todays experiment – correcting the correcting fluids

I got an email this morning asking me if I had a chapter in my book on book repair on removing correcting fluid. Which surprisingly I do not. In 28 years of cleaning up after other people’s sins I had not had this problem. So I got out my mad scientists smelly chemical set and got to ‘sperimentin’.

I stopped at Staples and picked up all the correcting fluids they had which wasn’t many but I figured they were the most annoying formulations: White Out® Quick Dry, White Out® Extra Coverage, White Out® Water Based, and Liquid Paper®. In case you were wondering no – they don’t make liquid paper thinner anymore, I checked.


The solvents I had on hand – were Naptha, Denatured Alcohol, Heptane, Turpentine, Butanone, Mineral Spirits, WD-40®, Goof-Off®, and a generic paint stripper.

The best results came from odorless Mineral Spirits (white spirits) and Naptha and Turpentine. They all successfully liquefied the correction fluid which would then have to be removed quickly. Heptane even made Liquid Paper congeal and gave the cleanest result. White Out Water Based® could NOT be re-liquefied with anything short of Paint Stripper.

All of these solvents evaporate as fast as you use them, so you need to work quickly in small areas, removing the correcting fluid with a clean paper towel or cotton ball as fast as you dissolve it.

Mineral Spirits, Naptha and Turpentine are all found in the Paint Section of your hardware store. Mineral Spirits and Naptha and Heptane all work well to remove stickers cleanly and quickly. Heptane can most easily be found at art supply stores Bestine® Rubber Cement thinner and solvent.

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