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Patience, Internet Researcher
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 291
Experience:  MA Clinical Psychology; BS Health Sciences
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TaxTom: Here is tough question. How can I clean white areas

Customer Question

TaxTom: Here is tough question. How can I clean white areas on an old (l968) political poster. There is normal aging scum on the white areas. I have tried various types of erasers, but they tend to scuff the paper. Liquid cleaner of any type scares me. Maybe a fast evaporating substance such as lacquer thinner might work. I just don' know.

Frank Frisk
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: General
Expert:  TaxTom replied 4 years ago.

TaxTom :

Hello, I would have suggested the erasers, I am going to opt out and see if someone else can help. Thanks Tom

Expert:  Patience replied 4 years ago.

Hi- Welcome to Just Answer and thanks for your question.

You have a few options:

1. Non-colored block erasers Erasers such as the noncolored Eberhard-Faber Magic Rub Eraser and the Staedtler Mars Plastic may still be useful for work on small areas.

2. Groom / Stick® is a natural rubber eraser that is a an excellent surface

dry-cleaner. A kneaded gum eraser may also be of help. Just remember to

be gentle with any erasing you do. Use short, wandering strokes to avoid

leaving erasure marks on the paper. Check as you work to insure that the surface

of the paper as is not being abraded.

3. Grated/granulated vinyl erasers can be used for cleaning most printed surfaces. Containers of granules can be sprinkled or rubbed across the soiled surface of the paper. After gently rubbing the granules into the paper with a circular motion, the granules will pick up the dirt rapidly. Then you can carefully brush the granules away.

4. Vulcanized rubber dry-cleaning sponges are good tools to use, provided you are careful with handling. See gently and randomly with the sponge to avoid creating a pattern on the paper surface. Finish by using a large soft brush to remove any pieces of the sponge.

Make sure you have a workspace with a clean, large smooth surface where your poster can be kept away from further damage. Begin the cleaning using the soft brush to remove loose dirt and dust. Be careful to avoid enlarging tears by brushing in the direction of the tear. After every few strokes, wipe the brush across a blotting paper or a clean piece of fabric to dislodge accumulated dirt and dust.

Be careful; aggressive efforts to remove dirt may cause you to inadvertently make a hole in the paper.

If you get tired of DIY, the people at Chameleon Restoration have experience with a wide variety of techniques for removing stains and writing on paper and cardboard. You can see examples of their work at

Their prices are pretty reasonable (e.g. mostly less than $50. See: for further price details. For more information, see

Good luck with this! I'm happy to supply clarification if needed. Please click the green ACCEPT button so that I can receive credit for my work. Positive feedback and bonuses are always greatly appreciated!

Patience, Internet Researcher
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 291
Experience: MA Clinical Psychology; BS Health Sciences
Patience and 34 other General Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
A great list of erasing options. Do you have e-mail addresses for any or all the suggesions, other than the addresses you provided?

Frank Frisk
Expert:  Patience replied 4 years ago.
The following link gives a good selection of erasers and dry cleaners:

You can also look at:[]=1262&navTree[]=1296

Closer to home, you can try your local art supply shop to see which of the materials they might be able to supply.

The following link goes to several book chapters that give more in-depth information about cleaning posters/artworks and the materials and methods used:

There is the option of bleaching the paper, as well, but I'd leave that to the pros such as the folks at Chameleon Restoration, unless you are veryvery arty.

Here's hoping that your "restoration" project comes out well! Patience

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