How to Remove White-Out From Carpet and Other Surfaces

White-out scraped from rug with spoon

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr, 30 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $10 to 20

Correction fluid comes in a range of opaque colors that can be used to cover ink, but it's most commonly white and known by the product name Wite-Out, or the misspelled common name variation, white-out. Though you want white-out to cover mistakes on paper, a white-out stain on a carpet or rug requires its own fix.

Removing white-out stains from the carpet takes a bit of patience and care, but it can be done, and with materials that you might already have on hand at home.

Here's our guide to getting wite-out stains out of carpet in 20 minutes or less.

 Stain Type  Chemical-based
 Detergent type  Regular
 Water Temperature  Warm

Before You Begin

Once you apply a remover to the dried white-out, it will begin to dissolve into a slurry similar to diluted white paint. This is why you should always work from the outside to the center of the stain; as it will keep the slurry contained as much as possible while you lift it from the surface.

Generally, you have to be more careful with fabric and other soft materials than with hard surfaces. Lubricants such as WD-40 work on fabric and carpet, but they're petroleum-based and can leave an oily stain on the material. Always spot-test first to be sure.

Warning

If the stain is a vintage carpet or silk, contact a professional cleaner.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Spoon
  • Vacuum
  • White cloths

Materials

  • 1 bottle rubbing alcohol or other solvent

Instructions

How to Remove White-Out From Carpet

When white-out accidentally ends up on your carpet, it may be a relief to know that it's not impossible to get out. Follow these steps.

  1. Lift Away Solid Residue

    Use a dull plastic edge to lift any solids up and away from the fabric or fibers. It's best to work from the outer edges of the stain toward the center, to prevent spreading the stain.

    Then, vacuum up all loosened dry material.

    White-out scraped from rug with spoon

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Blot Large Areas With Solvent

    Dampen a clean white cloth with rubbing alcohol or another solvent. Carefully blot the stain with the cloth to remove the white-out. Repeat with fresh alcohol and a clean area of the cloth until the stain is gone.

    Warning

    Do not over-wet the carpet or pour alcohol or any other solvent directly onto the stain because it can damage the carpet backing.

    White cloth applying rubbing alcohol on carpet with white-out

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Use Eye-dropper of Solvent for Small Areas

    Use an eyedropper or cotton swab to apply a few drops of rubbing alcohol or other solvent to the stain on the upholstery or carpet. This will help prevent a small stain from getting larger and the chance of over-saturating the carpet..

    Rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover applied to gray carpet with eyedropper

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  4. Blot to Rinse

    Remove the alcohol by blotting with a clean cloth dampened with plain water or club soda. Water or club soda won't damage the carpet or backing, but it's best not to saturate the carpet by pouring the liquid directly on. Patiently blot instead. Keep repeating the steps until no more stain is visible or it can't be removed any further.

    Blotting carpet with clean cloth and water

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  5. Vacuum to Fluff

    Allow to air-dry away from direct heat. Vacuum the carpet to fluff the fibers, and be sure the carpet is completely dry before you walk on it again.

    Vacuum passing over carpet to fluff fibers

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

How to Remove White-Out From Hard Surfaces

If white-out gets on hard surfaces, like a countertop or floor, you can remove it with this method and these materials.

  1. Scrape Off White-Out

    Scrape up the dried white-out with a plastic scraper or old credit card. Don't use metal tools, which can scratch or gouge the surface.

    White out scraped from wood surface with credit card

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  2. Treat With Solvent

    Apply a commercial adhesive remover (such as Motsenbocker's Lift Off) directly to the white-out and let it sit for about one minute or as directed by the manufacturer. Alternatively, you can use WD-40, rubbing alcohol, or nail polish remover (with acetone), as long as it won't damage or stain the surface.

    WD-40 sprayed on white-out to remove from wood surface

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  3. Wipe It Up

    Wipe up the white-out and remover with a clean rag, working from the outside of the stain toward the center. Repeat the same process as needed until the stain is gone.

    White-out wiped with clean rag from wood surface

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  4. Clean the Surface

    Clean the surface with water or a suitable detergent, wiping with a clean rag. WD-40 and some other products leave an oily residue that should be removed.

    Wood surface cleaned with rag and detergent from residue

    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Additional Tips for Handling a White-Out Stain

If you find traces of white-out remaining after treating the carpet with alcohol or another solvent there is another option you can try to remove the stain.

  • Blot with a solution of one teaspoon of liquid dish soap and two cups of warm water.
  • Let the solution work for five minutes.
  • Rinse by blotting with plain water or club soda.