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View Full Version : Rubbing Alcohol + Stained Wood......


d4mo
07-16-2008, 11:43 AM
Ok so the doors in our house are stained wood. I don't know if it is protected by anything, but it's not shiny or anything.

Yesterday, I was using some rubbing alcohol and I hit the bottle, and it spilled on the door. I thought I cleaned it up. But I missed some and there are some big white streaks on the door. I tried to rub it off with a damp cloth, and the white steaks went away.......until it dried again and they came back. So I know the alcohol didn't take the stain away. What should I do?

CPA
07-16-2008, 11:47 AM
sand and restain.

Elstupido
07-16-2008, 11:54 AM
Old English schratch cover and furniture polish?

sactoking
07-16-2008, 12:16 PM
My guess is that there was a matte clear coat on the wood. 'Rubbing alcohol' contains both acetone and MEK is small amounts. Most stains and polyurethanes only require mineral spirits for cleanup. The rubbing alcohol likely re-wet the clear coat. If you are experiencing white spots, that's my guess. Acetone and MEK won't 'bleach out' a stain like that, but re-wetting a polyurethane improperly will cause it to go cloudy.

d4mo
07-16-2008, 12:38 PM
Originally posted by: sactoking
My guess is that there was a matte clear coat on the wood. 'Rubbing alcohol' contains both acetone and MEK is small amounts. Most stains and polyurethanes only require mineral spirits for cleanup. The rubbing alcohol likely re-wet the clear coat. If you are experiencing white spots, that's my guess. Acetone and MEK won't 'bleach out' a stain like that, but re-wetting a polyurethane improperly will cause it to go cloudy.

Mineral Spirits will work? Where do I find that?

xanis
07-16-2008, 12:53 PM
Originally posted by: d4mo
Originally posted by: sactoking
My guess is that there was a matte clear coat on the wood. 'Rubbing alcohol' contains both acetone and MEK is small amounts. Most stains and polyurethanes only require mineral spirits for cleanup. The rubbing alcohol likely re-wet the clear coat. If you are experiencing white spots, that's my guess. Acetone and MEK won't 'bleach out' a stain like that, but re-wetting a polyurethane improperly will cause it to go cloudy.

Mineral Spirits will work? Where do I find that?

Pretty much at any hardware store ever. :P

sactoking
07-16-2008, 01:01 PM
Mineral spirits works for wet cleanup (brushes, hands, spills, etc.) Once the stain or urethane has cured, it won't work any more, kinda like how paint thinner works on 'oil-based' paint when it's wet, but not when it's dry. I would say to go with a VERY light sanding to verify that urethane is being scratched/removed and not stain. If it is, you will need to try to match the sheen of the urethane in an off-the-shelf product and touch it up. Don't use water-based urethane, as it won't re-wet the existing urethane, so the touch-up will be noticeable.

DrPizza
07-16-2008, 01:38 PM
How old is the door?
We used exactly that to refinish all the woodwork in our house: rubbing alcohol (denatured alcohol actually)
Our wood was varnished and the varnish had become very dark from all the years. It looked beautiful when we were done & we finished the wood with tongue oil. Rather than sand the wood, it's possible that you can get a can of alcohol & just refinish it.

HeroOfPellinor
07-16-2008, 01:42 PM
If alcohol removed the finish then it is probably lacquer or shellac. You need to know, because lacquer is extremely easy to repair.

DrPizza
07-16-2008, 02:09 PM
Funny story about doing the woodwork with alcohol & extra fine steel wool: wife was working near an electrical outlet. Apparently, a small piece of the steel managed to get in there and cause a spark. FWWOOOOSHH! Fire! The look on her face was priceless. I laughed my butt off. (I played with rubbing alcohol & fire so much when I was in college that I recognized it as being relatively harmless, even on her rubber gloves)

d4mo
07-16-2008, 05:07 PM
Originally posted by: HeroOfPellinor
If alcohol removed the finish then it is probably lacquer or shellac. You need to know, because lacquer is extremely easy to repair.

If it was lacquer how would I go about repairing it?

imported_Baloo
07-16-2008, 05:18 PM
Just give it a few days, and the streaks will go away. Some of the alcohol was absorbed, but it will fully dry leaving no evidence it was ever there.

HeroOfPellinor
07-16-2008, 06:18 PM
Originally posted by: d4mo
Originally posted by: HeroOfPellinor
If alcohol removed the finish then it is probably lacquer or shellac. You need to know, because lacquer is extremely easy to repair.

If it was lacquer how would I go about repairing it?

Clean the area and apply some lacquer. Because lacquer contains it's own solvent, it will melt the old layers and blend with it leaving a seemless repair. Shellac is more vulnerable to alcohol though and will be more of a hassle to repair especially matching the different hues and wax contents of shellac. Then again, depending on the severity of the staining you're describing and how long the alcohol was there and the quantity, they could still be polyurethane.

I'd invest in a wood finishing book, run some tests using acetone (check for alcquer) and denatured alcohol (check for shellac) to determine the finish for sure, and then use whatever repair technique the book describes. I'm just trying to get you some basic info.

Sluggo
07-17-2008, 12:14 AM
Originally posted by: d4mo
Originally posted by: HeroOfPellinor
If alcohol removed the finish then it is probably lacquer or shellac. You need to know, because lacquer is extremely easy to repair.

If it was lacquer how would I go about repairing it?

If its lacquer, go to the local paint store and find a small can of lacquer retarder. Just a quick swipe with a rag slightly dampened with retarder should fix it right up.

Eli
07-17-2008, 12:18 AM
Originally posted by: sactoking
My guess is that there was a matte clear coat on the wood. 'Rubbing alcohol' contains both acetone and MEK is small amounts. Most stains and polyurethanes only require mineral spirits for cleanup. The rubbing alcohol likely re-wet the clear coat. If you are experiencing white spots, that's my guess. Acetone and MEK won't 'bleach out' a stain like that, but re-wetting a polyurethane improperly will cause it to go cloudy.:shocked:

Where do you people come up with this stuff? Seriously. Honestly, did you just pull that out of your ass, or what?

Rubbing alcohol doesn't contain acetone and for fuck's sake, it definitely does not contain MEK.

Good lord.

d33pt
07-17-2008, 12:30 AM
Originally posted by: Eli
Originally posted by: sactoking
My guess is that there was a matte clear coat on the wood. 'Rubbing alcohol' contains both acetone and MEK is small amounts. Most stains and polyurethanes only require mineral spirits for cleanup. The rubbing alcohol likely re-wet the clear coat. If you are experiencing white spots, that's my guess. Acetone and MEK won't 'bleach out' a stain like that, but re-wetting a polyurethane improperly will cause it to go cloudy.:shocked:

Where do you people come up with this stuff? Seriously. Honestly, did you just pull that out of your ass, or what?

Rubbing alcohol doesn't contain acetone and for fuck's sake, it definitely does not contain MEK.

Good lord.


you expect any less from ATOT?

Ballatician
07-17-2008, 12:39 AM
I signed in just to give you the obligatory "it'll buff right out" post.

You're welcome.

Elstupido
07-17-2008, 12:49 AM
Eli, exactly, we have no idea what finish was applied to the tha stain. I am just assuming he has an ordinary stain applied, with which old english may work.


"Rubbing alcohol doesn't contain acetone and for fuck's sake, it definitely does not contain MEK. "

Very true

mattocs
07-17-2008, 01:39 AM
You sure it wasn't moonshine, and you got piss drunk and fell?