Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wite-Out Woes

If you're looking for ways to remove Wite-Out, you've come to the right place!

Keep reading or scroll down . . .

Listed in Category: Everything Else > Preschool-Kindergarten > Other

Toddler Girl Blonde Hair Blue Eyes L@@K!
From a smoke free home! Cute and very entertaining!

Current Bid: US $ .99

Your maximum bid:

(Enter US $.99 or more)

Price: US $100.00

You are bidding on an ADORABLE 2-year-old girl. She comes with her own wardrobe, including the outfit you see here (minus most of the Wite-Out stains). Pickup only, please.

Why am I selling this precious girl on Ebay, do you ask? Well, yesterday I left the room for exactly 40 seconds (I later retraced my steps and timed it) and returned to find this:

No, this is not a Jackson Pollock original.

It is Wite-Out.

Not the water-based kind.

All over the hardwood floor in the homeschool room.

When I left the room, Drama Queen was working in the homeschool room. Screech was happily playing Starfall with Pete on the computer. In that mere sliver of time, Drama Queen got up to see what they were doing (anything to get out of math for a moment) while Screech got up, grabbed the Wite-Out, and slung it all over the floor.

I didn't yell. I didn't scream. I didn't say any bad words. (Well, they may have crossed my mind. But I didn't let them out.) I did what any good Mom would do.

I got my camera.

For this week's Works for Me Wednesday, here are my step-by-step instructions for removing Wite-Out (and probably Liquid Paper or any other correction fluid) from skin, clothing, and finished hardwood flooring:

Removing Wite-Out from Skin:

This one was the easiest (thank goodness!). Just rub a little baby oil or even plain mineral oil over the skin. It rubs right off!

(Be sure to keep the oil out of reach! I saw on Oprah that if children aspirate the oil it coats their lungs and can be deadly.)

Removing Wite-Out from a Finished Hardwood Floor:

(Note: My floor is a hardwood veneer with a high-gloss finish. I don't know how this method would work on unfinished wood. I would test in an inconspicuous area to be sure.)

1) I let the Wite-Out dry completely, but if I had it to do over I would have wiped up as many of the big blobs as I could before it dried. After it had dried I scraped as much of it away as I could. (I used a razor scraper, but I had to be VERY careful. I think a better tool would have been a putty knife, but I didn't have one. I didn't think about this until now but a credit card or even an ice scraper might work - anything with a sharp enough blade to scrape but not so sharp as to risk gouging the wood.)

2) I tried several products to dissolve the remaining Wite-Out (which was a lot; there was so much of it that the scraping was tedious). All of them worked, but some were better than others. (I review them below.) Once you've chosen your remover:

Spray the remover over a large area, let it work for a minute, then wipe a small section with a cloth or paper towel. As the product works, the dissolved Wite-Out mixes with the remover and turns it into a milky white liquid which can get rather smeary.
The trick is to work in a small area, rubbing in small circles. Thicker areas will require multiple applications. These areas also required using the scraper again after softening with the remover. Be patient; it will come off! Keep spraying, waiting, rubbing (and more scraping, if necessary) and repeating until it's gone. The only parts that didn't do well were the cracks in between the planks. I worked as much remover into the cracks with a toothbrush as I could to dilute it and make it less noticeable.

Here are the products I tried, all of which were effective:

Tied for first place:

Motsenbocker's Lift Off #2


Oops! Multi-Purpose Remover.

2nd Place (close):


3rd Place:

Goo Gone

Other products I didn't try but which probably would have worked (be sure to test in an inconspicuous area):

Goof Off
mineral spirits
lighter fluid

The Motsenbockers Lift-Off #2 was AWESOME. It started dissolving the Wite-Out the instant I sprayed it on. Be sure to use this in a well-ventilated area. It's an amazing product, though. I just found out that it's water-based, biodegradable, and has no VOC's. Check out the testimonials on the website for stories such as removing marks left by gel pens which were left in a jeans pocket that went through a washer and dryer! www.liftoffinc.com

Oops! Multi-Purpose Remover
also worked just as well.

WD-40 worked well, but just a smidge less quickly than the above products.

Goo Gone worked, but slower than the others. It also required a good bit more elbow grease. The good thing about it, though, is that it is non-toxic. It is citrus-based and smells like overripe oranges.

Here is my "after" picture. (The chip in the veneer was already there.) Ta-daaa!!!

Removing Wite-Out from Clothing:

This was the hardest part, but I did it!
Motsenbockers Lift-Off #2 had many uses listed on the label, one of which was for stain removal of clothing. This I had to see! I never would have dreamed that anything would remove Wite-Out from fabric. (I sure could have used it it after a face painting fiasco at a fall festival awhile back. A whole bottle of red acrylic paint was spilled on my lap. (Although I shouldn't lose any sleep over this, because: a) it was a windsuit, for Pete's sake, and b) even if windsuits were in style, there's no way this momma's tushie is ever going to fit into that size again!)

Back to the remedy: Don't forget to use in a well-ventilated area! The directions said to spray, wait 60 seconds, then rinse with warm water, then launder as usual. I tweaked this a bit due to the thickness of a few of the spots. As I rinsed it under warm water I scrubbed with a soft toothbrush. Admittedly, I got carried away and darn near scoured a hole through the outfit. If I had it to do over, I would still use the toothbrush, but much more gently. I would also wear rubber gloves, as my hands are dry as toast right now. Anyway, it took about 7-8 applications to remove all traces of Wite-Out from the largest spot. As with the floor, the dissolving Wite-Out got smeary and ran all over the fabric. The rinsing step is critical.

It's amazing how it worked, because I seemed to have little success with the stain on the turtleneck. I finally gave up, squirted some Shout on the remaining residue, and threw it in the washer. It came out clean!

Note: I don't know if this helped, but I washed the outfit in hot water. Also, the clothes came out smelling like the remover, so next time I would rewash them or add lots more Downy.

Here are my before and after pics:

Well, I've changed my mind about selling Screech on Ebay. As I was looking for pictures, I ran across this one. How can I resist this precious face?

And besides, where else will I get such great blog material?

Here are some links to previous WFMW posts and others of interest:

Uses for Leftover Bread

Leaky Diaper Fix

Snack Mix Recipe (at the end of the post)

Awesome Stain Recipe

"FUN"damentals of Family Life

How (and How NOT) to Handle a Kitchen Oil Fire

For more great tips, visit Shannon's blog!


Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife said...

Oh! My stomach felt a little bit sick for you when I saw that floor! I am so happy for you that you were able to remove all of the wite-out! Your daughter is too cute to sell!! :)

Robin @ Heart of Wisdom said...

Too cute. Are we something? After a spill we think great blogging material. :-) Keeps us sane.

I have four boys left at home so if you change your mind I'll take her. Whiteout stains and all. She is adorable.

{Karla} said...

it's amazing how blogging has changed my perspective on things such as this! I find myself quickly soothing myself with a "great blog material" thought...

Thanks for these awesome tips. Hope I never have to use them ;0)


Stephanie said...

Thanks for the tips. She is sure cute.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness! I'm so glad that it all came up but wow I hurt for you there for a minute. I can't imagine what a mess that was! But I do have to laugh. I always make the joke to my hubby that I'm listing the kid(s) on ebay. haha

And I'm a bit late making my way over here, but thanks for the visit and the tip about the powdered egg whites! Great idea and easy peasy!

Anonymous said...


Edi said...

I love your eBay item :) I think there are times in all our mothering lives that we would like to sell them (or just give them away!).

We figure that if anyone ever nabbed our kids - THEY would be sorry.

The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino said...

Don't worry - this wasn't a real auction! I just copied and pasted pictures to make it look like an auction. I'm not really planning to sell my little precious one on Ebay. I'm thinking more along the lines of Craigslist.

Gayle said...

That just cracks me up! Being a mom is all about making lemonade out of lemons. I think you've got it down.

Anonymous said...

i just wanted to say thanks so much my son had gotten into some wite-out and had it all over his face, so thanks so much!

MMB said...

Ok so I love your post about the white out remover...I googled "how to remove white out from the skin" and ur blog came up. I so can't wait to get home and try the baby oil on my 2yr old son who thought it was ok 2 color his face w/ the stuff last night...Kids

Oh yea! I glad you reconsidered not selling that lil cutie pie


peepla said...

Write out can be tricky to remove...but on a school bus...here's a rather sucessful solution:

" Hi <3 " was found on the vinyl seat of my bus written in white-out. This kid is gonna be surprised when the go to their seat tomorrow and find it gone...and they'll act shocked that they got a write up for it...but this is not my first road-e-o. Here's what you do...pour a bit of hand sanitizer on an eraser...tilt it into the stain or "art work" and start rubbing. After a few seconds...most of the sanitizer will dry...keep rubbing. The white out should be mostly gone...rubbed off in the eraser dust. Add more sanitizer as needed. Then go behind it with something oily...babyoil perferably but lip gloss works in a pinch. That reconditions the plastic...and saves a trip to the garage.

Diana I-Cn said...

I just spilled white-out on my friend's expensive pair of sandals and i feel terrible. WD-40 is the only thing i could find in my country. Could you please please please tell me if it would work in removing the stains? (the sandals are made of textile fabric, so it's baiscally like that t-shirt or pants of yours that your daughter destroyed)
Thank you very much.

The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino said...

Yes, I'm pretty sure that WD-40 will work, although it will take some scrubbing with a stiff brush (like an old toothbrush). Before you do, though, test it in a hidden area of the fabric, then let it dry to see if it stains. Good luck!

Diana I-Cn said...

And if so, how do I wash the WD40 out? Being a greasy-non volatile substance, I heard that it has to be removed with a special kind of detergent? Do you know what that would be?
Thank you very much, again!

perla valencia said...

I know I'm late by a couple of years, but any advice on how to remove white-out from a treadmill???? If only I could post a picture!!! It's all over the rubber mat of my $1,000 treadmill!!!

The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino said...

I would chip away as much as possible with a putty knife, then use either Motsenbocker's Lift Off #2 or oops! Multipurpose Remover. Spray the remover over a large area, let it work for a minute, then wipe a small section with a cloth or paper towel. As the product works, the dissolved Wite-Out mixes with the remover and turns it into a milky white liquid which can get rather smeary. The trick is to work in a small area, rubbing in small circles. Thicker areas will require multiple applications. These areas also required using the scraper again after softening with the remover. Be patient; it will come off! Keep spraying, waiting, rubbing (and more scraping, if necessary) and repeating until it's gone.