Rubbing Alcohol & Wood Furniture
Rubbing alcohol can severely damage wood.Rubbing alcohol has a variety of uses, but can damage some surfaces it comes in contact with. If you inadvertently spill rubbing alcohol on your wood furniture, the alcohol can cause damage to the finished surface, and if left untreated, can damage the wood itself. You can repair the damage from the rubbing alcohol and restore your wood furniture back to its former beauty, but quick action is required.
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How It Damages the Wood
Rubbing alcohol eats through most lacquers and vinyl finishes, and causes damage to the wood underneath. The damaged areas are a grayish color and resemble a watermark. However, upon further inspection, unlike watermarks which mainly damage just the surface finish of the furniture, rubbing alcohol will permeate into the wood and cause further damage.
How To Repair the Damage
A mixture of ground pumice stone with a few drops of vegetable or linseed oil will correct rubbing alcohol damage to wood furniture if the alcohol only damaged the finish. Mix the the pumice stone and oil in a bowl until it makes a paste. Put the paste on the damaged area and gently scrub the area with 0000 aught steel wool. Wipe away the excess paste with a clean, damp cloth; then polish the furniture with a high-quality polish or furniture wax. If the rubbing alcohol has damaged the wood itself, the damaged area will require refinishing.
How To Avoid Damage
Secure the lid of the rubbing alcohol bottle to prevent spillage in the event the bottle is tipped over. Keep your furniture polished and dust free by using a high-quality furniture cleaner and polisher on a regular basis. This will protect the furniture's surface in the event you spill rubbing alcohol on it. Avoid placing wood furniture in direct sunlight -- the light will dry out the wood, cause discoloration and accelerate the damage rubbing alcohol can inflict. If the furniture is exposed to sunlight, clean and polish the furniture at least once a week, or place a table cloth over the piece to protect it.
Rubbing alcohol is also used to remove stains from wood furniture. For example, rubbing alcohol applied to a cotton ball breaks up and removes ink stains from wood furniture.This technique works without damaging the wood because of the small amount of rubbing alcohol used, and because the stain from the ink is most likely in the wax or lacquer finish, and not in the wood itself.