How to get Tippex (Whiteout) out of clothes

Tipp-Ex, also known as whiteout, is a convenient tool for correcting mistakes on paper, but it can be a real headache when it ends up on your clothes. Whether you accidentally spilled Tipp-Ex while using it at your desk or your kids got a little too enthusiastic with the correction fluid, dealing with Tipp-Ex stains on fabric can seem daunting.

However, there are several effective methods you can try to remove Tipp-Ex from clothes. With the right approach, you can often get your garments looking good as new. In this article, we’ll cover the best techniques for getting Tipp-Ex out of different types of fabric, from delicate silk to sturdy denim. We’ll also share some tips to help prevent Tipp-Ex stains in the first place and recommend some top stain removal products that can help.

How to get Tipp-Ex out of clothes

Let’s dive in!

Why is Tipp-Ex So Difficult to Remove from Clothes?

Tipp-Ex is essentially a type of paint, made up of a white pigment suspended in a liquid binder. This formulation makes it highly effective at covering up mistakes on paper, but it also means Tipp-Ex can be incredibly stubborn when it comes to clothes.

The pigment in Tipp-Ex is designed to adhere strongly to the surface it’s applied to, to provide good coverage. This same quality makes it difficult to remove, as the pigment bonds tightly to the fabric fibres. The liquid binder also acts as a sort of glue, further embedding the Tipp-Ex into the cloth.

Additionally, many Tipp-Ex products contain solvents like alcohol, acetone, or benzene. These chemicals can interact with and damage certain fabric types, making the Tipp-Ex stain even harder to shift.

Factors That Affect Tipp-Ex Removal

When it comes to getting Tipp-Ex out of clothes, several factors can influence the difficulty of the task:

Fabric Type

Different fabrics respond differently to Tipp-Ex stains and removal techniques. Delicate, natural fibres like silk, wool, and linen tend to be more prone to damage from solvents, while tougher synthetic fabrics like polyester or nylon may be more resilient.

Age of the Stain

The longer a Tipp-Ex stain has had to set in, the harder it will be to remove. Fresh spills are generally easier to treat than old, set-in stains.

Amount of Tipp-Ex

A small, localized Tipp-Ex spill will be easier to deal with than a large, spread-out stain covering a significant area of the garment.

Types of Tipp-Ex Products

Some Tipp-Ex formulas contain harsher chemicals than others, which can impact their staining properties and the best removal methods. For example, solvent-based Tipp-Ex may be more stubborn than water-based varieties.

How to Remove Tipp-Ex from Clothes

There are a few different approaches you can take to get Tipp-Ex out of clothes. The best method will depend on the fabric type and the age/size of the stain. Here are some effective techniques to try:

1. Blot and Dab

For a fresh Tipp-Ex spill, the first step is to blot and dab the affected area with a clean, absorbent cloth or paper towel. Avoid rubbing, as this can push the stain deeper into the fabric.

Blotting helps draw the excess Tipp-Ex out of the fibres while dabbing gently with the cloth can lift some of the pigment. Keep blotting and dabbing until no more Tipp-Ex is being transferred to the cloth.

2. Use a Solvent

Once you’ve removed as much of the Tipp-Ex as possible through blotting, you can try using a solvent to break down the remaining stain. Solvents that can be effective include:

  • Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
  • Nail polish remover (acetone-based)
  • Mineral spirits
  • Dry cleaning fluid

Apply a small amount of the solvent to a clean cloth and dab it onto the Tipp-Ex stain. Let it sit for a minute or two, then blot it with another clean cloth. Repeat this process until the stain starts to lift.

Be very careful when using solvents, as they can damage delicate fabrics. Test on an inconspicuous area first and rinse thoroughly afterwards.

3. Try an Enzyme Cleaner

Enzyme cleaners are a gentler option that can be effective on Tipp-Ex stains, especially on natural fabrics. Look for a product specifically formulated for removing paint, ink, or adhesive stains, such as Biz Advanced Stain Fighter Spray.

Apply the enzyme cleaner to the affected area and let it sit for the recommended time (usually 30 minutes to an hour). Then wash the garment as usual. The enzymes will help break down the Tipp-Ex and lift the stain.

4. Use a Laundry Detergent Booster

For stubborn Tipp-Ex stains, you can try using a laundry detergent booster or a pre-treating product. Look for ones containing ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, oxalic acid, or sodium percarbonate, which can help dissolve the stain. The OxiClean Versatile Stain Remover is a popular option.

Apply the booster or pre-treater directly to the Tipp-Ex stain and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour before washing. You may need to repeat this process a few times for really set-in stains.

5. Try an Iron and Absorbent Cloth

For small, dried Tipp-Ex stains, you can try using an iron and an absorbent cloth. Place the garment stain-side down on a clean, white cloth. Then, place another clean cloth over the stain and iron on a medium heat setting.

The heat from the iron will help transfer the Tipp-Ex from the fabric onto the absorbent cloth. Keep moving the iron around and replacing the top cloth as needed until the stain is lifted.

6. Soak in Cold Water

For large or stubborn Tipp-Ex stains, try soaking the affected garment in cold water for several hours or even overnight. This can help loosen the stain and make it easier to remove.

After soaking, launder the item as usual, using an enzyme cleaner or detergent booster if needed. The prolonged cold-water soak can be very effective, especially for older stains.

Tips for Preventing Tipp-Ex Stains

Of course, the best way to deal with Tipp-Ex on clothes is to avoid it in the first place. Here are some tips to help prevent Tipp-Ex stains:

  • Use Tipp-Ex carefully and over a protected surface, like a tray or piece of paper
  • Keep Tipp-Ex products well away from your clothing when using them
  • Wear an apron or smock when doing tasks that involve Tipp-Ex
  • Store Tipp-Ex in a secure location out of reach of children
  • Act quickly if you do spill Tipp-Ex, blotting and treating the stain right away

With a bit of caution and the right removal techniques, you can successfully get Tipp-Ex out of your clothes and keep your garments looking their best. Just remember to test any cleaning methods on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure they don’t damage the fabric.

What to Do if the Stain Won’t Come Out

Despite your best efforts, there may be times when a Tipp-Ex stain just won’t budge, no matter what you try. In these cases, there are a few options you can consider:

1. Take it to a professional cleaner

If you’ve exhausted all your DIY stain removal attempts, a professional dry cleaner may be able to tackle the Tipp-Ex stain using specialized equipment and solvents. They have access to more heavy-duty cleaning agents that can sometimes lift stains that home methods can’t.

2. Dye or re-dye the garment

If the Tipp-Ex stain is just too stubborn to remove, you could consider dyeing or re-dyeing the entire garment. This can help camouflage the stain by blending it into the new colour of the fabric.

This option works best for solid-coloured items, as patterned or multi-coloured fabrics may not dye evenly. It’s also important to choose a dye that’s compatible with the fibre content of the garment, such as Rit All-Purpose Liquid Dye.

3. Use the item as a “rag”

If all else fails and the Tipp-Ex stain is just too ingrained to remove, you may need to relegate the garment to “rag” status. This means using it for messy household tasks, painting projects, or other activities where a stained item won’t matter.

Wrapping Up

Removing Tipp-Ex from clothes can be a real challenge, but with the right techniques and a little persistence, you can often get your garments looking as good as new. Start by blotting and dabbing the fresh stain, then try using solvents, enzyme cleaners, or laundry boosters to lift the stain.

For stubborn or set-in Tipp-Ex stains, you may need to resort to more intensive methods like soaking or using an iron. And always remember to test any cleaning products on a small, inconspicuous area first.

With a little care and attention, you can successfully get Tipp-Ex out of your clothes and avoid having to retire your favourite garments. Just be sure to take preventative measures, like working carefully and keeping Tipp-Ex products away from your clothing, to avoid stains in the first place.

Happy stain-removing!

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.