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Paint thinner smells bad and I want it off.
May 17, 2008 11:34 AM   Subscribe

Anybody good at removing paint thinner from untreated wood?

Had a small spill of paint thinner (varsol) on an untreated birch counter. Now, of course, there's a patch that smells like paint thinner and feels greasy as well.

Hemp-based soap didn't work, despite it usually being excellent at removing petroleum products. Right now I have clay cat litter sitting on it, but if that doesn't pull it out I'd like to know if anybody has any alternatives to try.
posted by Dipsomaniac to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
 
Murphy's Oil Soap, which will also condition the wood surface. There are stronger products, but this is what I'd reach for first.
posted by artdrectr at 12:19 PM on May 17, 2008


If it was clean paint thinner, my hunch is that after leaving the kitty litter a while, if you just let it dry out for a few days the smell will go away. That stuff just naturally evaporates. Basically, I think the stuff is soaked into maybe the top half millimeter of wood, and you just have to give it time to wick out and evaporate. I wouldn't bother with the soap yet, because I don't think that will draw it to the surface and remove it.
posted by beagle at 2:43 PM on May 17, 2008


Well, if it really is unfinished and nothing takes it off you can always sand the top layer just slightly, it should take pretty much any non-penetrating stain out right away.
posted by true at 5:18 PM on May 17, 2008


Paint thinner is very penetrative. But it's also very volatile. I'd just leave it sit for a while. Sitting a desk lamp on the counter, lighting up the spot, will warm it and help it evaporate a little faster.

Untreated wood just loves to soak things up. Keeping an untreated wood counter pristine is not a battle I'd choose to fight.
posted by flabdablet at 8:08 PM on May 17, 2008


flabdablet: "Untreated wood just loves to soak things up. Keeping an untreated wood counter pristine is not a battle I'd choose to fight."

The cat litter seems to have done something. It's not as nasty as it was. We'll wait on it a couple days and see.

(We're not trying to keep it pristine, either. Just not on the vile side of stinking).
posted by Dipsomaniac at 9:24 PM on May 17, 2008


Oooo, nice scorchmark!

If you put a pot that hot down on top of your paint thinner, I bet it would be gone in 15 minutes :-)

A boiling-temperature pot sat on top of your cat litter spread would probably help things along without scorching, too.
posted by flabdablet at 7:14 PM on May 19, 2008


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