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Noise removal from scanned documents


I'm just beginning with OpenCV and image processing. I need to write program that processing scanned documents (they are sometimes old) and I need to recognize some objects. I'd like to ask you for help where to search and what functions should I use for beginning processing. I think about removal every noise. My scanned documents are only in gray colors (written in black or similar on bright background).

1) What function should I use to remove noises from this kind of scanned documents? I've found fastNlMeansDenoising. Is it ok for this puropse?

2) Some documents can have ... (I don't know how it is in English language). I mean that we can see undesirable effect that there is 'shadow' of other side of the paper. What is the best method to remove this effect? "treeshold" is a good idea?