Have I ruined the finish?

rachelellenMarch 28, 2008

On a customer's wood table? I am a housekeeper, and while I was using rubbing alcohol to clean a tv screen, I spilled some on their coffee table. I wiped it up very quickly, but it has left a sort of dull patch on the finish, which is fairly shiny otherwise. It is dark wood, and the grain shows, but I'm not sure what the finish is.

The patch is not obvious looking straight down at it, but looking from the side so that the light angle is different it is obvious.

Any ideas as to what I can do about it?

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My guess is that you have merely dulled the surface. Alcohol is a solvent for some finishes (shellac), but it would be unlikely that that's the finish on a coffee table unless it was very old.

I have had good luck removing this with "magic cloths," normally sold as "stain removal," "silicone removal," or "water ring removal" Jasco makes one that Lowe's carries, or Guardsman makes one that is hit or miss, but sometimes the Ace or True Value Hardware stores or Bed, Bath & Beyond, or by mail order.

They work in two ways -- an oil to remove water that's penetrated the finish (rubbing alcohol has some water in it), and a very fine abrasive to restore a gloss.

(I used these professionally quite frequently)

Here is a link that might be useful: Stain Remover Cloth

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 7:22PM
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Thank you so much! I will give it a shot. My client has been very nice about it, but I want to fix this for her, and I'd rather not have to haul the table home to refinish! :D

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 8:45PM
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bobsmyuncle, just a follow to say thank you again, the Jasco cloth worked perfectly. My customer is very pleased, says the table hasn't looked so good in years (there were a few other marks that I worked on while I was at it), plus she had a mark on another end table that I took off. I have a feeling I'm going to be pleasing the odd customer here and there with this little "magic trick".

:D Rachel

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 7:30PM
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Glad to help. I usually buy these about 20 at a time, so you know I like them.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:52PM
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