How to Remove Correction Fluid Stains From Clothes, Carpet, Upholstery

correction fluid stains
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Correction fluid may seem as old-fashioned as a manual typewriter, but it was once an office staple. It won't work on computer screens but it still covers a multitude of goofs on white surfaces. Unfortunately, getting the stains out of clothes isn't easy.

Correction fluid comes in a wide range of opaque colors that can be used to cover ink. Correction fluids are made with color pigments (usually titanium dioxide-based to make them opaque), polymeric binders, and solvents that are mixed together. The solvents can easily evaporate and leave the fluid thick and gummy. That's why the fluid is sold in small containers and should be kept tightly sealed when not in use.

Correction Fluid Stains on Washable Clothes

If a drop of correction fluid lands on your clothes, do not rub. That will only drive the pigments deeper into the fabric fibers. Use the edge of a plastic knife or a credit card to lift away any solids and as much of the fluid as possible.

As soon as possible, wet a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol. Working from the outside edge of the correction fluid stain, dab the alcohol on the stained area of the fabric (front and back) and allow it to penetrate well for at least five minutes. The correction fluid should begin to break down and release small white flecks.

Hold the stained area under a running faucet of cold water and rinse the area well. Blot with a dry white towel and allow the fabric to air dry completely.

If any trace of the stain remains, before you do anything more, first read the fabric content label of your garment or accessory.

If your clothing has a fiber content of acetate, triacetate or modacrylic, do not try anything more to remove the stain at home. Take your garment or bedspread to a professional dry cleaner. No further home cleaning method to remove the correction fluid is safe for these fabrics. 

For other types of fabric, if any trace of the stain remains, place a white paper towel under the correction fluid stain and using a cotton swab, dab the stain with acetone-based nail polish remover. Keep dabbing until the stain is removed.

Treat with a stain remover and launder as usual.

Correction Fluid Stains on Dry Clean Only Clothes

If the garment is labeled as dry clean only, lift away any solids with a dull edge like a credit card (no rubbing) and as soon as possible head to the cleaner and point out and identify the stain to your professional cleaner.

You can also attempt to remove the stain with a dry cleaning solvent. Follow the product instructions and always work from the outside edge of the stain toward to center to keep it from spreading. 

If you are using a home dry cleaning kit, be sure to treat the stain with the provided stain remover before putting the garment in the dryer bag.

Remove Correction Fluid Stains from Carpet and Upholstery

For correction fluid stains on the carpet, use a dull plastic edge to lift any solids up and away from the fibers. Be as careful as possible to not spread the stain even larger. Use an eye dropper or cotton swab to apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol or fingernail polish remover to a small area of the stain. Have a clean, white cloth or paper towel ready to blot immediately. Keep repeating the steps until no more stain is visible or can be removed. 

If color remains, allow the spot to dry and then treat the area with a dry cleaning solvent. Keep the room well ventilated and sponge the stain with a bit of the solvent on a clean white cloth. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth as the stain is absorbed into the cloth to prevent additional staining.

Finally, when the stain is gone, sponge the area with clean water and blot dry. Allow to air dry away from direct heat and vacuum to lift carpet fibers.

Use the same cleaning techniques on most upholstery. Take extra care not to overwet the fabric. If the stain is small, use cotton swabs instead of a larger cloth to prevent it from getting bigger. Always test the acetone or dry cleaning solvent on a hidden spot to make sure that the fabric doesn't change color. If the upholstery is silk or vintage, call in a professional cleaner or if you need more stain removal tips.