Help me get the glue off my table
October 30, 2010 10:19 AM   Subscribe

A sticky pad has bonded itself to my all-wood endtable. Can I use a product like Goof-Off to remove it, or will that damage the finish on the table?

The pad that's stuck on the table is the rubber/foam-like gripper on the bottom of a Palm Pre Touchstone charger. I'm afraid of ruining the table with scratches, so I haven't tried to remove the remaining bits. I'm wondering if a chemical product can dissolve the glue without harming the finished wood underneath.

Is there something else I should try?
posted by rdauphin to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
since even water can damage a wood finish, I would suggest you try whatever fluid you elect to use on a spot that isn't critical.

That said, I just had to remove some double sided foam tape from drywall, I found a suggestion to heat it carefully with a hair dryer... and use a putty knife..

I would suggest, in this case, using a hair dryer to heat it and then and taking the pad off gently and slowly with the edge of a credit card...
posted by HuronBob at 10:26 AM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

Can you say a bit more about the finish? Was it an expensive table or a cheap one? Stained and varnished? just lacquered? just stained?

For most commercial finishes, I'd think Goof-Off or Goo Gone should be OK, but if you're worried, then try testing it on a small and inconspicuous part of the table first.
posted by Bardolph at 10:27 AM on October 30, 2010

And if you use a putty knife, use a plastic one, not metal as it's too easy to accidentally gouge the table with metal.
posted by ShooBoo at 10:33 AM on October 30, 2010

Response by poster: It's not an expensive table, so not a major loss if I bungle it. It is solid wood, however, and appears to be stained and varnished.
posted by rdauphin at 10:35 AM on October 30, 2010

I'd soak it in Murphy's oil.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 10:51 AM on October 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

The gripper from that's on the touchstone isn't normal adhesive: it's "gecko's feet" carbon nanotubes, aka "Micro-Suction® material". I'd try soap and water along with physical force to get it off the surface. Bonus: after the soap and water treatment, the gripper will be grippier than ever.
posted by zsazsa at 11:07 AM on October 30, 2010

What you have is likely called "plasticizer migration." The chemicals that keep your gripper flexible have migrated into the finish and done the same there. The damage is in the finish and therefore probably not home-repairable. I work for a fine furniture manufacturer and we see this with placemats, candle stick holders, table runners, rubber gloves and laptop computer feet being the main culprits. Pretty much anything with a gripper can do this to a non-catalyzed lacquer finish.

You should be able to take the end table to a local re-finisher for repairs and it would still be cheaper than buying a new one.
posted by davidvanb at 3:48 PM on October 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

My experience has all been with Goo-Gone, not Goof-Off, tho' I imagine they are very similar in ingredients.

I've never seen goo/sticker/tape marks that Goo-Gone can't remove completely, given time. You may need to reapply, or cover to prevent evaporation while it soaks in. I've also never seen a finish ruined by it (but haven't tried it on real lacquer, for instance, either).

As others have mentioned, test a small spot first. Be patient - it doesn't insta-solve. It may take several minutes.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:52 PM on October 30, 2010

I think Goo Gone is gentler than Goof Off. Try that first.
posted by kenliu at 10:42 PM on October 30, 2010

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