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Thursday, April 10 2014

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.

Posted by: AT 02:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, April 10 2014

Q.: A large amount of nail polish spilled and dried on a piece of my wooden furniture. How do I remove it without ruining the finish?

A.: Cleaning and caring for hardwood surfaces can be tricky. These delicate surfaces are beautiful when properly cared for. But an unfortunate spill, scratch, or dent is a sad sight on any floor or piece of furniture.

Nail polish is a formidable foe for any surface in the home. Wood surfaces are difficult for tough spills because wood is naturally porous. No matter how you treat the spill, there will probably be a spot left. Two factors that determine how much of a spot will remain are how porous the wood is and what type of laminate or finish the wood had been treated with before the spill. Because of the likelihood of a leftover spot, most experts recommend leaving this sort of cleaning to a professional. Yet there are a few safe options for cleaning a dried nail-polish spill on hardwood that you can try at home.

Furniture EMT  recommends three approaches to cleaning this type of spill.

1. Take a plastic putty knife and gently scrape the spill from the surface. The nail polish should slip easily from the wood. If the spill is stubborn, apply a cloth dampened with hot water to the spill for a few seconds to loosen it, then proceed with the plastic putty knife. Be sure to use only a plastic knife.

2. Apply denatured alcohol to a cloth, and gently rub the spill until it comes off. Denatured alcohol is used to remove paint from woodwork treated with polyurethane. Although denatured alcohol is gentler than mineral spirits, which remove all paints and stains, be careful not to rub too hard or too long, as denatured alcohol will take up paint from the surface.

3. Use 0000-grade fine stainless-steel wool to gently sand away the dried nail polish. Steel wool with a 0000 grade is a very fine wool that will be tough enough to work the spill away from the wood, but soft enough not to damage the wood. If you do take off some of the wood finish, recommend touching up the treated area with a wood touch-up product, such as a Minwax Wood Finish stain marker.

Posted by: Tony Varvaro AT 02:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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