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How To Clean Alcohol Stains from Wood

Alcohol from beverages and cosmetic products can result in stains on the wooden surfaces of your home. Materials with alcohol can cause extensive damage particularly if allowed to pool and sit, so they should be wiped up as promptly as possible. Use a blotting rather than a wiping motion to remove any excess beverage or product before addressing the remainder of the stain. Clear the work area of any objects such as pieces of furniture, vases, glasses, books, papers or any other objects that might get in the way. Lightly dust with a soft dry cloth to remove loose debris. Since types of wood and wood finishes can vary test these materials and methods in an inconspicuous spot before being used in a wider area.

Make a light paste from a non-drying oil like lemon oil or mineral oil and rottenstone, which is lightly abrasive. Non-drying oils are not ideal, but as long as they are removed following stain treatment the surface should not exhibit any additional dust attraction or tendency for buildup. Keep in mind that a drying oil like linseed, will darken and harden over time, making any residues increasingly difficult to remove and significantly affecting the appearance of the treated surface. Rub the paste in the same direction as the wood grain, using a cotton ball or clean rag. To remove the paste and any oily residue, sprinkle the area with flour. Then blot with clean paper towels dampened with water to lift the cleaning mixture away. Blot the treated, cleaned area with a clean dry rag to remove any excess moisture.

Make sure the area has dried thoroughly, allowing a few hours even after it is dry to the touch, before attempting to restore the finish. The additional wait time will help avoid trapping moisture which can result in clouding. For lustrous finishes, rub with a paste wax designed for satin finishes and 0000(extra-fine) steel wool. Read the ingredients in the paste wax, and avoid products with potentially damaging additives such as silicone or excessive amounts of solvents like xylene and toluene. For gloss finishes, perform a touch up to the affected area, and a little bit of the perimeter around the stain using a soft buffing cloth and auto polishing compound.

Caution: Never mix cleaning agents or chemicals, the result can be dangerous or deadly. Before cleaning, always test the agent on an inconspicuous location to determine its suitability and to make certain it does not damage the material. Wear appropriate clothing such as gloves and protective eyewear, and work in a well-ventilated area. Accidental inhalation or ingestion of cleaning agents can be hazardous and even fatal, particularly to pets and children.

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