Reader Lyn asks:
Hi Dr Chemical, thanks for this – hope you can assist me to bring my favourite table back to presentable..
Am attaching photo – I tipped nail polish remover on it – looking at the label on the bottle it doesnt say much – black and gold brand – pinky colour.
Kind regards & have a good day.
I’m afraid you have a problem. You have managed to spill on to your table, the most aggressive solvent that is available over the counter (acetone). The only over-the-counter chemical that was more aggressive and this was trichloroethane, which was in Preen aerosol, but that has now gone by the board.
The acetone is an extremely aggressive solvent to lacquers and varnishes, and I’m afraid that what has happened in this case is that it has actually dissolved the varnish. So you can’t just rub the pink stuff off – even if you are able to do so, you would still see the scoring of where the acetone had attacked the varnish.
So it depends on how deep the scoring is and how good a job you want to do. you might find that you will be able to remove the pink stuff with a bit of toothpaste on a stiff toothbrush. If you can, and the scoring of the acetone is not too bad, that might be all you want. But it looks like a large surface area, so the toothpaste is probably not an option.
You could also try Mr Sheen – if the pink is only lightly adsorbed it might lift it.
If Mr Sheen doesn’t work, what you want is an automotive cutting compound – these are designed to gently lift off the coating on old paint to refresh it by exposing the paint underneath – it does this with the use of a mild abrasive compound. And it is the perfect stuff to use in this regard. Go to an automotive accessory shop and buy Kitten #2 cutting compound. Don’t get it mixed up with the #1 compound, which is just the ordinary polish. The cutting compound is normally red and you can expect to pay about $11 for a tin.
Follow the instructions on the tin for how you use it – the job you want to do is remove the upper layer of the varnish, exactly the same as if you were removing the old coating of paint on the car.
A gentle circular rubbing motion is what you want, and if you’re lucky you will see the pink stuff lift off pretty quickly. Be a bit careful, as varnish is softer than the automotive paint that it was designed for – so gently at first. Once you see the pink stuff come off, wipe the polish off and see how it looks. If you can still see scoring in the varnish, you may need to polish it a bit more.
But the Kitten product is an excellent abrasive polish with many uses, like cleaning stainless steel, so hopefully it will do the job for you. And of course when you finish, hit with my favourite Mr Sheen.
Let me know you get on.