Learn How to Clean Erasers Like a Pro Artist: Say Goodbye To Smudges

If you’re wondering how to clean a hard eraser, in my experience the process is actually quite simple.

One of the best ways to clean a soft eraser is to go over it or massage it with a kneaded eraser.

Kneaded erasers are made from a pliable material that can be shaped and molded to fit the contours of your drawing.

So all you need to do is basically rub the kneaded eraser all over the harder eraser and it will start to clean it.

While you’re there you may as well use the kneaded eraser to clean up any residual eraser bits on the paper.

Another effective method for cleaning a soft eraser is to use a piece of masking tape.

Simply press the masking tape onto the surface of the eraser and then peel it off.

The tape will lift away any dirt or graphite that has accumulated on the surface of the eraser.

With these easy tips, you can keep your erasers clean and ready to use whenever you need them.

Cleaning a soft or kneaded eraser is also simple, pinch off the really dirty bits and knead the eraser back into itself and spread the remaining graphite, charcoal into itself.

How do you clean kneaded erasers?

One thing you need to know is that by design, kneaded erasers cannot be cleaned to their original state.

The reason is that they absorb all the graphite, binders, charcoals etc that it has helped to erase. But you can do a few things to make what is left over a little cleaner.

Remove any heavily soiled erasers

Kneaded erasers aren’t meant to last forever. They eventually become too saturated with graphite or other materials and stop being effective.

So what I like to do before I stretch and fold is check exactly how dark or dirty a section is and before folding it back into itself I simply pinch that bit off and throw it away.

When a kneaded eraser is no longer able to pick up graphite or other media and is mostly dark grey or black, it’s time to replace it with a new one.

Stretch and fold

As the name says, gently pull and stretch the eraser and then fold it back onto itself. This process helps to mix the materials absorbed by the eraser around, exposing a cleaner surface for continued use.

When you do this you will find that the kneaded eraser will start to slowly get darker and darker each time but that is ok.

best eraser for charcoal
Kneadable eraser needs to be cleaned

Why Clean Your Erasers?

As artists who draw, sketches using graphite or charcoal we know that it is pretty important to keep your erasers clean otherwise we will end up having dirty streaks on our paper or canvas when we use them.

A clean eraser not only prevents smudging, but it also extends the life of your eraser. A dirty eraser can leave marks on your paper and make your drawings look messy.

It can also make erasing harder, as the dirt and leftover debris on the eraser can sometimes get stuck to the paper.

Cleaning your erasers also helps to extend their life. A clean eraser will work more efficiently and effectively than a dirty one.

Over time, a dirty eraser will also become hardened and less effective at erasing deeply ingrained graphite and charcoal as it will lose its stickiness.

By learn how to clean erasers regularly, you can help keep them soft and pliable, which will make them last that little bit longer.

How to Clean Erasers

So now we know how important it is to keep your tools clean and in good condition. Erasers are no exception.

Here are some tips on how to clean erasers that you own:

Dry Cleaning

The first step in cleaning your eraser is to brush off any debris. You can use a soft-bristled brush or even your fingers to gently remove any loose particles.

Be careful not to rub too hard, as this can damage the eraser.

Wet Cleaning

I would only use this method on hard erasers and not kneaded erasers.

If dry cleaning isn’t enough, you can try wet cleaning your eraser. Soak the eraser in warm water for a few minutes, then gently rub it with your fingers or a soft cloth.

Rinse the eraser thoroughly and let it air dry completely before using it again.

If your eraser is particularly dirty, you can add a small amount of mild soap to the water. Be sure to rinse the eraser thoroughly to remove any soap residue.

It’s important to note that not all erasers are created equal. Some erasers are soft and pliable, while others are hard and crumbly.

Make sure you know what type of eraser you have before attempting to clean it.

By following these simple steps, you can keep your erasers in good condition and ensure they last as long as possible.

Tips and Tricks

Cleaning erasers is an essential part of maintaining their effectiveness. Here are some tips and tricks to keep your soft erasers clean:

Firstly, it is very important to avoid using harsh chemicals when cleaning your erasers. These can damage the eraser and make it less effective. Instead, use gentle soap and water to clean the eraser.

Secondly, clean erasers regularly to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime. This will help maintain the eraser’s softness and effectiveness.

Thirdly, store erasers properly to prevent them from getting dirty or damaged. Keep them in a clean, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.

I like to wrap mine up in plastic cling wrap like Saran wrap or in a little plastic zip loc bag.

Kneadable eraser wrapped in plastic
Kneadable eraser wrapped in plastic

When cleaning your eraser, use a soft-bristled brush or a clean cloth to gently remove any dirt or debris. Avoid rubbing the eraser too hard as this can damage the surface.

If your eraser has become discolored or stained, you can try using a mild abrasive such as baking soda or sandpaper to gently remove the stains.

Be sure to use a light hand to avoid damaging the eraser.

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