Simple Steps to Dispose of Your Notary Stamp

Have you retired? Chosen another line of work? Decided not to renew your commission? Whatever the reasons are, you are now in the possession of a notary stamp that is no longer necessary. To protect yourself from liability and to ensure your notary stamp doesn't fall into the wrong hands, you will need to render it useless.

The simplest way to dispose of a rubber or self-inking notary stamp is to deface the engraved rubber that has your notary information. This part is usually located at the base of the notary stamp. Using a box cutter, pocket knife, or another sharp blade instrument scrape enough of the lettering from the engraved rubber so that the notary information is no longer discernable. Use a pair of vinyl or heavy work gloves to protect your hands from ink and injury.

Other options would be to peel the rubber portion from the base of the notary stamp and use scissors to cut it into tiny pieces, or, after removing the rubber, rinse it in under water, place it in an envelope, and run it through a cross cut shredder.

Notary stamps typically have an index card that contains an impression of the notary's seal. It is imperative that you remove and destroy this as well. If left intact, it could be taken, copied, and made into a new notary stamp with an intent to defraud. If you are unable to loosen the index card from the clear plastic casing, then it's hammer time! Use any blunt instrument you have access to in order to crack the casing and remove the index card.

Once the engraved rubber part of the stamp is completely destroyed, and the index card is removed from the body of the stamping mechanism, the housing and remnants can be safely disposed of.

Notary metal embossing seals require a bit more ingenuity and finesse. The notary seal embosser typically consists of two parts. The embossing plates bearing the notary information is shaped like a V and is squeezed together in order to slip inside of the hand-gripping device when the embossing seal is assembled or disassembled. The only parts that need to be destroyed are the metal embossing plates bearing the notary's seal.

If you have access to a welder or metal worker, they would have the proper equipment to disfigure the plates in order to eradicate the notary information. Another possibility would be the use of glue, such as an industrial strength or epoxy, to permanently glue the plates together. If you are unsure of what type of glue would be appropriate, you should consult your local craft or hardware store.

If you aren't a do-it-yourself person or would prefer to have your notary stamp or seal disposed of professionally, there is one more option. As a courtesy, the American Association of Notaries offers a service to dispose of all types of notary stamps and seals in a secure and thorough manner. Please email to receive information on how to tender a seal to our office for destruction.

Always check your state notary law regarding disposal of notary stamps or seals. In North Carolina, for example, a notary whose commission ends without renewal is required to surrender his or her seal to the office of the Secretary of State.

-- Marcy Tiberio is a Contributing Writer with the American Association of Notaries

Legal Disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information. However, it is important to note that the information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss, or consequential loss, out of or in connection with the use of the information contained on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

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