Rubbing Alcohol + Stained Wood......

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by d4mo, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. d4mo

    d4mo Senior member

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    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?
     
  2. CPA

    CPA Elite Member

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    sand and restain.
     
  3. Elstupido

    Elstupido Senior member

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    Old English schratch cover and furniture polish?
     
  4. sactoking

    sactoking Diamond Member

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    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.
     
  5. d4mo

    d4mo Senior member

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    Mineral Spirits will work? Where do I find that?
     
  6. xanis

    xanis Lifer

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    Pretty much at any hardware store ever. :p
     
  7. sactoking

    sactoking Diamond Member

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    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.
     
  8. DrPizza

    DrPizza Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
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    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.
     
  9. HeroOfPellinor

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    If alcohol removed the finish then it is probably lacquer or shellac. You need to know, because lacquer is extremely easy to repair.
     
  10. DrPizza

    DrPizza Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
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    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)
     
  11. d4mo

    d4mo Senior member

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    If it was lacquer how would I go about repairing it?
     
  12. imported_Baloo

    imported_Baloo Golden Member

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    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.
     
  13. HeroOfPellinor

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    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.
     
  14. Sluggo

    Sluggo Lifer

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    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.
     
  15. Eli

    Eli Super Moderator<br>Elite Member
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    :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 *'s sake, it definitely does not contain MEK.

    Good lord.
     
  16. d33pt

    d33pt Diamond Member

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    you expect any less from ATOT?
     
  17. Ballatician

    Ballatician Golden Member

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    I signed in just to give you the obligatory "it'll buff right out" post.

    You're welcome.
     
  18. Elstupido

    Elstupido Senior member

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    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 *'s sake, it definitely does not contain MEK. "

    Very true
     
  19. mattocs

    mattocs Platinum Member

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    You sure it wasn't moonshine, and you got piss drunk and fell?
     
  20. msquaredm

    msquaredm Junior Member

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    I had hardwood flooring installed in my kitchen and finished it myself. I used a water based poly. I also accidentally spilled a few drops of isopropyl/rubbing alcohol on the floor that left behind white spots I couldn't remove until now.

    I used a lime rind. The pulp doesn't work, just the rind. I guess it's the concentrate of oil in the skin. You have to rub pretty hard but the spots are gone. Took less than a minute for each spot. They didn't return after it dried.

    See pics:
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Yes, I have to install a toe molding.

    I used the rest of the lime for pitcher of margaritas!
     
  21. feralkid

    feralkid Lifer

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    Pics?
     
  22. TheGardener

    TheGardener Golden Member

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    Such skepticism. Be like me, and believe everything you read on the Internet.