In column liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to conventional Raman spectroscopy (RS) removal of the spectral background of the eluent is often demanding, because of the strong signals of the organic modifier. A new chemometrical method is proposed, called the eluent background subtraction (EBS) method, which can correct for small shape and intensity differences of the eluent spectra. The variations in the eluent spectra are modelled using principal component analysis (PCA). The PCA loading vectors are subsequently used for eluent background correction of the elution spectra of the analyte. The loading vectors are fitted under these spectra by an asymmetric least-squares method. This method was successfully applied under various experimental conditions and performed much better than conventional background correction methods. Analyte detectability was improved by (weighted) averaging of all elution spectra and smoothing via a p-spline function. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.