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How To Clean Grease from Wood

Barbecues, cooking activities, home improvement projects, and simple sticky fingers can all result in grease marks on wood surfaces. From well-sealed wood surfaces, to unfinished ones, try one of the following tricks to help remove the stain. Keep in mind that wood types and surface finishes can vary widely so even the simplest methods should be tested prior to use in a wider area. Testing should include any standing or waiting times described in the cleaning techniques.

For fresh spills on a well-sealed surface, simply use a clean sponge wet with a pH neutral all-purpose cleaner diluted with water to wipe away the residue. Follow by blotting the area with a clean paper towel to facilitate drying and help avoid potential water stains.

For more set in stains, you will want to consider making a poultice. A poultice will be comprised of a neutral absorbent material like cornstarch or diatomaceous earth, mixed with a small amount of the appropriate solvent to make a stiff paste. A solvent would be considered appropriate if it will affect the stain and have little to no effect on the finish of the wood surface. For example, acetone would be appropriate for use with polyurethane finishes. Other options are more neutral materials such as waterless hand cleaner, or stronger solvents such as turpentine. Again, all materials should be tested in an inconspicuous area first, including standing times.

To make a poultice, mix the solvent about 1 TB at a time into 1/4 cup of cornstarch or neutral substitute, mixing gradually until a stiff paste is formed. Spread this paste on the greasy stain, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 hours. Gently scrape the poultice away and discard. Follow with the a light overall cleansing using the wax or polishing compound appropriate to the particular surface.

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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