub gently with a piece of gum to transfer the marks to the tissue. The tissue lifts the graphite, absorbing it away from the paper.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser DIY

Mr. Clean Magic Erasers contain melamine foam, which gives them their stain-removing power. Recreate the cleaning power of Magic Erasers with a homemade version:


Fantastik or Formula 409
Image: dumb.negativland.com
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 tbsp household cleaner like Fantastik or Formula 409
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 sponges

In a bowl, mix baking soda, cleaner, and hot water until well blended. Soak the sponges in the mixture for 5 minutes. Remove, squeeze out excess liquid, and leave to dry completely. Use the sponge erasers on pencil marks. The melamine in sponges acts as an abrasive.

Chalkboard Eraser Staubs

If you have chalkboard paint, turn it into an oversized eraser! Let dry fully. Rub over pencil marks to remove them, like a giant chalkboard eraser. The porous paint grabs onto graphite.

You can also glue sheets of felt onto a backing to make a homemade chalkboard eraser. You can use this to wipe away mistakes on paper.

Top Erasing Tips

Erasing Pencil Marks: Technique Tips and Tricks

While homemade substitutes work in a pinch, they aren’t quite as effective as real erasers. Use these technique tips to erase as cleanly as possible:

  • Erase gently in small circles to remove marks without damaging paper. Don’t scrub aggressively.
  • Hold paper firmly in place as you erase to prevent tearing.
  • For stubborn marks, try erasing multiple times with a clean part of the eraser.
  • Alternatively, erase marks lightly several times instead of erasing hard once.
  • On exams, erase mistakes as soon as you make them. The longer graphite sits, the harder it is to remove.
  • Replace eraser stubs once they become smooth. Worn erasers won’t erase as effectively.
  • Prior to erasing, dull pencil marks by scribbling over them or tracing with your finger.
  • Don’t try to erase ink or permanent marker with an eraser. You’ll only smear it and damage the paper.

With the right substutite and careful technique, you can erase minor pencil mistakes even without a real eraser. But for important documents, tests, and art projects, it pays to come prepared with quality erasers in tow.


Are eraser substitutes as effective as real erasers?

Eraser substitutes are not quite as efficient at removing graphite marks compared to purpose-made erasers. However, they can still get the job done in most cases with a bit more rubbing. Test them first before applying to important documents.

What household items work best as eraser substitutes?

Bread and sandpaper make excellent eraser substitutes in a pinch. Gently rubbing bread crumbs or fine grit sandpaper lifts graphite from paper and hard surfaces. Chewing gum and tissue can also help remove pencil marks.

Can I make my own DIY eraser?

Yes! Some of the easiest homemade eraser recipes include bread dough erasers, gum and tissue, Magic Eraser DIY using baking soda, and chalkboard paint eraser stubs.

How do I erase effectively without smearing the paper?

Use a gentle, circular motion to lightly erase marks instead of scrubbing aggressively. Hold the paper firmly so it doesn’t tear. Also, try dulling marks before erasing by scribbling over them. Replace worn eraser stubs for best results.

What should I avoid when erasing pencil without an eraser?

Avoid using sandpaper or anything too abrasive on delicate paper to prevent tearing. Don’t try to erase ink, permanent marker, or other non-graphite marks with an eraser. This will just smear and stain the paper.

Is there a substitute for large erasers, like for chalkboards?

Yes! Use a piece of chalkboard painted wood as a large eraser. Felt sheets glued to a backing also work well. Gently wipe the homemade erasers over paper to remove pencil marks.

Can I erase ink or pen marks too?

Unfortunately, common eraser substitutes only work on graphite pencil marks. They won’t effectively remove pen, marker, or ink marks which penetrate deeper into the paper.


While no household item erases as cleanly as a high-quality rubber eraser, plenty of common substitutes exist in a pinch.

Bread, sandpaper, gum, and chalkboard paint all help remove pencil marks through gentle abrasion.

With the right technique, you can also DIY your own eraser from simple kitchen ingredients. Just remember to erase gently and replace worn eraser stubs for the best results.

You can visit quora.com to see check on some of the answers given by the readers.

If you have found a better erasing hacks, you can leave your comment by visiting the Contact Us page.

leeisha image bnw


Creative Artist

Leeisha is a talented artist with a passion for drawing, coloring, painting, and making paper crafts. Known for her charming and talkative personality, She always finds new and exciting ways to bring her imagination to life. Whether through sketching, coloring, or paper crafting, Leeisha has a gift for turning her ideas into beautiful works of art.

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